Romans 9:9
For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) This is the word of promise.—Rather, this saying is of promise. The children of promise, I say, for the saying, “At this time will I come,” &c., is a matter of promise; it implied a divine and miraculous intervention, and did not come in the ordinary course of nature.

At this timei.e., at the corresponding time of the next year.

Romans 9:9-13. For this is the word of promise — To show that Isaac was a son of promise, (and so a meet type of those that should be begotten of God by the promise of the gospel through faith,) he cites the words of the promise in substance, by which Isaac was begotten and born. See Genesis 17:20; Genesis 18:10; in which places two circumstances are mentioned, the one of God’s coming to fulfil his promise, in causing Sarah to have a son; the other of the set time when he would thus come; which plainly evince Isaac to have been a son of promise, conceived and born by virtue of that peculiar promise, which Abraham and Sarah believed, in order to his conception. At this time — As if he had said, Even now, though thy body and Sarah’s are dead, or at the time which I now appoint; I will come — Will manifest my power, and she shall conceive, and have a son — And he only shall inherit the blessing, and not whosoever is born of thee. Observe, reader, Isaac is not brought forward in this chapter as a type, or example, of persons personally elected by God from eternity, but as a type of those, how few or how many soever they may be, that shall be counted God’s children, and judged meet to inherit his kingdom. And not only this, &c. — And that God’s blessing does not belong to all the descendants of Abraham, appears not only by this instance, but by that of Esau and Jacob, the latter of whom was chosen to inherit the blessing of being the progenitor of the Messiah, and other blessings connected therewith, before either of them had done good or evil — The apostle mentions this to show, that neither did their ancestors receive their advantages through any merit of their own; that the purpose of God according to election might stand — Whose purpose was to elect to superior blessings, particularly to church privileges; not of works — Not for any preceding merit in him he chose; but of him that calleth — Of his own good pleasure, who calls to the enjoyment of particular privileges whom he sees good. “Nothing can be more evident,” says Mr. Sellon, “to any one that considers the beginning and end of this chapter, than that the apostle is not speaking of the election of particular persons to eternal life, but of particular nations to outward church privileges, which duly used, through Christ, should be the means of bringing men to eternal life, and to higher degrees of glory therein than others should enjoy, who were not favoured with these privileges. Nor is God, the great Governor of the world, on this account, any more to be deemed a respecter of persons, than an earthly king, who takes some of his subjects for lords of his bed- chamber, and others for lower employments; since he will make them all, that behave well in their station, completely happy.” See his Works, vol. 2. p. 134. It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger — Not in person, for Esau never served Jacob; but in his posterity. Accordingly the Edomites were often brought into subjection by the Israelites. But though Esau had served Jacob personally, and had been inferior to him in worldly greatness, it would have been no proof at all of Jacob’s election to eternal life, nor of Esau’s reprobation: as little was the subjection of the Edomites to the Israelites, in David’s days, a proof of the election and reprobation of their progenitors. Add to this, that the circumstance of Esau’s being elder than Jacob was very properly taken notice of to show that Jacob’s election was contrary to the right of primogeniture, because this circumstance proved it to be from pure favour: but if his election had been to eternal life, the circumstance of his age ought not to have been mentioned, because it had no relation to that matter whatever. As it is written — With which word in Genesis, spoken so long before, that of Malachi agrees; I have loved Jacob — With a peculiar love; that is, the Israelites, the posterity of Jacob; and I have comparatively hated Esau — That is, the Edomites, the posterity of Esau. But observe, 1st, This does not relate to the person of Jacob or Esau: 2d, Nor does it relate to the eternal state either of them or their posterity. Thus far the apostle has been proving his proposition, namely, that the exclusion of a great part of the seed of Abraham, yea, and of Isaac, from the special promises of God, was so far from being impossible, that, according to the Scriptures themselves, it had actually happened. And his intent herein, as appears from Romans 9:30-33, (which passage is a key to the whole chapter,) is evidently to show, that as God before chose Jacob, who represented the Jews, and admitted him and his posterity to peculiar privileges, above the Gentiles, without any merit in him or them to deserve it; so now, (the Jews through their unbelief having rejected the Messiah, and being justly therefore themselves rejected of God,) he had chosen the Gentiles, represented by Esau, to be his peculiar people; according to the prediction of Hosea, I will call them my people, &c., cited Romans 9:25, where see the note; and that without any thing on their part to deserve this favour. It was entirely free with respect both to them and Jacob, God’s mercy and goodness preventing, not the endeavour only, but even the will of both. As, before Jacob either willed or strove for it, the blessing was designed of God for him; so, before ever the Gentiles sought after God, the blessings of Christ’s kingdom were designed for them. Yet it does not follow that all who are called Christians, and enjoy outward church privileges, shall be finally saved, any more than it is to be concluded that all the Jews were saved before Christ came in the flesh, on account of their privileges.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.For this is the word of promise - This is the promise made to Abraham. The design of the apostle, in introducing this, is doubtless to show to whom the promise appertained; and by specifying this, he shows that it had not reference to Ishmael, but to Isaac.

At this time - Greek, According to this time; see Genesis 18:10, Genesis 18:14. Probably it means at the exact time promised; I will fulfil the prediction at the very time; compare 2 Kings 4:16.

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).

The birth of Isaac was a thing extraordinary; for which, neither Abraham nor Sarah had any ground to hope, but only that promise made, Genesis 18:10, in these words: At this time, or according to this time, i.e. the time of bearing children after conception,

will I come, and Sarah shall have a son; i.e. I will manifest my power in fulfilling my promise of giving thee a son. By which it is clear, that the birth of Isaac was an effect of God’s promise, and nothing else. So that they to whom the promise belong, (whosoever they be), they are the seed of Abraham, and, upon the obedience of faith, shall be accepted for the children of God. The apostle Peter tells women, (whether Jews or Gentiles, it matters not), that by well-doing they become the daughters of Sarah. For this is the word of promise,.... The following passage is the Scripture, which contains the promise concerning the birth of Isaac; which was the produce, not of nature, but of divine grace and power; and was typical of the regeneration of God's elect, who "as Isaac was, are the children of promise", Galatians 4:28, for as Ishmael was a type of them that are born after the flesh, and are carnal men, so Isaac was a type of those, who are born after the Spirit, and are spiritual men: the promise is,

at this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son; the passage referred to is in Genesis 18:10; which there stands thus, "I will certainly return unto thee, according to the time of life, and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son": some difference there is between the words as cited by the apostle, and as they stand in the original text; the word "lo", is omitted by the apostle, nor was there any necessity to repeat it, since it was used only to excite Abraham's faith, attention, and wonder; also the phrase "thy wife", is neglected, the reason is, because the words in Genesis are an address to Abraham, here the substance of the promise to him is produced; besides it was not only well known in the apostle's time, that Sarah was the wife of Abraham, but that as such she brought forth Isaac, wherefore it was not so very necessary it should be mentioned here; add to this, that it is not repeated in Genesis 18:14, which will justify our apostle in the omission of it: but the greater seeming difference is, that what in Genesis is rendered, "according to the time of life", is by the apostle, "at this time": some think, that there may be an emendation of the present original text, and suppose a various reading, and that the apostle, instead of "life", read "this", but there is no occasion for such a supposition, or to make this amendment: for the phrase "the time of life", signifies the present time, the "nunc stans"; so R. Levi ben Gerson (f), understands this phrase, "according to the time of life", , "according to this time which is now standing and abiding" and adds, rightly is this said, because neither time past nor to come are to be found, only the present time, the "nunc stans" and afterwards more than once explains it, of this present time, the next year: and so both R. Solomon Jarchi, and R. Aben Ezra (g), expound it, , "according to this time", the year following; that is, exactly according to this present time next year, or this time twelve month; besides, in Genesis 17:21 it is said, "at this set time", and in Genesis 18:14, "at the appointed time"; all which support the apostle in his version.

(f) Perush in Gen. fol. 26. 4. & 27. 2, 3. Vid. in 2 Reg. iv. 16. (g) In Genesis 18.10.

{6} For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

(6) A reason of that application: because Isaac was born by the power of the promise, and therefore he was not chosen, no, he was not at all, except by the free will of God: by which it follows that the promise is the fountain of predestination, and not the flesh, from which promise the particular election proceeds, that is, that the elect are born elect, and not that they are first born, and then after elected, by God who predestinates.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 9:9. Proof of the foregoing ἀλλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐπαγγελίας. “The children of promise, I say, for a word of promise is that which follows: about this time, etc.” Hence, therefore, we see that not the bodily descent, but the divine promise, constitutes the relation of belonging to Abraham’s fatherhood. The quotation is freely put together from Genesis 18:10; Genesis 18:14, after the LXX.

To κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον, at this time (namely, of the next year), corresponds כָּעֵת חַיָּה in the original (comp. 2 Kings 4:16-17; Genesis 17:21), which is to be explained: as the time revives, that is, when the time (which is now a thing of the past and dead) returns to life; not with Fritzsche: in the present time (of the next year), which suits the words of the LXX.,—where, by way of explanation, the classical εἰς ὥρας, over the year, is added,—but not the Hebrew. See Gesenius, Thes. I. p. 470; Tuch and Knobel on Genesis 18:10. On the whole promise, comp. Hom. Od. xi. 248 f., 295.9. of promise] Lit. of the promise; the promise just referred to in the illustrative case. The “children of God” among Abraham’s bodily descendants were to be limited within the descendants by Sarah; i.e. within Isaac’s line.

At this time] i.e. of the next year. (Genesis 18:10.) The quotation is nearly literally after the Hebrew, but varies (merely verbally) from the LXX.

Sara] The name of limitation. Hagar’s son was also “Abraham’s seed;” but not in the intention of the Promise.Romans 9:9. Ἐπαγγελίας, of promise) It corresponds to the expression, of the promise, Romans 9:8.—οὗτος, this) viz., is.—κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον ἐλεύσομαι, καὶ ἔσται τῇ Σάῤῥᾳ υἱός) At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. LXX., Genesis 18:10 : ἰδοὺ ἐπαναστρέφων ἥξω πρός σε κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον εἰς ὥρας, καὶ ἓξει υἱὸν Σάῤῥα ἡ γυνή σου; comp. Genesis 17:21.This is the word of promise

The A.V. obscures the true sense. There is no article, and the emphasis is on promise. "I say 'a word of promise,' for a word of promise is this which follows." Or, as Morison, "this word is one of promise."

At this time (κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον)

Rev., according to this season. The reference is to Genesis 18:14, where the Hebrew is when the season is renewed or revives; i.e., next year at this time. The season is represented as reviving periodically.

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