Romans 9:27
Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) Crieth.—With reference to the impassioned utterance of the prophet.

A remnant.—Rather, the remnant, with an emphasis upon the word. “The remnant, and only the remnant.”

Shall be saved.—In the original, shall returni.e., as it is explained in the previous verse, “return to God.” St. Paul has followed the LXX. in putting the consequences of such conversion for the conversion itself.

Romans 9:27-29. Esaias also — And, as the calling of the Gentiles, so the rejection of the Jews also is foretold by the prophets, particularly by Isaiah — who crieth Κραζει, calleth aloud — Speaks with great earnestness, as to a people unwilling to hear; concerning Israel — That is, both the ten tribes about to be carried captive into Assyria, which was almost a total rejection, and Judah and Benjamin, which were to be wasted by the Assyrian invasion under Sennacherib, and afterward to be partly destroyed and partly carried into captivity by the king of Babylon: though the children of Israel be as the sand, a remnant — Only, out of the many myriads of them; shall be saved — Shall escape destruction. But few escaped the ravages of Sennacherib’s army, and only a small number returned from Babylon after the Babylonish captivity. These, however, that were preserved, were a type or figure of that small number of converts under the gospel, who escaped the vengeance which fell upon the main body of the Jewish nation from the Romans, and that still greater vengeance which awaits all that obey not the gospel, in the eternal world. See the note on Isaiah 10:21-23. For, as the same prophet adds, (the apostle quotes the Septuagint translation,) he will finish, &c. — Greek, συντελων και συντεμνων, he is finishing and cutting short the work, λογον, the account, or matter, in righteousness — In justice, and will leave but a small remnant. There will be so general a destruction, that but a small number will escape. Because a short work — A quick despatch in executing judgment; will the Lord make upon the earth — Or, upon the land of Judea. For though in the LXX. it is οικουμενη ολη, the whole world, the scope of the passage seems to restrict the sense to the land of Judea, in which restricted sense the same word is used Luke 2:1. And as Esaias said before — Namely, chap. Romans 1:9, concerning those who were besieged in Jerusalem by Rezin and Pekah; Except the Lord of Sabaoth — So it is in the Hebrew, in which language the word Sabaoth signifies hosts, and is sometimes used to denote the sun, moon, and stars, as also the angels. The Lord of Sabaoth, or of hosts, therefore, as one of the titles of Jehovah, marks his supreme dominion over the universe, and particularly over the different orders of angels, who, on account of their multitude, and of their serving under the command of God, are named hosts, 1 Kings 22:19. The LXX., in the passages where this Hebrew word occurs, commonly express it in Greek letters, in which St. Paul has followed them. So also James, chap. Romans 5:4, supposing that it would be agreeable to the ears of the Jews. The sense here is, Except the Lord, who is the powerful and sovereign Ruler of all the creatures in heaven and earth, which are his hosts, ready to do him service; had left us a seed — Reserved from the common calamity, a small company, out of which, as a seed, God would cause his church to spring up again; we had been as Sodoma — Utterly destroyed. So that, (as if he had said,) it is no unexampled thing for the main body of the Jewish nation to revolt from God, and perish in their sins.

9:25-29 The rejecting of the Jews, and the taking in the Gentiles, were foretold in the Old Testament. It tends very much to the clearing of a truth, to observe how the Scripture is fulfilled in it. It is a wonder of Divine power and mercy that there are any saved: for even those left to be a seed, if God had dealt with them according to their sins, had perished with the rest. This great truth this Scripture teaches us. Even among the vast number of professing Christians it is to be feared that only a remnant will be saved.Esaias - The Greek way of writing the word "Isaiah."

Crieth - Isaiah 10:22-23. Exclaims, or speaks aloud or openly: compare John 1:15. Isaiah brings forth the doctrine fully, and without any concealment or disguise. This doctrine related to the rejection of the Jews; a far more difficult point to establish than was that of the calling of the Gentiles. It was needful, therefore, to fortify it by some explicit passage of the Scriptures.

Concerning Israel - Concerning "the Jews." It is probable that Isaiah had reference primarily to the Jews of his own time; to that wicked generation that God was about to punish, by sending them captive into other lands. The case was one, however, which settled a "general principle of the Jewish government;" and, therefore, it was applicable to the case before the apostle. If the thing for which he was contending - that the Jews might be rejected existed in the time of Isaiah, and was settled then as a precedent, it might exist also in his time, and under the gospel.

As the sand of the sea - This expression is used to denote an indefinite or an innumerable multitude. It often occurs in the sacred writings. In the infancy of society, before the art of numbering was carried to a great extent, people were obliged to express themselves very much in this manner, Genesis 22:17, "I will multiply thy seed ...as the sand which is upon the seashore;" Isaiah 32:12, Isaiah doubtless had reference to this promise; "Though all that was promised to Abraham shall be fulfilled, and his seed shall be as numerous as God declared, yet a remnant only, etc." The apostle thus shows that his doctrine does not conflict at all with the utmost expectation of the Jews drawn from the promises of God; see a similar use of the term "sand" in Judges 7:12; 1 Samuel 13:5; 2 Samuel 17:11, etc. In the same manner great numbers were denoted by the stars of heaven, Genesis 22:17; Genesis 15:5.

A remnant shall be saved - Meaning a remnant only. This implies that great multitudes of them would be "cast off," and "be not saved." If only a remnant was to be saved, many must be lost; and this was just the point which the apostle was endeavoring to establish. The word "remnant" means what is left, particularly what may remain after a battle or a great calamity, 2 Kings 19:31; 2 Kings 10:11; Judges 5:11; Isaiah 14:22. In this place, however, it means a small part or portion. Out of the great multitude there shall be so few left as to make it proper to say that it was a mere remnant. This implies, of course, that the great mass should be cast away or rejected. And this was the use which the apostle intended to make of it; compare the Wisdom of Sirach, xliv. 17, "Noah ...was left unto the earth as a remnant when the flood came."

Shall be saved - Shall be preserved or kept from destruction. As Isaiah had reference to the captivity of Babylon. this means that only a remnant should return to their native land. The great mass should be rejected and cast off. This was the case with the ten tribes, and also with many others who chose to remain in the land of their captivity The use which the apostle makes of it is this: In the history of the Jews, by the testimony of Isaiah, a large part of the Jews of that time were rejected, and cast off from being the special people of God. It is clear, therefore, that God has brought himself under no obligation to save all the descendants of Abraham. This case settles the principle. If God did it then, it was equally consistent for him to do it in the time of Paul, under the gospel. The conclusion, therefore, to which the apostle came, that it was the intention of God to reject and cast off the Jews as a people, was in strict accordance with their own history and the prophecies. It was still true that a remnant was to be saved, while the great mass of the people was rejected. The apostle is not to be understood here as affirming that the passage in Isaiah had reference to the gospel, but only that "it settled one great principle of the divine administration in regard to the Jews, and that their rejection under the gospel was strictly in accordance with that principle."

27-29. Esaias also crieth—"But Isaiah crieth"—an expression denoting a solemn testimony openly borne (Joh 1:15; 7:28, 37; 12:44; Ac 23:6; 24:21).

concerning Israel, Though the number of the children—"sons"

of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a—"the"

remnant—that is, the elect remnant only shall be saved.

In this and the two next verses he proves, that it was foretold of old, by Esaias the prophet, that God should pass by the greatest part of the Jews, and save only a remnant, or a few of them.

Crieth; hereby is noted the prophet’s zeal, or his openness and plainness. The testimony recorded, is found in Isaiah 10:22,23.

As the sand of the sea; for number or multitude, for so the promise was to Abraham, Genesis 22:17 32:12.

Shall be saved: Isaiah saith, shall return; i.e. from the captivity, or from sin, as it is, Isaiah 10:21. This shows, none can be saved but they who return and repent.

Esaias crieth concerning Israel,.... The apostle having produced proper testimonies in proof of the calling of the Gentiles, proceeds to mention others; showing, that some few of the Jews also were to be called, according to prophecy, founded upon divine predestination; which, though they are full proofs of the calling of some from among the Jews, yet at the same time suggest the casting off of the far greater number of them; and which is the apostle's view in citing them, as appears from what he says both here and in the two following chapters. The first testimony is taken out of Isaiah 10:22, and is prefaced or introduced with these words; which either express the great concern of mind and sorrow of heart, with which the prophet spoke them, even with strong crying and tears, seeing a remnant of them only was to be saved; or they show his heart's desire and prayer to God, "for Israel", as the words may be rendered, how that he cried to the Lord for them, entreated him with earnestness and importunity, and wrestled with him on their behalf; or they declare the presence of mind, the freedom of expression, the boldness and intrepidity with which he delivered this message to the Jews, which he knew must be ungrateful to them; in doing which, he run the risk of losing his interest in their affections, if not his life; and inasmuch very probably they did not choose to hear it, but turned away from him, he cried aloud, he spared not, he lift up his voice like a trumpet, as he is bid to do elsewhere, resolving they should hear what he had to say, from the Lord of hosts. This is a form of speech used by the Jews, in citing Scripture; thus, , "the prophet cries" (p), namely, in Isaiah 26:1, which is spoken of the same prophet as here; and again (q) the Holy Spirit "cries, and says", in some certain passage of Scripture; and in another place (r) the Holy Spirit "cried", saying, as in Joel 3:3, "they have cast lots for my people".

Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea: this part of the testimony seems rather to be taken from Hosea 1:10, which may easily be accounted for; since the apostle had just cited the words in Hosea, and so carrying them in his mind, transcribes this sentence from thence; it perfectly agreeing in sense with the passage in Isaiah he had in view, where it stands thus, "though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea", Isaiah 10:22; that is, though the number of them be such as to be compared thereunto; though they are many as the sand of the sea, as the Targum, Kimchi, and Aben Ezra explain it. This was promised unto Abraham, and had its accomplishment in the days of Solomon, and in after times; they were for quantity, for number, as the sand of the sea, even innumerable; and for quality, being barren and unfruitful, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers:

a remnant shall be saved; that is, a few persons only; , "few are called a remnant", as Kimchi on the place observes; these are the remnant among the Jews, according to the election of grace; the few that were chosen, though many were called by the external ministry of Christ and his apostles; the little city, and few men in it, even the escaped of Israel, he that was left in Zion, and that remained in Jerusalem; the little flock among them, which were as sheep among wolves; the few that entered in at the strait gate, and found the way to eternal life; the few that shall be saved; and these shall certainly be saved, with a spiritual and eternal salvation. These, according to the prophecy, were to return to the mighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah; be converted to him, and so saved by him with an everlasting salvation: God had resolved upon it, whose counsel shall stand; he had promised it in covenant, which is ordered in all things and sure; he sent his Son to save these his people from their sins, who is become the author of eternal salvation to them; the grace of God is efficacious and powerful enough, to make them willing to be saved by Christ, and to bring them to him, to venture upon him, and commit their souls to him, to be saved by him; and almighty power is concerned, to keep them through faith unto salvation: so that this little remnant, through the Father's everlasting and unchangeable love, the Son's purchase, prayers, and preparations, and the spirits grace, which works them up for this selfsame thing, shall be certainly and completely saved; though with respect to the difficulties attending it, which could have been surmounted by none but Christ, and by reason of their discouragements arising from sin, temptations, and persecutions, they may be said to be scarcely saved.

(p) Tanchuma, fol. 17. 3. apud Surenhus. Biblos Katallages, p. 14. (q) Mechilta, fol. 15. 1. Ib. (r) Megillat Esther, fol. 93. 1.

{26} Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

(26) Contrary to this, neither any outward general calling, neither any worthiness of our ancestors, is a sufficient witness of election, unless by faith and belief we answer God's calling: which thing came to pass in the Jews, as the Lord had foretold.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 9:27-28. If Paul has, in Romans 9:25-26, shown ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐξ ἐθνῶν to be based on prophecy, he now begins, seeing that the accepted Gentiles have taken the place of the excluded Jews, also to adduce prophetical evidence of the exclusion of the greater part of Israel.

δέ] leads over to another prophet, who prophesies something further, and that concerning Israel: “But Esaias cries respecting Israel, etc.”

κράζει] Of the loud crying, and therewith peculiarly impassioned, profoundly moved, and urgent call of the speaker, comp. Acts 23:6; Acts 24:21; John 7:28; John 7:37; John 12:44; John 1:15.

ὑπέρ] Like περί, in respect of, as, since Demosthenes, frequently with verbs of saying. The quotation is Isaiah 10:22 f., not quite closely following the LXX., and with a reminiscence (ὁ ἀριθμ. τ. υἱῶν Ἰσρ.) of Hosea 2:1.

τὸ ὑπόλειμμα σωθ.] The remnant concerned (with emphatic accentuation, i.e. not more than the remnant) will be saved; that is, in the sense of the apostle: out of the countlessly great people only that small number which remains after the rejection of the hardened mass will attain to the Messianic salvation. With this understanding Paul employed the translation in the LXX.—not verbally exact, but corresponding to the Messianic reference—of יָשׁוּב by ΣΩΘΉΣΕΤΑΙ (which they understood of the deliverance by a return into Palestine) in the Messianic sense. In Isaiah the word refers to the return to God, is converted, of which the Messianic σώζεσθαι is just the consequence.

Romans 9:27 f. From the calling of the Gentiles, as foretold in prophecy, Paul passes now to the partial, but only partial, calling of Israel, as announced by the same authority. The Jews cannot quarrel with the situation in which they find themselves when it answers so exactly to the Word of God. ὑπὲρ is here indistinguishable from περί: it is not a loud intercession on Israel’s behalf, but a solemn declaration concerning Israel, that the prophet makes; see Grimm, s.v., i., 5. The quotation in Romans 9:27 is from Isaiah 10:22 f., but the opening words are modified by recollection of Hosea 2:1 just quoted. The LXX reads καὶ ἐὰν γένηται ὁ λαὸς Ἰσραὴλ ὡς ἡ ἄμμος τῆς θαλάσσης, τὸ κατάλειμμα αὐτῶν σωθήσεται. λόγον συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων [ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, ὅτι λόγον συντετμημένον] κύριος ποιήσει ἐν τῇ οἰκουμένῃ ὅλῃ. The words bracketed are omitted by most editors, but the sense is not affected. τὸ ὑπόλειμμα has the emphasis: only the remnant shall be saved. This doctrine Paul apparently finds confirmed by the words λόγον γὰρ συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων ποιήσει κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. It is doubtful whether any one could assign meaning to these words unless he had an idea beforehand of what they ought to or must mean. Cheyne renders the Hebrew to which they answer, “For a final work and a decisive doth the Lord execute within all the land”; and there is the same general idea in Sanday and Headlam’s version of Paul: “For a word, accomplishing and abridging it, that is, a sentence conclusive and concise, will the Lord do upon the earth”. Weiss, who retains the words bracketed, makes λόγον = God’s promise: God fulfils it indeed (συντελῶν), but He at the same time limits or contracts it (συντέμνων), i.e., fulfils it to some of Israel, not to all. This, no doubt, is the sense required, but can any one say that the words convey it? We should rather say that Paul put his own thought into the words of the LXX, in which a difficult passage of Isaiah was translated almost at haphazard, and in doing so lent them a meaning which they could not be said to have of themselves.

27. Esaias also] Better, But Esaias. There is a contrast: Hosea speaks of the bringing in of Gentile believers; Isaiah of the rejection of all Jews except Jewish believers.

crieth] Perhaps the word refers to the power and intensity of Isaiah’s prophetic manner. So Meyer.

concerning] The Greek preposition is lit. over; and possibly it may be rendered so here; as if the Prophet stood lamenting over the fallen. But this meaning is very rare in N. T., and especially in St Paul.

Though the number, &c.] Lit. If, &c. The quotation is from Isaiah 10:22-23. The lit. Heb. is “For though thy people Israel (or, O Israel,) be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall return thereof; the consumption decreed is overflowing in righteousness; for a final work and a decisive work doth the Lord execute in the midst of all the earth (or, land).” The LXX. reads; “Even if the people Israel become as the sand of the sea; their (or, the) remnant shall be saved. (He is) completing and cutting short in righteousness; because a work cut short will the Lord (or, Lord God of Hosts) do in the whole world.” St Paul adopts nearly the words of LXX.; again (as in Romans 9:25, and very often,) developing a second and deeper fulfilment where the first fulfilment lay in past events of Israelite history; e.g. here, in the comparatively small returns of the exiles, under Zerubbabel and Ezra. The “return,” in the Second Fulfilment, is a return to Christ, and thus equivalent to “salvation.”

the number of] These words are perhaps borrowed and inserted from Hosea 1:10; a verse close to the last quotation. (Meyer.)

a remnant] Lit. and better, the remnant.

shall be saved] In Heb., “shall return.” See last note but two.

Romans 9:27. Κράζει) crieth. See Isaiah 10:22, where the accents also may be compared. Israel utters an opposing reclamation [cries against]: Isaiah with a still louder exclamation [cry] declares, a remnant shall be saved.—ὑπὲρ) for Israel, Fr. en faveur, in behalf of.—ἐὰν ᾖ ὁ ἀριθμὸς τῶν νἱῶν Ἰσραὴλκατάλειμμαποιήσει Κύριος ἐπι τῆς γῆς) Isaiah 10:22-23, LXX., καὶ ἐὰν γένηται ὁ λαὸς Ἰσραὴλκατάλειμμα αὐτῶΚύριος ποιήσει ἐν τῇ οἰκουμένῃ ὅλῃ. In the last clause Symmachus and Theodotion have ἐν μέσῳ πάσης τῆς γῆς. The word ἀριθμὸς Paul introduced from Hosea 2:1 [Romans 1:10]. If Israel shall have been [or have been] as numerous as the sand, a remnant [only] shall be saved, namely, from the misery of the Babylonish captivity and from spiritual misery. That a remnant should remain in the multitude of the remnant [i.e. in a case where the body from which the remnant is taken is a multitude] is less wonderful. The Many are hardened; but the seed implies a small number, Romans 9:29, note. When the rebellion of Israel reaches its height, at that point salvation begins.

Verses 27, 28. - Esaias also crieth (κράζει, denoting loud and earnest utterance; cf. John 1:15; John 7:28, 37; John 12:44; Acts 23:6; Acts 24:21) concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant (not, as in the Authorized Version, "a remnant." The idea seems to be, as it is in the original, that it is the remnant only that) shall be saved: for he will finish a word (not the work, as in the Authorized Version) and cut it short: because a short (rather, cut-short) word (again, not work) will the Lord make (i.e. accomplish) upon the earth. The Greek of ver. 28, according to the Textus Receptus, is difficult, so as to have compelled our translators to render the participles συντελῶν καὶ συντέμνων by futures, "will finish," etc. But we have the high and early authority of the uncials א, A, B, for omitting part of the sentence, so as to make it read more intelligibly, thus: The Lord will make (i.e. accomplish) a word upon the earth, finishing it and cutting it short. The longer form, however, agrees, though not quite exactly, with the LXX., which differs itself greatly from the Hebrew, though not so as to affect the main drift of the passage as a whole. The passage is from Isaiah 10:22, which had primary reference to the remnant of the house of Israel that should "return unto the mighty God" (Isaiah 10:21) after the then predicted devastation of the nation by the Assyrian king. The series of prophecies with which this is connected begins at Isaiah 7, which gives an account of Isaiah's memorable visit to Ahaz King of Judah, on the occasion of the combination of Pekah King of Israel, and Rezin King of Syria, against Jerusalem, in the course of which visit he predicts the birth of Immanuel. He took with him his son, who bore the symbolical name of Shear-jashub ("A remnant shall return"). Subsequently another son was born to the prophet, to whom was given the name Maher-shalal-hash-baz ("Swift of spoil, hasty of prey," as Ewald renders; or, "The spoil speedeth, the prey hasteth," as in margin of the Revised Version); the latter name having been previously written on a great roll (Isaiah 8:1). The primary drift of the prophecies in Isaiah 7. and the following chapters is that the confederacy of Pekah and Reziu against Jerusalem shall fail, that their own lands would ere long be devastated by the Assyrian king, who would sweep irresistibly over Judah too; but that God's people may still trust in the LORD'S protection, who would preserve and bring back a remnant, though a remnant only. The three names, Maher-shalal-hash-baz, Shear-jashub, and Immanuel ("God with us"), are throughout significant of the leading ideas of the whole series of predictions; the first expressing the certainty of coming judgment, the second the return of the remnant, and the third God's own presence with his people. Now, without pausing to consider what primary historical fulfilment of the prophecy about Immanuel there might be in the way of type, we cannot but perceive, in the language and tone of much in this series of prophecies, a distinct Messianic reference. We cannot, for instance, otherwise understand Isaiah 9:6, 7; and in Isaiah 11. there succeeds an ideal picture of peace and blessing under the "rod out of the stem of Jesse," which is undoubtedly Messianic. Hence the relevance of the passage, not only as showing God's way of dealing with his people in times of old, but also as an intimation of how it should be when the Messiah should come. Romans 9:27Crieth (κράζει)

An impassioned utterance. See on Luke 18:39; compare John 7:28, John 7:37; Acts 19:28; Acts 23:6. Mostly of an inarticulate cry. "The prophet in awful earnestness, and as with a scream of anguish, cries over Israel" (Morison).

Concerning (ὑπέρ)

Lit., over, as proclaiming a judgment which hangs over Israel.

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