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I am speaking the truth — as one who belongs to the Messiah, I do not lie; and also bearing witness is my conscience, governed by the Ruach HaKodesh: my grief is so great, the pain in my heart so constant, that I could wish myself actually under God’s curse and separated from the Messiah, if it would help my brothers, my own flesh and blood, the people of Isra’el! They were made God’s children, the Sh’khinah has been with them, the covenants are theirs, likewise the giving of the Torah, the Temple service and the promises; the Patriarchs are theirs; and from them, as far as his physical descent is concerned, came the Messiah, who is over all. Praised be Adonai for ever! Amen.

But the present condition of Isra’el does not mean that the Word of God has failed.

For not everyone from Isra’el is truly part of Isra’el; indeed, not all the descendants are seed of Avraham;[a] rather, “What is to be called your ‘seed’ will be in Yitz’chak.”[b] In other words, it is not the physical children who are children of God, but the children the promise refers to who are considered seed. For this is what the promise said: “At the time set, I will come; and Sarah will have a son.”[c] 10 And even more to the point is the case of Rivkah; for both her children were conceived in a single act with Yitz’chak, our father; 11 and before they were born, before they had done anything at all, either good or bad (so that God’s plan might remain a matter of his sovereign choice, not dependent on what they did, but on God, who does the calling), 12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.”[d] 13 This accords with where it is written, “Ya‘akov I loved, but Esav I hated.”[e]

14 So are we to say, “It is unjust for God to do this”? Heaven forbid! 15 For to Moshe he says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will pity whom I pity.”[f] 16 Thus it doesn’t depend on human desires or efforts, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Tanakh says to Pharaoh, “It is for this very reason that I raised you up, so that in connection with you I might demonstrate my power, so that my name might be known throughout the world.”[g] 18 So then, he has mercy on whom he wants, and he hardens whom he wants.

19 But you will say to me, “Then why does he still find fault with us? After all, who resists his will?” 20 Who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me this way?”[h] 21 Or has the potter no right to make from a given lump of clay this pot for honorable use and that one for dishonorable? 22 Now what if God, even though he was quite willing to demonstrate his anger and make known his power, patiently put up with people who deserved punishment and were ripe for destruction? 23 What if he did this in order to make known the riches of his glory to those who are the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — 24 that is, to us, whom he called not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hoshea,

“Those who were not my people I will call my people;
her who was not loved I will call loved;
26 and in the very place where they were told,
‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called sons of the living God!”[i]

27 But Yesha‘yahu, referring to Isra’el, cries out,

“Even if the number of people in Isra’el is as large
as the number of grains of sand by the sea,
only a remnant will be saved.
28 For Adonai will fulfill his word on the earth
with certainty and without delay.”[j]

29 Also, as Yesha‘yahu said earlier,

“If Adonai-Tzva’ot had not left us a seed,
we would have become like S’dom,
we would have resembled ‘Amora.”[k]

30 So, what are we to say? This: that Gentiles, even though they were not striving for righteousness, have obtained righteousness; but it is a righteousness grounded in trusting! 31 However, Isra’el, even though they kept pursuing a Torah that offers righteousness, did not reach what the Torah offers. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue righteousness as being grounded in trusting but as if it were grounded in doing legalistic works. They stumbled over the stone that makes people stumble.[l] 33 As the Tanakh puts it,

“Look, I am laying in Tziyon
a stone that will make people stumble,
a rock that will trip them up.
But he who rests his trust on it
will not be humiliated.”[m]

10 Brothers, my heart’s deepest desire and my prayer to God for Isra’el is for their salvation; for I can testify to their zeal for God. But it is not based on correct understanding; for, since they are unaware of God’s way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God’s way of making people righteous. For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. For Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that the person who does these things will attain life through them.[n] Moreover, the righteousness grounded in trusting says:

“Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend to heaven?’”

that is, to bring the Messiah down — or,

“‘Who will descend into Sh’ol?’” —

that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead. What, then, does it say?

“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”[o]

that is, the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered. 10 For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance. 11 For the passage quoted says that everyone who rests his trust on him will not be humiliated.[p] 12 That means that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — Adonai is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on him, 13 since everyone who calls on the name of Adonai will be delivered.[q]

14 But how can they call on someone if they haven’t trusted in him? And how can they trust in someone if they haven’t heard about him? And how can they hear about someone if no one is proclaiming him? 15 And how can people proclaim him unless God sends them? — as the Tanakh puts it, “How beautiful are the feet of those announcing good news about good things!”[r]

16 The problem is that they haven’t all paid attention to the Good News and obeyed it. For Yesha‘yahu says,

Adonai, who has trusted what he has heard from us?”[s]

17 So trust comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through a word proclaimed about the Messiah.

18 “But, I say, isn’t it rather that they didn’t hear?” No, they did hear —

“Their voice has gone out throughout the whole world
and their words to the ends of the earth.”[t]

19 “But, I say, isn’t it rather that Isra’el didn’t understand?”

“I will provoke you to jealousy over a non-nation,
over a nation void of understanding I will make you angry.”[u]

20 Moreover, Yesha‘yahu boldly says,

“I was found by those who were not looking for me,
I became known to those who did not ask for me”;[v]

21 but to Isra’el he says,

“All day long I held out my hands
to a people who kept disobeying and contradicting.”[w]

11 “In that case, I say, isn’t it that God has repudiated his people?” Heaven forbid! For I myself am a son of Isra’el, from the seed of Avraham,[x] of the tribe of Binyamin. God has not repudiated his people,[y] whom he chose in advance. Or don’t you know what the Tanakh says about Eliyahu? He pleads with God against Isra’el, Adonai, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I’m the only one left, and now they want to kill me too!”[z] But what is God’s answer to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt down to Ba‘al.”[aa] It’s the same way in the present age: there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (Now if it is by grace, it is accordingly not based on legalistic works; if it were otherwise, grace would no longer be grace.) What follows is that Isra’el has not attained the goal for which she is striving. The ones chosen have obtained it, but the rest have been made stonelike, just as the Tanakh says,

“God has given them a spirit of dullness
eyes that do not see
and ears that do not hear,
right down to the present day.”[ab]

And David says,

“Let their dining table become for them
a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a punishment.
10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they can’t see,
with their backs bent continually.”[ac]

11 “In that case, I say, isn’t it that they have stumbled with the result that they have permanently fallen away?” Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy.[ad] 12 Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world — that is, if Isra’el’s being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter — how much greater riches will Isra’el in its fullness bring them!

13 However, to those of you who are Gentiles I say this: since I myself am an emissary sent to the Gentiles, I make known the importance of my work 14 in the hope that somehow I may provoke some of my own people to jealousy and save some of them! 15 For if their casting Yeshua aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting him mean? It will be life from the dead!

16 Now if the hallah offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole loaf. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, 18 then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you. 19 So you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of trust. However, you keep your place only because of your trust. So don’t be arrogant; on the contrary, be terrified! 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won’t spare you! 22 So take a good look at God’s kindness and his severity: on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off; but, on the other hand, God’s kindness toward you — provided you maintain yourself in that kindness! Otherwise, you too will be cut off! 23 Moreover, the others, if they do not persist in their lack of trust, will be grafted in; because God is able to graft them back in. 24 For if you were cut out of 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, brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness; 26 and that it is in this way that all Isra’el will be saved. As the Tanakh says,

“Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer;
he will turn away ungodliness from Ya‘akov
27 and this will be my covenant with them, . . .
when I take away their sins.”[ae]

28 With respect to the Good News they are hated for your sake. But with respect to being chosen they are loved for the Patriarchs’ sake, 29 for God’s free gifts and his calling are irrevocable. 30 Just as you yourselves were disobedient to God before but have received mercy now because of Isra’el’s disobedience; 31 so also Isra’el has been disobedient now, so that by your showing them the same mercy that God has shown you, they too may now receive God’s mercy. 32 For God has shut up all mankind together in disobedience, in order that he might show mercy to all.

33 O the depth of the riches
    and the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How inscrutable are his judgments!
    How unsearchable are his ways!

34 For, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Who has been his counselor?’[af]
35 Or, ‘Who has given him anything
    and made him pay it back?’[ag]

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

12 I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you. In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed. For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given to each of you, namely, trust. For just as there are many parts that compose one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function; so there are many of us, and in union with the Messiah we comprise one body, with each of us belonging to the others. But we have gifts that differ and which are meant to be used according to the grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, use it to the extent of your trust; if it is serving, use it to serve; if you are a teacher, use your gift in teaching; if you are a counselor, use your gift to comfort and exhort; if you are someone who gives, do it simply and generously; if you are in a position of leadership, lead with diligence and zeal; if you are one who does acts of mercy, do them cheerfully.

Don’t let love be a mere outward show. Recoil from what is evil, and cling to what is good. 10 Love each other devotedly and with brotherly love; and set examples for each other in showing respect. 11 Don’t be lazy when hard work is needed, but serve the Lord with spiritual fervor. 12 Rejoice in your hope, be patient in your troubles, and continue steadfastly in prayer. 13 Share what you have with God’s people, and practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you — bless them, don’t curse them! 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be sensitive to each other’s needs — don’t think yourselves better than others, but make humble people your friends. Don’t be conceited. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but try to do what everyone regards as good. 18 If possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people. 19 Never seek revenge, my friends; instead, leave that to God’s anger; for in the Tanakh it is written,

Adonai says, ‘Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay.’”[ah]

20 On the contrary,

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
For by doing this, you will heap
fiery coals [of shame] on his head.”[ai]

21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

13 Everyone is to obey the governing authorities. For there is no authority that is not from God, and the existing authorities have been placed where they are by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities is resisting what God has instituted; and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are no terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you like to be unafraid of the person in authority? Then simply do what is good, and you will win his approval; for he is God’s servant, there for your benefit. But if you do what is wrong, be afraid! Because it is not for nothing that he holds the power of the sword; for he is God’s servant, there as an avenger to punish wrongdoers. Another reason to obey, besides fear of punishment, is for the sake of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes; for the authorities are God’s public officials, constantly attending to these duties. Pay everyone what he is owed: if you owe the tax-collector, pay your taxes; if you owe the revenue-collector, pay revenue; if you owe someone respect, pay him respect; if you owe someone honor, pay him honor. Don’t owe anyone anything — except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow human being has fulfilled Torah. For the commandments, “Don’t commit adultery,” “Don’t murder,” “Don’t steal,” “Don’t covet,”[aj] and any others are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[ak] 10 Love does not do harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fullness of Torah.

11 Besides all this, you know at what point of history we stand; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust. 12 The night is almost over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and arm ourselves with the weapons of light. 13 Let us live properly, as people do in the daytime — not partying and getting drunk, not engaging in sexual immorality and other excesses, not quarrelling and being jealous. 14 Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua the Messiah; and don’t waste your time thinking about how to provide for the sinful desires of your old nature.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 9:7 2 Chronicles 20:7, Psalm 105:6
  2. Romans 9:7 Genesis 21:12
  3. Romans 9:9 Genesis 18:14
  4. Romans 9:12 Genesis 25:23
  5. Romans 9:13 Malachi 1:2–3
  6. Romans 9:15 Exodus 33:19
  7. Romans 9:17 Exodus 9:16
  8. Romans 9:20 Isaiah 29:16, 45:9
  9. Romans 9:26 Hosea 2:25 (23), 2:1(1:10)
  10. Romans 9:28 Isaiah 10:22–23
  11. Romans 9:29 Isaiah 1:9
  12. Romans 9:32 Isaiah 8:14
  13. Romans 9:33 Isaiah 28:16
  14. Romans 10:5 Leviticus 18:5
  15. Romans 10:8 Deuteronomy 30:11–14
  16. Romans 10:11 Isaiah 28:16
  17. Romans 10:13 Joel 3:5(2:32)
  18. Romans 10:15 Isaiah 52:7
  19. Romans 10:16 Isaiah 53:1
  20. Romans 10:18 Psalm 19:5(4)
  21. Romans 10:19 Deuteronomy 32:21
  22. Romans 10:20 Isaiah 65:1
  23. Romans 10:21 Isaiah 65:2
  24. Romans 11:1 2 Chronicles 20:7, Psalm 105:6
  25. Romans 11:2 1 Samuel 12:22, Psalm 94:14
  26. Romans 11:3 1 Kings 19:10, 14
  27. Romans 11:4 1 Kings 19:18
  28. Romans 11:8 Deuteronomy 29:3(4), Isaiah 29:10
  29. Romans 11:10 Psalm 69:23–24(22–23)
  30. Romans 11:11 Deuteronomy 32:21
  31. Romans 11:27 Isaiah 59:20–21, 27:9
  32. Romans 11:34 Isaiah 40:13
  33. Romans 11:35 Job 41:3(11)
  34. Romans 12:19 Deuteronomy 32:41
  35. Romans 12:20 Proverbs 25:21–22
  36. Romans 13:9 Exodus 20:13–14(17), Deuteronomy 5:17–18(21)
  37. Romans 13:9 Leviticus 19:18

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