Romans 9:7
Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
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(7) Neither are all the bodily descendants of Abraham also his spiritual descendants. It was expressly stated from the first that the promise was confined to a particular branch of his posterity. The posterity of Abraham, strictly so called, was to be that derived through Isaac. This is very nearly the sense of the original, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called,” i.e., in “Isaac shalt thou have posterity, which shall be called thy posterity”—“true and legitimate descendants,” thus excluding the seed of Hagar.

9:6-13 The rejection of the Jews by the gospel dispensation, did not break God's promise to the patriarchs. The promises and threatenings shall be fulfilled. Grace does not run in the blood; nor are saving benefits always found with outward church privileges. Not only some of Abraham's seed were chosen, and others not, but God therein wrought according to the counsel of his own will. God foresaw both Esau and Jacob as born in sin, by nature children of wrath even as others. If left to themselves they would have continued in sin through life; but for wise and holy reasons, not made known to us, he purposed to change Jacob's heart, and to leave Esau to his perverseness. This instance of Esau and Jacob throws light upon the Divine conduct to the fallen race of man. The whole Scripture shows the difference between the professed Christian and the real believer. Outward privileges are bestowed on many who are not the children of God. There is, however, full encouragement to diligent use of the means of grace which God has appointed.Are they all children - Adopted into the true family of God. Many of the descendants of Abraham were rejected.

But in Isaac - This was the promise; Genesis 21:12.

Shall thy seed ... - Thy true people. This implied a selection, or choice; and therefore the doctrine of election was illustrated in the very commencement of the history of the nation; and as God had then made such a distinction, he might still do it. As he had then rejected a part of the natural descendants of Abraham, so he might still do it. This is the argument which the apostle is pursuing.

7-9. Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children—"Not in the line of mere fleshly descent from Abraham does the election run; else Ishmael, Hagar's child, and even Keturah's children, would be included, which they were not."

but—the true election are such of Abraham's seed as God unconditionally chooses, as exemplified in that promise.

in Isaac shall thy seed be called—(Ge 21:12).

He had before made a difference of Israelites, and now he makes a difference of the seed of Abraham. This was ever and anon in the mouths of the Jews: We are Abraham’s seed, John 8:33. But here he tells them, that all Abraham’s seed were not the children of the promise; for it was said to Sarah, Genesis 21:12, that the promised seed should be confined to Isaac’s line, of his issue should the Messiah come, and all the true seed of Abraham, who are born after the manner of Isaac, by the word and promise of God. And as Ishmael, though Abraham’s natural seed, was cast out, and therein was a type of those who are born only according to the flesh; so Isaac is a type of Abraham’s spiritual seed, who are born not of the power of nature, but by virtue of the promise of God.

Neither because they are the seed of Abraham,.... The Jews highly valued themselves, upon being the natural seed of Abraham; and fancied, upon this account, that they were children, which the apostle here denies: neither

are they all children; as in the former verse, he explains in what sense they were Israelites, which he had mentioned among their high characters and privileges, as descending from Jacob, and in what sense they were not; so in this he shows in what manner the "adoption", Romans 9:4, belonged to them, and it did not; being Abraham's seed, they were his natural children, and the children of God by national adoption; but, they were not all the spiritual children of Abraham, nor the children of God by the special grace of adoption; these characters only belonged to some of them, and which are equally true of Gentile believers; who being of the same faith with Abraham, are his children, his seed, and also the children of God: natural descent from Abraham avails nothing in this case, as is clear from the instance of Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was the natural seed of Abraham, as well as Isaac; but he was not a son of Abraham in a spiritual sense, nor a child of God; he was not a child of promise, this was peculiar to Isaac:

but in Isaac shall thy seed be called; see Genesis 21:12. The meaning of which is, either that the progeny of Abraham in the line of Isaac should only be called, accounted, and esteemed, in an eminent sense, the seed of Abraham, and not his posterity in the line of Ishmael: agreeably to which the Jews say (c), that

"Ishmael is not , "in the general account of the seed of Abraham"; for it is said, "in Isaac shall thy seed be called", Genesis 21:12; nor is Esau in the general account of the seed of Isaac; hence, says R. Joden bar Shalom, in Isaac, that is, in part of Isaac.''

So another (d) of their writers, on mentioning this passage, observes,

"that it is said in Isaac, , but "not all Isaac";''

or all that sprung from him. Or this has respect to the most eminent and famous seed of Abraham, the Messiah, in whom all nations of the earth were to be blessed; who was to spring from him by Isaac, in the line of Jacob; and may likewise have a personal respect to Isaac himself, the son of the promise, a child of Abraham in a spiritual sense, when Ishmael was not; and to whom belonged the spiritual promises and blessings, and who was to be, and was effectually called by the grace of God; and may include also his whole seed and posterity, who, both natural and spiritual, were children of the typical promise, the land of Canaan, and the enjoyment of temporal good things; and the matter also children of the antitypical promise, or of those spiritual and eternal things, which God has promised to Abraham's spiritual seed, whether among Jews or Gentiles; and which always have their effect, and had, even when, and though Abraham's natural seed had a "lo ammi", Hosea 1:9, written upon them.

(c) T. Hieros. Nedarim, fol. 38. 1.((d) Yom Tob in Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 7. sect. 1.

Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: {4} but, In {i} Isaac shall thy seed be called.

(4) The first proof is taken from the example of Abraham's own house, in which Isaac only was considered the son, and that by God's ordinance: although Ishmael also was born of Abraham, and circumcised before Isaac.

(i) Isaac will be your true and natural son, and therefore heir of the blessing.

Romans 9:7. Nor yet, because they are descendants of Abraham, are they all (his) children.

Before οὐδʼ a colon only is correct, because the discourse proceeds continuously, annexing denial to denial.

εἰσί] The subject is that of the previous clause, οἱ ἐξ Ἰσραήλ. The τέκνα of Abraham, as significantly contrasted with the mere bodily descendants (σπέρμα), are those destined by God to receive the promised salvation. Comp. Matthew 3:9; John 8:33; John 8:39; Justin, c. Tryph. 44. That it is not God’s children that are to be understood (although they are such), as, after Theodoret and several others, Glöcker afresh takes it, is manifest from the foregoing parallel οὗτοι Ἰσραήλ, and from the fact that it is not till afterwards that τέκνα τ. Θεοῦ are spoken of.

Wrongly, but in consequence of his erroneous understanding of the ὅτι, Romans 9:6, Hofmann regards οὐδʼ ὅτι εἰσὶ σπ. Ἀβρ. as the negation of a second ground of the ηὐχόμην, so that then a new sentence begins with πάντες τέκνα. This view the obvious correlation of οὐδʼτέκνα with the preceding οὐ γὰρ πάντες κ.τ.λ. should have precluded.

After ἀλλʼ we are not to supply γέγραπται or οὕτως ἐῤῥέθη, which would be quite arbitrary; but the saying in Genesis 21:12, which is well known to the reader as a saying of God, is subjoined unaltered and immediately (comp. Galatians 3:11-12; 1 Corinthians 15:27) without a καθὼς γέγραπται (Romans 15:3; 1 Corinthians 1:31) or the like being introduced, or the second person being altered into the third; simply because it is taken for granted that the saying is one well known.

ἐν Ἰς. κληθ. σοι σπέρμα] closely after the LXX., which renders the original literally. In the original text we read בְּיִצְחָק יִקָּרֵא לְךָ זָרַע: through Isaac posterity shall be named to thee, i.e. through Isaac it will come to pass to thee, that posterity of thine shall have the status and the name of the σπέρμα Ἀβρ. (comp. Hebrews 11:18); the descendants of Isaac (consequently not the Ishmaelites) shall be recognised as thy posterity (and therewith as the heirs of the divine promise). But the apostle has otherwise apprehended the sense of the passage according to its typical reference; for it is evident from the relation of Romans 9:9 to Romans 9:8, that he limited that saying to the person of Isaac himself, who (not Ishmael) was the promised child of Abraham, and thus represented in himself the character of the true posterity of Abraham accounted as such by God. Hence, in the sense of the apostle: “In the person of Isaac will a descendant be named to thee;” i.e. Isaac will be he, in whose person the notion “descendant of Abraham” shall be represented and recognised. Paul finds in this divine declaration the idea enunciated (Romans 9:8), that not on bodily descent (which was also the case with Ishmael), but on divine promise (which was the case with Isaac, Romans 9:9), the true sonship of Abraham is founded. Usually (not by Philippi and Ewald, who concur with our view) the passage is understood, conformably to the historical sense of the original, not of the person of Isaac, but of his posterity; which, because Isaac himself was the son of promise, represents the true descendants of Abraham according to the promise. But to this posterity all Israelites certainly belonged, and it would therefore be inappropriate to set them down, by virtue of their extraction from Isaac, as the type of the true sonship of Abraham, when the very claim to that sonship, resting upon bodily descent, is to be withdrawn from them. The person of Isaac himself, as contrasted with Ishmael, was this type, which was thereupon repeated in Jacob, as contrasted with Esau (in their persons), Romans 9:10-13. Chrysostom aptly indicates the reference to Isaac himself: διὰ γὰρ τοῦτο εἶπεν· ἐν Ἰς. κλ. ς. σπ., ἵνα μάθῃς, ὅτι οἱ τῷ τρόπῳ τούτῳ γεννώμενοι τῷ κατὰ τὸν Ἰσαὰκ, οὗτοι μάλιστά εἰσι τὸ σπέρμα τοῦ Ἀβραάμ· πῶς οὖν ὁ Ἰσαὰκ ἐγεννήθη; οὐ κατὰ νὸμον φύσεως, οὐδὲ κατὰ δύναμιν σαρκὸς, ἀλλὰ κατὰ δύναμιν ἐπαγγελίας.

κληθήσεται] nominabitur. See Winer, p. 571 f. [E. T. 769]; Eur. Hec. 625, and Pflugk, in loc. The opinion of Reiche, that ΚΑΛ. denotes to call out of nothing (see on Romans 4:7), which it signifies also in Genesis 21:12, so that the sense would be: “In the person of Isaac a descendant will be imparted to thee,” is erroneous, because that saying of God was uttered after the birth of Isaac.

ΣΟΙ] Dative of ethical reference.

ΤΟῦΤʼ ἜΣΤΙΝ] This purports, thereby the idea is expressed. Rightly Grotius: “Haec vox est explicantis ὑπόνοιαν latentem, quod דרש dicitur Hebraeis.”

τέκνα τ. Θεοῦ] Paul characterizes the true descendants of Abraham, who are not so from bodily generation, as God’s children, that is, as such descendants of the ancestor, whose Abrahamic sonship is not different in the idea of God from that of sonship to Him, so that they are regarded and treated by God as His children.

ΤᾺ ΤΈΚΝΑ Τῆς ἘΠΑΓΓ.] might mean: the promised children (so van Hengel); for the promised child of Abraham was Isaac (Romans 9:9), whose birth was the realization of a promise (and so Hofmann takes it). But that Paul had the conception that Isaac was begotten by, virtue of the divine promise, is evident from Galatians 4:23 (see in loc.), and therefore the genitive (as also previously τῆς σαρκός) is to be taken causatively: the children of Abraham who originate from the divine promise, who are placed in this their relation of sonship to Abraham through the creative power of the divine promise, analogously to the begetting of Isaac; ἡ τῆς ἐπαγγελίας ἰσχὺς ἔτεκε τὸ παιδίον, Chrysostom.

λογίζεται] by God. Comp. Romans 4:3; Romans 4:5.

εἰς σπέρμα] that is, as an Abrahamic posterity. See Romans 9:7. To understand Gentiles also, is here foreign to the context (in opposition to Beyschlag); see. Romans 9:9-13. Abraham’s race is treated of, to which not all who descend from him are without distinction reckoned by God as belonging.

Romans 9:7. Nor because they are Abraham’s seed, are they all τέκνα, i.e., children in the sense which entitles them to the inheritance, Romans 4:11, Romans 8:17. God from the very first made a distinction here, and definitely announced that the seed of Abraham to which the promise belonged should come in the line of Isaac—not of Ishmael, though he also could call Abraham father. Ἐν Ἰσαὰκ κληθήσεταί σοι σπέρμα = Genesis 21:12, LXX. The words literally mean that in the line of Isaac Abraham should have the posterity which would properly bear his name, and inherit the promises made to him by God. Isaac’s descendants are the true Abrahamidae.

7. neither because, &c.] An illustration from manifest fact, to shew that an apparently inclusive promise may be limited. We may paraphrase: “Abraham’s descendants, again, are not all his ‘children’ in the sense contemplated, just because they are his descendants; on the contrary, there is a distinct limitation: ‘in Isaac and his line are they who shall bear the title of thy seed.’ ”—The cases of Israel’s and Abraham’s “children” are not here precisely parallel; because all Israel’s bodily descendants inherited a Promise, in some sense. But the second case illustrates the possibility of a limitation in the first.

In Isaac, &c.] The quotation is verbatim from LXX., Genesis 21:12, and literally according to the Hebrew. It is introduced without “It is written,” as being perfectly well known with its context. See on Romans 4:18.

Romans 9:7. Ὅτι) because; this particle makes an epitasis[112] in respect of the preceding sentence.—Αβραὰμ, of Abraham) That, which happened to the children of the Fathers in the most ancient times, may much more happen to their later descendants.—ἀλλʼ ἐν Ἰσαὰκ, κ.τ.λ., but in Isaac, etc.) This clause is put as a “Suppositio Materialis” [end.]; for we supply, it was written, and it is being fulfilled, LXX., Genesis 21:12 : ὅτι ἐν σπέρμα. Here we even find a suitableness in the origin of the name Isaac; for they are the seed, who embrace the covenant of grace with a pure and noble-minded joy, Genesis 17:19 [Isaac Heb. = laughter, joy].

[112] Appendix. An addition made to a previous enunciation, to explain, or give emphasis.

Romans 9:7In Isaac

Not in Ishmael, though Ishmael also was the seed of Abraham. The saying of Genesis 21:12 is directly added without it is written or it was said, because it is assumed to be well known to the readers as a saying of God. The Hebrew is: "in Isaac shall posterity be named to thee." In the person of Isaac the descendant of Abraham will be represented and recognized. The general principle asserted is that the true sonship of Abraham does not rest on bodily descent.

Shall be called (κληθήσεται)

Named. See on Romans 4:17. Others, called from nothing. But the promise was made after Isaac was born.

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