New American Standard Bible
But if you bear the name "Jew " and rely upon the Law and boast in God,
King James Bible
Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
Darby Bible Translation
But if thou art named a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast in God,
World English Bible
Indeed you bear the name of a Jew, and rest on the law, and glory in God,
Young's Literal Translation
Lo, thou art named a Jew, and dost rest upon the law, and dost boast in God,
Romans 2:17 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Behold - Having thus stated the general principles on which God would judge the world; having shown how they condemned the Gentiles; and having removed all objections to them, he now proceeds to another part of his argument, to show how they applied to the Jews. By the use of the word "behold," he calls their attention to it, as to an important subject; and with great skill and address, he states their privileges, before he shows them how those privileges might enhance their condemnation. He admits all their claims to pre-eminence in privileges, and then with great faithfulness proceeds to show how, if abused, these might deepen their final destruction. It should be observed, however, that the word rendered "behold" is in many manuscripts written in two words, ἔι δὲ ei de, instead of ἴδε ide. If this, as is probable, is the correct reading there, it should be rendered, "if now thou art," etc. Thus, the Syriac, Latin, and Arabic read it.
Thou art called - Thou art named Jew, implying that this name was one of very high honor. This is the first thing mentioned on which the Jew would be likely to pride himself.
A Jew - This was the name by which the Hebrews were at that time generally known; and it is clear that they regarded it as a name of honor, and valued themselves much on it; see Galatians 2:15; Revelation 2:9. Its origin is not certainly known. They were called the children of Israel until the time of Rehoboam. When the ten tribes were carried into captivity, but two remained, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The name Jews was evidently given to denote those of the tribe of Judah. The reasons why the name of Benjamin was lost in that of Judah, were probably,
(1) because the tribe of Benjamin was small, and comparatively without influence or importance.
(2) The Messiah was to be of the tribe of Judah Genesis 49:10; and that tribe would therefore possess a consequence proportioned to their expectation of that event.
The name of Jews would therefore be one that would suggest the facts that they were preserved from captivity, that they had received remarkably the protection of God, and that the Messiah was to be sent to that people. Hence, it is not wonderful that they should regard it as a special favor to be a Jew, and particularly when they added to this the idea of all the other favors connected with their being the special people of God. The name "Jew" came thus to denote all the peculiarities and special favors of their religion.
And restest in the law - The word "rest" here is evidently used in the sense of trusting to, or leaning upon. The Jew leaned on, or relied on the Law for acceptance or favor; on the fact that he had the Law, and on his obedience to it. It does not mean that he relied on his own works, though that was true, but that he leaned on the fact that he had the Law, and was thus distinguished above others. The Law here means the entire Mosaic economy; or all the rules and regulations which Moses had given. Perhaps also it includes, as it sometimes does, the whole of the Old Testament.
Makest thy boast in God - Thou dost boast, or glory, that thou hast the knowledge of the true God, while other nations are in darkness. On this account the Jew felt himself far elevated above all other people, and despised them. It was true that they only had the true knowledge of God, and that he had declared himself to be their God, Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 147:19-20; but this was not a ground for boasting, but for gratitude. This passage shows us that it is much more common to boast of privileges than to be thankful for them, and that it is no evidence of piety for a man to boast of his knowledge of God. An humble, ardent thankfulness that we have that knowledge a thankfulness which leads us not to despise others, but to desire that they may have the same privilege - is an evidence of piety.
Observe that the apostle singled out an individual who had condemned others for transgressions, in which he himself indulged. This man owned so much spiritual light that he knew right from wrong, and he diligently used his knowledge to judge others, condemning them for their transgressions. As for himself, he preferred the shade, where no fierce light might beat on his own conscience and disturb his unholy peace. His judgment was spared the pain of dealing with his home offenses by being set to work …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 29: 1883
Tendencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688-1750.
Note to the Following Treatise 1. The Following Letter
Seances Historiques De Geneve --The National Church.
"For they call themselves after the holy city And lean on the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is His name.
Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, Her priests instruct for a price And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, "Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us."
"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
"Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.
They reviled him and said, "You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.
You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
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