Romans 14:11
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
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(11) As I live.—The original has, “I have sworn by Myself,” for which St. Paul, quoting from memory, substitutes another common Hebrew formula—“As I live,” or, “by my life.”

Shall confess . . .—The Greek word is capable of two renderings—“confess” and “praise:” Most commentators prefer the latter, but it is not quite clear that the English version is wrong. That the word can bear this meaning is, especially in view of James 5:16, unquestionable, and the sense seems to agree better with the next verse.

14:7-13 Though some are weak, and others are strong, yet all must agree not to live to themselves. No one who has given up his name to Christ, is allowedly a self-seeker; that is against true Christianity. The business of our lives is not to please ourselves, but to please God. That is true Christianity, which makes Christ all in all. Though Christians are of different strength, capacities, and practices in lesser things, yet they are all the Lord's; all are looking and serving, and approving themselves to Christ. He is Lord of those that are living, to rule them; of those that are dead, to revive them, and raise them up. Christians should not judge or despise one another, because both the one and the other must shortly give an account. A believing regard to the judgment of the great day, would silence rash judgings. Let every man search his own heart and life; he that is strict in judging and humbling himself, will not be apt to judge and despise his brother. We must take heed of saying or doing things which may cause others to stumble or to fall. The one signifies a lesser, the other a greater degree of offence; that which may be an occasion of grief or of guilt to our brother.For it is written - This passage is recorded in Isaiah 45:23. It is not quoted literally, but the sense is preserved. In Isaiah there can be no doubt that it refers to Yahweh. The speaker expressly calls himself Yahweh, the name which is appropriate to God alone, and which is never applied to a creature; Romans 14:18. In the place before us, the words are applied by Paul expressly to Christ; compare Romans 14:10. This mode of quotation is a strong incidental proof that the apostle regarded the Lord Jesus as divine. On no other principle could he have made these quotations.

As I live - The Hebrew is, "I have sworn by myself." One expression is equivalent to the other. An "oath" of God is often expressed by the phrase "as I live;" Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 49:18; Ezekiel 5:11; Ezekiel 14:16, etc.

Saith the Lord - These words are not in the Hebrew text, but are added by the apostle to show that the passage quoted was spoken by the Lord, the Messiah; compare Isaiah 45:18, Isaiah 45:22.

Every knee shall bow to me - To bow the knee" is an act expressing homage, submission, or adoration. It means that every person shall acknowledge him as God, and admit his right to universal dominion. The passage in Isaiah refers particularly to the homage which "his own people" should render to him; or rather, it means that all who are saved shall acknowledge "him" as their God and Saviour. The original reference was not to "all men," but only to those who should be saved; Isaiah 45:17, Isaiah 45:21-22, Isaiah 45:24. In this sense the apostle uses it; not as denoting that "all men" should confess to God, but that all "Christians," whether Jewish or Gentile converts, should alike give account to Him. "They" should all bow before their common God, and acknowledge "his" dominion over them. The passage originally did not refer particularly to the day of judgment, but expressed the truth that all believers should acknowledge his dominion. It is as applicable, however, to the judgment, as to any other act of homage which his people will render.

Every tongue shall confess to God - In the Hebrew, "Every tongue shall swear." Not swear "by God," but "to him;" that is, pay to him our vows, or "answer to him on oath" for our conduct; and this is the same as confessing to him, or acknowledging him as our Judge.

11, 12. For it is written—(Isa 45:23).

As I live, saith the Lord—Hebrew, Jehovah.

every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God—consequently, shall bow to the award of God upon their character and actions.

This verse proves what was before asserted, that all must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. The proof is from Isaiah 45:23. The prophet speaks only of God’s swearing; the apostle sets down the form of his oath; which form is frequently mentioned in Scripture: see Numbers 14:21,28 Jer 22:24 Ezekiel 5:11 14:16,18 20:3. And instead of every tongue shall swear; the apostle, following the Seventy, saith, every tongue shall confess; and we are told, Philippians 2:2, what it shall confess, viz. that Jesus Christ is Lord. That which is generally spoken of Jehovah being here in a peculiar manner applied to Christ, it evidently showeth, that he is supreme Judge, and sovereign Lord, unto whom all knees must bow in token of subjection; and before whose tribunal all persons, will they, or will they not, must appear.

For it is written,.... In Isaiah 45:23; though Justin Martyr (o) cites a like passage with what follows, as out of Ezekiel 37, but no such words appear there, either in the Hebrew text, or Septuagint version:

as I live, saith the Lord; the form of an oath used often by the Lord; who because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself, by his own life; signifying, that what he was about to say, would as surely come to pass, as that he lived; and in the original text in Isaiah it is, "I have sworn by myself"; which being generally expressed, the apostle, perfectly agreeable to the meaning of it, gives the particular form of oath he swore, as in Isaiah 49:18;

every knee shall bow to me; which is not to be understood literally of bowing of the knee at the name of Jesus, which has no foundation in this, nor in any other passage of Scripture, but figuratively, of the subjection of all creatures to Christ, both voluntary and involuntary. The Complutensian edition adds, "of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth", as in Philippians 2:10, from whence these words seem to be taken:

and every tongue shall confess to God; that is, everyone that has a tongue, every man, be he who he will, a good or a bad man, shall own at the last day, that Christ is God and Lord of all; see Philippians 2:10. It may be asked, how this passage appears to be a proof of what the apostle had asserted, for which purpose it seems to be cited, since here is nothing said of Christ, nor of his judgment seat, nor of all standing before it? to which may be returned, that it is clear from the context in the prophet, that the Messiah is the person speaking, who is said to be a just God and Saviour; and is represented as calling upon, and encouraging all sorts of persons to look to him for salvation; and as he in whom the church expected righteousness and strength, and in whom all the seed of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory; and which the Chaldee paraphrase all along interprets of , "the Word of the Lord"; the essential Word of God, the true Messiah: moreover, the bowing of the knee, and swearing, or confessing, to him, relate to his lordship and dominion over all; and suppose him as sitting on his throne of glory, as Lord of all, or as a judge on his judgment seat, in a court of judicature, where such like actions as here mentioned are performed; and whereas every knee is to bow, and every tongue to confess to him, which include all mankind, it follows then, that all the saints shall stand before him, bow unto him, own him as their Lord, and be judged by him. Kimchi says (p), that this shall be , "in the last days": and which the apostle rightly refers to the day of the general judgment. This place affords a considerable proof of Christ's true and proper deity, being in the prophet styled "Jehovah", and by the apostle "God"; and such things being ascribed to him, as swearing by himself, which no creature may do, and the subjection and confession of all creatures to him, whether they will or not.

(o) Apolog. 2. pro Christianis, p. 87. (p) In Isaiah 45:23.

For it is written, As I {k} live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall {l} confess to God.

(k) This is a form of an oath, proper to God alone, for he and none but he lives, and has his being of himself.

(l) Will acknowledge be to be from God.

Romans 14:11. Scripture proof for the πάντες παραστησόμεθα κ.τ.λ., Romans 14:10. The point of its bearing on the matter lies in the universality, as is clear from the reference of πᾶν and πᾶσα, Romans 14:11, to πάντες above, Romans 14:10. Thus the proposition of Romans 14:10, πάντες γὰρ κ.τ.λ.—although in and by itself it required no scriptural proof—receives, nevertheless, a hallowed confirmation, which makes the injustice of the previously censured judging and despising the more apparent, because it encroaches on the universal final judgment of God.

The citation is Isaiah 45:23, quoted very freely with deviations, partly of memory, partly intentional, from the LXX., and abbreviated. In Isaiah, God certifies upon His oath that all men (including the Gentiles) shall render to Him adoring homage. This divine utterance

Messianic, because promising the universal triumph of the theocracy—is here taken by Paul in the light of that highest final historical fulfilment which will take place at the judgment of the world.

ζῶ ἐγώ] Instead of κατʼ ἐμαυτοῦ ὀμνύω, as the LXX. following the Hebrew have it, Paul uses, by a variation of memory, a frequently-occurring verbal formula of the divine oath: חַי אָני (Numbers 14:21; Numbers 14:28; Deuteronomy 32:40, et al.; Daniel 12:7; Ruth 3:13; Jdt 2:12).

λέγει κύριος] is added by Paul according to the elsewhere familiar O. T. formula. Comp. Romans 12:19.

ὅτι] that, because in ξῶ ἐγώ is involved the assurance on oath, that, etc. Comp. 2 Chronicles 18:13; 1 Samuel 14:44; Jdt 11:7 and Fritzsche in loc.

ἐμοί] to me, as the Judge (so in the sense of the apostle), for homage and submission.

ἐξομολογ. τ. Θεῷ] departing from the LXX., which, following the Hebrew, has ὀμεῖται πᾶσα γλ. τὸν Θεόν, for the reading of Cod. A of the LXX. (also א on the margin), ἐξομολογήσεται instead of ὀμεῖται, was probably—seeing that the Septuagint has very frequently undergone similar alterations of the text from N. T. citations—first introduced from our passage, and not a reading which Paul found in his copy of the LXX. (Fritzsche), as is too rashly inferred from Php 2:11. The variation itself is—as was allowed by the freedom in the handling of Messianic proof-passages—intentional, because Paul required, instead of the oath of God, a more general conception, which, however, lies at the basis of that special conception; for the swearing is the actual acknowledgment and glorification of God as the Judge. The correct explanation is: and every tongue shall praise God (as the Judge), and therewith submit to His judicial authority—parallel in sense to ἐμοὶ κάμψει πᾶν γόνυ. ἐξομολογεῖσθαι with the dative always denotes to praise (Romans 15:9; Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; frequently in the LXX. and Apocrypha, see Biel and Schleusner, s.v.): it only denotes to confess, as in later Greek, with the accusative of the object, Matthew 3:6 : Jam 5:16; Tob 12:22. Hence the explanation of Er. Schmid, Reiche, Köllner, following Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, is erroneous: to confess sins, which would only then be admissible if the parallelism obviously suggested the supplying of τὰς ἁμαρτίας.

With the reading τῷ βήματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ, Romans 14:10, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Luther, Calvin, and many others, including Philippi, have found in τῷ Θεῷ a proof for the divinity of Christ. There would rather be implied the idea, that it is God, whose judgment Christ is entrusted by the Father to hold; and this thought is contained also in the reading τ. β. τ. Θεοῦ Romans 14:10.

Romans 14:11. γέγραπται γάρ: the universal judgment proved from Scripture, Isaiah 45:23. Paul follows the LXX, but very freely. For ζῶ ἐγὼ λέγει κύριος the LXX has κατʼ ἐμαυτοῦ ὀμνύω. The same passage is quoted more freely still in Php 2:10 f. to describe the exaltation of Christ. In Isaiah it refers to the coming of God’s kingdom, when all nations shall worship Him. ἐξομολογήσεται τῷ θεῷ = shall give thanks or praise to God: Romans 15:9, Matthew 11:25, and often in LXX = הוֹדָה. In the sense of “confess” it takes the accusative.

11. it is written] Isaiah 45:23. The Heb. there runs, “By myself have I sworn … to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” The LXX. runs, “By myself I swear, … that to me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear (by) God.” Here St Paul substitutes one frequent formula of Divine Oaths for another; and paraphrases “shall swear to me” by its practical equivalent, “shall confess (my sovereignty) before me.” (Cp. Psalm 63:11; where to “swear by God” is to take the oath of faithful allegiance to Him.)

Romans 14:11. Γέγραπται, it is written) Christ is God; for He is called Lord and God: It is He Himself to whom we live and die. He swears by Himself.—ζῶ ἐγὼ, λέγει Κύριος· ὃτικαὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσεται τῷ Θεῷ) Isaiah 45:22-23, LXX., ἐγὼ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλοςὃτικαὶ ὀμεῖται πᾶσα γλῶσσα τὸν Θεὸν.[147] I am God and there is none else, and every tongue shall swear by God.

[147] Ἐξομολογήσεται, shall confess) seriously. The oath of believers corresponds to the oath of God, Isaiah 45:23.—V. g.

Romans 14:11As I live, etc.

From Isaiah 45:23. Hebrew: By myself I swear... that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Septuagint the same, except shall swear by God.

Shall confess (ἐξομολογήσεται)

Primarily, to acknowledge, confess, or profess from (ἐξ) the heart. To make a confession to one's honor; thence to praise. So Luke 10:21 (Rev., in margin, praise for thank); Romans 15:9. Here, as Rev. in margin, shall give praise. See on Matthew 11:25.

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