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Israel’s Rejection not Complete nor Final

11 So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew! Do you not know what the scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left and they are seeking my life![a] But what was the divine response[b] to him? “I have kept for myself 7,000 people[c] who have not bent the knee to Baal.”[d]

So in the same way at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if it is by grace, it is no longer by works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was diligently seeking, but the elect obtained it. The[e] rest were hardened, as it is written,

God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear,
to this very day.[f]

And David says,

Let their table become a snare and trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes be darkened so that they may not see,
and make their backs bend continually.[g]

11 I ask then, they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall,[h] did they? Absolutely not! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel[i] jealous. 12 Now if their transgression means riches for the world and their defeat means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full restoration[j] bring?

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Seeing that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if somehow I could provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the first portion[k] of the dough offered is holy, then the whole batch is holy, and if the root is holy, so too are the branches.[l]

17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in[m] the richness of the olive root, 18 do not boast over the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 Then you will say, “The branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted![n] They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear! 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. 22 Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God—harshness toward those who have fallen, but[o] God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness;[p] otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And even they—if they do not continue in their unbelief—will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?

25 For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters,[q] so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel[r] until the full number[s] of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so[t] all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

The Deliverer will come out of Zion;
he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them,[u]
when I take away their sins.[v]

28 In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. 30 Just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now[w] receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.[x]

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how unfathomable his ways!

34 For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?[y]
35 Or who has first given to God,[z]
that God[aa] needs to repay him?[ab]

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.


  1. Romans 11:3 sn A quotation from 1 Kgs 19:10, 14.
  2. Romans 11:4 tn Grk “the revelation,” “the oracle.”
  3. Romans 11:4 tn The Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, it appears to be a generic usage (“people”) since when Paul speaks of a remnant of faithful Israelites (“the elect,” v. 7), he is not referring to males only. It can also be argued, however, that it refers only to adult males here (“men”), perhaps as representative of all the faithful left in Israel.
  4. Romans 11:4 sn A quotation from 1 Kgs 19:18.
  5. Romans 11:7 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  6. Romans 11:8 sn A quotation from Deut 29:4; Isa 29:10.
  7. Romans 11:10 sn A quotation from Ps 69:22-23.
  8. Romans 11:11 tn Grk “that they might fall.”
  9. Romans 11:11 tn Grk “them”; the referent (Israel, cf. 11:7) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  10. Romans 11:12 tn Or “full inclusion”; Grk “their fullness.”
  11. Romans 11:16 tn Grk “firstfruits,” a term for the first part of something that has been set aside and offered to God before the remainder can be used.
  12. Romans 11:16 sn Most interpreters see Paul as making use of a long-standing metaphor of the olive tree (the root…the branches) as a symbol for Israel. See, in this regard, Jer 11:16, 19. A. T. Hanson, Studies in Paul’s Technique and Theology, 121-24, cites rabbinic use of the figure of the olive tree, and goes so far as to argue that Rom 11:17-24 is a midrash on Jer 11:16-19.
  13. Romans 11:17 tn Grk “became a participant of.”
  14. Romans 11:20 tn Grk “well!”, an adverb used to affirm a statement. It means “very well,” “you are correct.”
  15. Romans 11:22 tn Greek emphasizes the contrast between these two clauses more than can be easily expressed in English.
  16. Romans 11:22 tn Grk “if you continue in (the) kindness.”
  17. Romans 11:25 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:13.
  18. Romans 11:25 tn Or “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”
  19. Romans 11:25 tn Grk “fullness.”
  20. Romans 11:26 tn It is not clear whether the phrase καὶ οὕτως (kai houtōs, “and so”) is to be understood in a modal sense (“and in this way”) or in a temporal sense (“and in the end”). Neither interpretation is conclusive from a grammatical standpoint, and in fact the two may not be mutually exclusive. Some, like H. Hübner, who argue strongly against the temporal reading, nevertheless continue to give the phrase a temporal significance, saying that God will save all Israel in the end (Gottes Ich und Israel [FRLANT], 118).
  21. Romans 11:27 sn A quotation from Isa 59:20-21.
  22. Romans 11:27 sn A quotation from Isa 27:9; Jer 31:33-34.
  23. Romans 11:31 tc Some significant Alexandrian and Western mss (א B D*,c 1506 bo) read νῦν (nun, “now”) here. A few other mss (33 365 sa) have ὕστερον (husteron, “finally”). mss that lack the word are P46 A D1 F G Ψ 81 1175 1241 1505 1739 1881 M latt. External evidence slightly favors omission with good representatives from the major text-forms, and because of the alliance of Alexandrian and Byzantine mss (with the Byzantine going against its normal tendency to embrace the longer reading). Internally, scribes could have added νῦν here to give balance to the preceding clause (οὗτοι νῦν ἠπείθησαναὐτοὶ νῦν ἐλεηθῶσιν [|outoi nun ēpeithēsanautoi nun eleēthōsin; “they have now been disobedient…they may now receive mercy”]). However, it seems much more likely that they would have deleted it because of its seeming inappropriateness in this context. That some witnesses have ὕστερον presupposes the presence of νῦν in their ancestors. A decision is difficult, but νῦν is slightly preferred, since it is the more difficult reading and is adequately represented in the mss.
  24. Romans 11:32 tn Grk “to all”; “them” has been supplied for stylistic reasons.
  25. Romans 11:34 sn A quotation from Isa 40:13.
  26. Romans 11:35 tn Grk “him”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  27. Romans 11:35 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  28. Romans 11:35 sn A quotation from Job 41:11.

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