Romans 10:19
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible

King James Bible
But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Darby Bible Translation
But I say, Has not Israel known? First, Moses says, I will provoke you to jealousy through them that are not a nation: through a nation without understanding I will anger you.

World English Bible
But I ask, didn't Israel know? First Moses says, "I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, with a nation void of understanding I will make you angry."

Young's Literal Translation
But I say, Did not Israel know? first Moses saith, 'I will provoke you to jealousy by that which is not a nation; by an unintelligent nation I will anger you,'

Romans 10:19 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But I say ... - Still further to meet the objection, he shows that the doctrine which he was maintaining was actually taught in the Old Testament.

Did not Israel know? - Did not the Jews understand. Is it not recorded in their books, etc. that they had full opportunity to be acquainted with this truth? This question is an emphatic way of affirming that they did know. But Paul does not here state what it was that they knew. That is to be gathered from what he proceeds to say. From that it appears that he referred to the fact that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, and that the Jews were to be cast off. This doctrine followed from what he had already maintained in Romans 10:12-13, that there was no difference in regard to the terms of salvation, and that the Jew had no particular privileges. If so, then the barrier was broken down; and if the Jews did not believe in Jesus Christ, they must be rejected. Against this was the objection in Romans 10:14-15, that they could not believe; that they had not heard; and that a preacher had not been sent to them. If, now, the apostle could show that it was an ancient doctrine of the Jewish prophets that the Gentiles should believe, and that the Jews would not believe, the whole force of the objection would vanish. Accordingly he proceeds to show that this doctrine was distinctly taught in the Old Testament.

First - First in order; as we say, in the first place.

I will provoke you - These words are taken from Deuteronomy 32:21. In that place the declaration refers to the idolatrous and wicked conduct of the Jews. God says that they had provoked him, or excited his indignation, by worshipping what was not God, that is, by idols; and he, in turn, would excite their envy and indignation by showing favors to those who were not regarded as a people; that is, to the Gentiles. They had shown favor, or affection, for what was not God, and by so doing had provoked him to anger; and he also would show favor to those whom they regarded as no people, and would thus excite their anger. Thus, he would illustrate the great principle of his government in 2 Samuel 22:26-27, "With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; with the pure, thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself unsavory," that is, froward. Psalm 18:26. In this passage the great doctrine which Paul was defending is abundantly established - that the Gentiles were to be brought into the favor of God; and the cause also is suggested to be the obstinacy and rebellion of the Jews. It is not clear that Moses had particularly in view the times of the gospel; but he affirms a great principle which is applicable to those times - that if the Jews should be rebellious, and prove themselves unworthy of his favor, that favor would be withdrawn, and conferred on other nations. The effect of this would be, of course, to excite their indignation. This principle the apostle applies to his own times; and affirms that it ought to have been understood by the Jews themselves.

That are no people - That is, those whom you regard as unworthy the name of a people. Those who have no government, laws, or regular organization; who wander in tribes and clans, and who are under no settled form of society. This was the case with most barbarians; and the Jews, evidently regarded all ancient nations in this light, as unworthy the name of a people.

A foolish nation - The word "fool" means one void of understanding. But it also means one who is wicked, or idolatrous; one who contemns God. Psalm 14:1, "the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." Proverbs 1:7, "fools despise wisdom and instruction." Here it means a nation who had no understanding of the true God ἀσυνέτῳ asunetō.

I will anger - My bestowing favors on them will excite your anger. We may remark here,

(1) That God is a sovereign, and has a right to bestow his favors on whom he pleases.

(2) that when people abuse his mercies, become proud, or cold, or dead in his service, he often takes away their privileges, and bestows them on others.

(3) that the effect of his sovereignty is to excite people to anger.

Proud and wicked people are always enraged that he bestows his favors on others; and the effect of his sovereign dealings is, to provoke to anger the very people who by their sins have rejected his mercy. Hence, there is no doctrine that proud man hates so cordially as he does the doctrine of divine sovereignty; and none that will so much test the character of the wicked.

Romans 10:19 Parallel Commentaries

How Can I Obtain Faith?
May the Spirit of God assist us while we meditate upon the way by which faith cometh. This shall be followed by a brief indication of certain obstructions which often lie in that way; and then we will conclude by dwelling upon the importance that faith should come to us by that appointed road. I. First, then, THE WAY BY WHICH FAITH COMES TO MEN. "Faith cometh by hearing." It may help to set the truth out more clearly, if we say, negatively, that it does not come by any other process than by hearing;--not
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

Barriers Broken Down
YOU THAT HAVE YOUR BIBLES OPEN, kindly follow me from the first verse of the chapter. It begins, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." If you really desire that men should be saved, pray for them. It is an empty wish, a mere formality, if you do not turn it into prayer. Every loving desire for any man or woman should, by the believer, be taken before God in prayer. We cannot expect that God will save men unless his people pray for it. There must
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

Receive, My Children, the Rule of Faith, which is Called the Symbol or Creed. ...
1. Receive, my children, the Rule of Faith, which is called the Symbol (or Creed [1762] ). And when ye have received it, write it in your heart, and be daily saying it to yourselves; before ye sleep, before ye go forth, arm you with your Creed. The Creed no man writes so as it may be able to be read: but for rehearsal of it, lest haply forgetfulness obliterate what care hath delivered, let your memory be your record-roll: [1763] what ye are about to hear, that are ye to believe; and what ye shall
St. Augustine—On the Creeds

Moreover Moses in Deuteronomy Says that the Gentiles Should be the Head...
Moreover Moses in Deuteronomy says that the Gentiles should be the head, and the unbelieving people the tail. And again he says: Ye provoked me to jealousy with those that are no gods, and angered me with your idols: and I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, and with a foolish nation will I anger you. (Cf. Rom. x. 19) Because they forsook the God who is, and worshipped and served the gods who are not; and they slew the prophets of God, and prophesied for Baal, who was the idol
Irenæus—The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching

Cross References
Deuteronomy 32:21
They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,

Romans 11:11
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.

Romans 11:14
if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.

1 Peter 2:10
for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

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