Israel’s Rejection

I am telling the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears witness to me in the Holy Spirit— that my grief is great and there is constant distress in my heart. For I could wish myself to be accursed from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my fellow countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belong the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the temple service, and the promises, to whom belong the patriarchs, and from whom is the Christ according to human descent, who is God over all, blessed forever[a]! Amen.

But it is not as if the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel, nor are they all children because they are descendants of Abraham, but “In Isaac will your descendants be named.”[b] That is, it is not the children by human descent[c] who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. For the statement of the promise is this: “At this time I will return and Sarah will have[d] a son.”[e] 10 And not only this, but also when[f] Rebecca conceived children by one man,[g] Isaac our father— 11 for although they[h] had not yet been born, or done anything good or evil, in order that the purpose of God according to election might remain, 12 not by works but by the one who calls—it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,”[i] 13 just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[j]

God’s Sovereign Choice to Show Mercy

14 What then shall we say? There is no injustice with God, is there?[k] May it never be! 15 For to Moses he says, “I will have mercy on whomever I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I have compassion.”[l] 16 Consequently therefore, it does not depend on the[m] one who wills or on the one who runs, but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very reason I have raised you up, so that I may demonstrate my power in you, and so that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[n] 18 Consequently therefore, he has mercy on whomever he wishes, and he hardens whomever he wishes.

19 Therefore you will say to me, “Why then does he still find fault? For who has resisted[o] his will? 20 On the contrary, O man, who are you who answers back to God? Will what is molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this”?[p] 21 Or does the potter not have authority over the clay, to make from the same lump a vessel that is for honorable use[q] and one that is for ordinary use[r]? 22 And what if God, wanting to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And he did so[s] in order that he could make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory, 24 us whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he also says in Hosea,

“I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’
    and those who were not loved, ‘Loved.’[t]
26 And it will be in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”[u]

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel,

Even if the number of the sons of Israel is like the sand of the sea,
    the remnant will be saved,
28 for the Lord will execute his sentence thoroughly and decisively[v] upon the earth.”[w]

29 And just as Isaiah foretold,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us descendants,
    we would have become like Sodom
        and would have resembled Gomorrah.”[x]

30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness—even the righteousness that is by faith. 31 But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, did not attain to the law. 32 Why that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if by works. They stumbled over the stone that causes people to stumble[y], 33 just as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble[z],
    and a rock that causes them to fall[aa],
and the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.”[ab]


  1. Romans 9:5 Literally “for eternity”
  2. Romans 9:7 A quotation from Gen 21:12
  3. Romans 9:8 Literally “of the flesh”
  4. Romans 9:9 Literally “there will be to Sarah”
  5. Romans 9:9 A quotation from Gen 18:10, 14
  6. Romans 9:10 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“having conception” = “conceived”) which is understood as temporal
  7. Romans 9:10 Or perhaps “by one act of sexual intercourse
  8. Romans 9:11 Here “although” is supplied as a component of the participle (“been born”) which is understood as concessive
  9. Romans 9:12 A quotation from Gen 25:23
  10. Romans 9:13 A quotation from Mal 1:2–3
  11. Romans 9:14 *The negative construction in Greek anticipates a negative answer here
  12. Romans 9:15 A quotation from Exod 33:19
  13. Romans 9:16 Literally “not of the”
  14. Romans 9:17 A quotation from Exod 9:16
  15. Romans 9:19 Or “who resists”
  16. Romans 9:20 A quotation from Isa 29:16; 45:9
  17. Romans 9:21 Literally “honor”
  18. Romans 9:21 Literally “dishonor”
  19. Romans 9:23 The words “he did so” are not in the Greek text, but are an understood repetition from the previous clause
  20. Romans 9:25 A quotation from Hos 2:23
  21. Romans 9:26 A quotation from Hos 1:10
  22. Romans 9:28 Literally “for the Lord will act, closing the account and cutting short”
  23. Romans 9:28 A paraphrased quotation from Isa 10:22–23
  24. Romans 9:29 A quotation from Isa 1:9
  25. Romans 9:32 Literally “stone of stumbling”
  26. Romans 9:33 Literally “a stone of stumbling”
  27. Romans 9:33 Literally “a rock of offense”
  28. Romans 9:33 A quotation from Isa 28:16; 8:14