Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 9:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For this is the word of promise, etc. - That is, this is evidently implied in the promise recorded Genesis 18:10; : At this time I will come, saith God, and exert my Divine power, and Sarah, though fourscore and ten years old, shall have a son; which shows that it is the sovereign will and act of God alone, which singles out and constitutes the peculiar seed that was to inherit the promise made to Abraham.

It should be considered that the apostle, in this and the following quotations, does not give us the whole of the text which he intends should be taken into his argument, but only a hint or reference to the passages to which they belong; directing us to recollect or peruse the whole passage, and there view and judge of the argument.

That he is so to be understood appears from the conclusion he draws, Romans 9:16; : So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. In his arguments, Romans 9:7, Romans 9:8, etc., he says not one word of Abraham's willing Ishmael to be the seed in whom the promise might be fulfilled; nor of Isaac's willing Esau; nor of Moses' willing and interceding that the Israelites might be spared; nor of Esau's running for venison; but by introducing these particulars into his conclusion, he gives us to understand that his quotations are to be taken in connection with the whole story, of which they are a part; and without this the apostle's meaning cannot be apprehended.

The same may be said of his conclusion, Romans 9:18; : Whom he will he hardeneth: hardeneth is not in his argument, but it is in the conclusion. Therefore hardening is understood in the argument, and he evidently refers to the case of Pharaoh. The generality of the Jews were well acquainted with the Scripture, and a hint was sufficient to revive the memory of a whole passage. - Taylor, p. 330.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.