THEOLOGICAL CENTRE FOR ASIA ROMANS 9: 6-13 AN EXEGETICAL PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR CHUL WOO LEE IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS OFBNT 524 CONTEMPORARY HERMENEUTICSBYJOSEPH TAN TIAN LENG SINGAPORE 30 NOVEMBER 2004 CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 1 OVERVIEW OF ROMANS 9-11 1 TRANSLATION OF ROMANS 9: 6-13 3 INNER TEXTURE 4 Repetitive Texture and Pattern 4 Opening-Middle-Closing Texture and Pattern 6 INTERTEXTURE 7 Oral-Scribal Intertexture 7 Social Intertexture 11 FOCUS: TRUE ISRAEL AND ELECTION 12 CONCLUSION 15 BIBLIOGRAPHY 17 INTRODUCTION This exegetical paper will be dealing on Rom 9: 6-13. In order to understand this passage, an overview of chapters 9 to 11 will be considered as it forms part of Paul's discussion (although it is possible take into consideration the entire epistle, it is not necessary to discuss beyond the context). Next, a proposed translation of the text is done highlighting the variants that exists in the passage. Then, a socio-rhetorical analysis using inner texture and intertexture will be used to draw out a clearer understanding of the passage. Finally, with the help of the analysis, the meaning of true Israel and the understanding of sovereign election will be discussed.

This understanding of this focus is fundamental in correcting, if any, the misinterpretation of God's promises by the Jews and believers at Rome, and as well as for us today. OVERVIEW OF ROMANS 9-11 Romans chapter 8 ends in a most glorious and victorious statement. Paul says that he is convinced that nothing is able to separate him and the believers from the love of God (Rom 8: 38-39). However, he begins in chapter 9 with great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart (9: 2). It would seem strange to see a sudden shift in Paul's attitude in the beginning of chapter 9.

The relation of chapters 9 to 11 to their context - as well as, of course, their purpose - has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly discussion. At first glance, the discontinuity of this portion of the epistle and its length makes it difficult to unravel. On closer examination, Paul has not finished what he has said and now continues to develop his thesis in Rom 1: 16-17. If this section is missing, there would be a hiatus leaving us with unanswered questions and the corresponding perplexity. Chapters 9 to 11 comprise of "a carefully composed and rounded unit with a clear beginning (9: 1-5) and end (11: 33-36)." Paul begins on a personal note, expressing his concern for his own people. He is fraught over their condition.

Next, he gives a positive assertion: "it is not as though the word of God has failed" (9: 6). This states a possible implication from what Paul had written in verses 1-5. Paul, who has written so stridently on the justification of sinners, now turns to write on the justification (vindication) of God himself (cf. 3: 3, 4). He reminds them that the God is free and sovereign in what he does. In chapter 10, he turns the discussion to the Jews' mistake in trying to establish their own righteousness before God in terms of meritorious obedience to the law instead of responding to the gospel of Christ by faith.

God had not set Israel aside arbitrarily. In chapter 11, Paul writes about Israel's rejection being not complete, for there was a believing remnant and a mass conversion of Israel will occur. In addition, during this temporary rejection, God continues his work of grace by saving many Gentiles. The figure of the olive tree emphasizes that Gentile salvation is dependent on Israel's covenant relationship to God. Gentiles have to be grafted into the olive tree (11: 17-21). God is found faithful to his covenant promises in spite of the unfaithfulness of Israel.

In closing (11: 33-36), Paul, despite his burden for the Israel of his day, is able to lift his heart in indulgent praise to God. Therefore, Rom 9: 6-13 and Rom 9: 24-29 contain the brunt of Paul's argument, while Rom 9: 14-23 form an excursus in which Paul deals with certain questions that his teaching about the freedom of God in election raises. The exegesis of Rom 9: 6-13 will substantiate Paul's defense that God's promises made to true Israel has indeed not failed. TRANSLATION OF ROMANS 9: 6-13 v 6.

It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are from Israel are Israel. v 7. Neither because they are his seed are they all Abraham's children. But, "It is through Isaac that your seed will be called." v 8. That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are considered as Abraham's seed.

v 9. For this is according to the word of promise: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son." v 10. Not only so, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. v 11. Yet, before they were born or had practice anything good or bad -- in order that God's purpose in election might remain: v 12. not by works but by the one who calls-it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." v 13.

Even as it is has been written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." INNER TEXTURE Having done the translation and pointing out the variants, the exegesis begins by looking at the inner texture. Robbins identifies this texture as the texture of communication. This inner texture resides in features in the language itself, like repetition of words and use of dialogue between two persons to communicate the information. REPETITIVE TEXTURE AND PATTERN Repetitive texture resides in the occurrence of words and phrases more than once in a unit.

An examination of Rom 9: 6-13 reveals the major characters as shown the following table: -Table 1: Characters and topics involved in Rom 9: 6-13 v 6 not not God Israel Israel v 7 neither but seed seed children Isaac v 8 not but God seed promise 9 I (God) promise 10 not but Isaac v 11 not God v 12 not but God (the one) v 13 but God is the subject of interest throughout the passage. There is a progressive flow from Israel (two references) to seed (three references) to children (four references). Also, of interest to the author is Isaac (two references) and promise (two references). The highlight of this passage is a series of "nots" (seven references) and "buts" (five references) which undeniably represents some correcting of a misunderstanding or the author is refuting a misconception. Table 2 shows the pattern of refuting in clearer detail. Table 2: Pattern of refutes in Rom 9: 6-13 v 6 not as though God's word had failed for not all who are from Israel are Israel 7 neither (not) because they are his seed are they all Abraham's children 8 not the children of the flesh who are God's children but, "It is through Isaac that your seed will be called." v 10 not only so, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac 12 not by works but by the one who call sv 13 "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." The only two verses without this pattern of refuting are verse 9 and verse 11.

However, it is possible to rephrase in verse 11 in the following manner. v 11. not yet, before they were born nor practice anything good or bad but in order that God's purpose in election might remain This above analysis provides us with an overarching view of the texture of the language and an initial insight and approach into the overall argument that Paul is about be make. OPENING-MIDDLE-CLOSING TEXTURE AND PATTERN Opening-middle-closing texture resides in the nature of the body, and conclusion of a section of discourse.

It would be easier to see this texture and pattern when chapters 9-11 are examined as a whole. However, some type of this pattern emerges in this passage with reference to the word of God. v 6. It is not as though God's word (oJ lov go" to' ') had failed 9. For this is according to the word of promise (.".. oJ lov go") v 13.

Even as it is has been written () Paul begins his argument to say that the word of God has not failed (Opening). He discusses why in verses 6 b-9 and declares "according to the word of promise," continues with a greater assertion in verses 10-12 (Middle) and ends with the claim "it has been written" (Closing). Verses 9 and 13 can also technically be called two endings. Section 1 (Rom 9: 6 b- 9) also reveals that the family of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac is being discussed. In section 2 (Rom 9: 10-13), the family of Rebekah and her two children, Jacob and Esau is being discussed. Both families are also related, and Paul has in mind to illustrate his case by giving attention to them.

This will further reveal the plot of Paul's argument. Inner texture cannot give us all the answers that we need to exegete this passage. A text is always interacting somehow with phenomena outside itself. We will then explore another texture of the text for a clearer meaning.

INTERTEXTURE Intertexture is a text's representation of, reference of, reference to, and use of phenomena in the 'world" outside the text being interpreted. ORAL-SCRIBAL INTERTEXTURE Oral-scribal intertexture involves a text's use of any other text outside of itself. Part of the intertexture analysis is to analyze Paul's quotations and use of the OT. Paul knew the OT as one who was immersed in the content and teaching of the OT. It is significant that twenty-six of his quotations occur in Romans 9-11, in Rom 9: 6-13, it occurs four times. Paul's OT was, without doubt, the LXX.

Even where his quotations vary from the LXX, parallel phraseology is often apparent. Witherington goes further to say that the inter textual echoes that resound in Romans (and Galatians) shows Paul's narrative thought world, where he uses the Hebrew scriptures as a gigantic prophetic textbook, applying his and hermeneutic in various ways. A study of the four OT quotations or allusions will be done in depth. 1.

First OT allusion v 7 b. all j jean jIs aa; k so "It is through Isaac that your seed will be called." The quotation from the LXX of Gen 21: 12 is verbatim. God tells Abraham not to be upset and to do whatever Sarah tells him. Sarah had an ultimatum; drive out Ishmael else faced a breaking of an emotional tie with Isaac. The issue is that of inheritance. Sarah was right in saying that but she exhibits the wrong reasons.

God has decreed that Abraham's line of promise will be continued through Isaac but it will not be the result of Sarah's jealousy of Hagar. God was using the wrath of a human being to accomplish his purposes. The general sense is clear that the elect line of Abraham's descendants will run through Isaac; none of his other children count, a point also made in Gen 17: 19 and is reaffirmed here. Paul quotes this verse to evoke an explicit image of Abraham (9: 7 a) and Isaac outside the inner texture of the text. The reader becomes conscious of two main central characters in the OT. Paul's defense of God is with allusion to Israel's familiar leaders whom are credible in Israel's sight.

Use of other persons or argument may not have produced the same effect necessary for Paul's case. The term "seed" is a category that includes but is not synonymous with children. Though is singular, some may think that the reference is to Isaac (the jean is restrictive) as the "true seed" of Abraham. However, is clearly collective in the first part of the verse, and this sense probably carries over into the quotation. In other words, in the Genesis passage, Abraham and Sarah (and even all of Israel) may have thought (or think it was so) that Isaac is the "true seed" of Abraham and receive the covenantal blessings of God. Paul, however, corrects this idea (c.

f. 4: 12-13, 16; 11: 1) not to mean the physical descendant through one man, Isaac, but those who put their faith in God, who are the children of the promise (9: 8) becomes the "true seed" of Abraham. Paul's use of the word in context from the OT with the sense of "being given a name." However, Paul would certainly expect his readers to be mindful of the thematic function of the verb in this section... so to preserve the overtones, "shall be called" is preferable. 2. Second OT allusion v 9.

kat a; to; n kai ro; n to " ton kai; e[stay th'/ Savrra/ uiJov""At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son." The verse seems to be an amalgam of Gen 18: 10 LXX (a somewhat free rendering of the Hebrew as we have it) and Gen 18: 14 LXX (closer to Heb 11: 17). Gen 18: 10 /n how/ pro;" de; kat a; to; n kai ro; n to " ton ein" wrap" kai; ezek uijov dar ra hJ guv nh sou Savrra/Gen 18: 14 ein" to; n kai ro; n to " ton / pro;" de; ein" wv ra" kai; e[stay th'/ Savrra/ uiJov " God was showing both Abraham and Sarah that nothing was too difficult for him to accomplish; even when it seems unattainable in human eyes (The birth of a son to a woman who has exceeded the age of child bearing). Sarah's unbelief, however, does not bring to a halt or slow down the promise of God. To reinforce the certainty of the promise in verse 10, the text is repeated in verse 14 but it adds "at the appointed time." Paul omits the ein" wv ra" (definite time), thus freeing the kat a; kai ro; n somewhat from its temporal restriction to resonate with eschatological overtones. In other words, what was mentioned to the couple in Genesis was a promise by God to them and this was fulfilled with the birth of Isaac. Here, Paul deliberately removes the ein" wv ra" to allow the promise to be made available to any who would consider themselves Abraham's true seed (Rom 9: 8).

The choice of ("I will return"), rather than Genesis' "I will (surely) return to you," may also be deliberate for the same reason, allowing the same overtone: the realization of the promise depends on divine act or epiphany in the future. 3. Third OT allusion v 12. auth'/ o{ti JO tw'/:" it was said to her, 'The elder will serve the younger.' "The "divine passive" () is used in place of Genesis's ." The quotation is verbatim Gen 25: 23 LXX. The idiom (small / great = young / old ) is well known in wider Greek usage.

Dunn sees that "the fuller oracle speaks of the two children as two nations (Mal 1: 3 in verse 13), but Paul evidently doesn't have this view... Paul is content to have a text from the account of the birth of Esau and Jacob which shows that from the first precedence did not depend on the natural birth, even if the text reinforces the argument of verses 7-9 more than that of verses 11-12." This text is illustration more than proof; the proof text follows in verse 13. Morris is quick to say that "but Esau did not in fact serve Jacob, though the Edomites in time came to serve the Israelites" and bearing mind what Paul had earlier quoted "Two nations are in your womb... ." (Gen.

25: 23) In the light of the Genesis story, the meaning is clear. It points forward to Jacob's domination of Esau, to Israel's subjugation of Edom. Whether or not Rebekah sees it or not, God's enigmatic pronouncement in the context of a multiple pregnancy will be accomplished. There is a clear hint of his sovereign choice. 4. Fourth OT allusion v 13.

To; n jIa kw; b, to; n de; jHsau' "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Apart from the slight modification of the word order the text is verbatim from Mal. 1: 2-3 LXX. Paul utilized Mal 1: 2-3 to make reference to the individuals (Jacob and Esau); whereas Malachi used the names to identify the two peoples proceeding from these eponymous ancestors. Witherington adds, "The subject is two nations, not two individuals... even when individuals are in the picture, it is not their eternal destiny that is spoken of. The quoted verse, then, may speak of God's elective purposes, but the concern is with roles they are to play in history, not their personal eternal destiny." Clearly, Paul's intention is that of corporate identity than individuality.

Although "hated" here is hyperbolic, meaning to "love less," the arbitrary nature of the choice is scarcely mitigated. God has rejected Esau (Edom) for good reasons: they had created a realm of wickedness. The Edomites were guilty of false worship, violence, of rejecting God and hating his people Israel - all things Yahweh hates (Deut 16: 22; Pss 5: 6; 11: 5; 129: 5; etc. ). As in the case of Gen 25: 23, so here, Paul may be combating a contemporary Jewish line of interpretation which (naturally) understood Mal 1: 2-3 in the sense "God loved Jacob, but he hated Esau because of his deeds." On the contrary, God "will have mercy on whom" he wishes and "compassion on whom" he will have compassion (Rom 9: 15; cf. Exod 33: 19).

Therefore, contextually like in Malachi, Paul addresses the misappropriation of the doctrine of election by Jews who desire the benefits of God's love without obligation to divine law. Israel election, in that divine adoption is the inscrutable choice of God, apart from human merit, and above any indictment of divine justice (cf. Rom 9: 14). SOCIAL INTERTEXTURE Social knowledge is commonly held by all persons of a region, no matter what their particular "cultural" location may be.

In the earlier examination of the repetition and pattern of the passage, it will be essential to discuss this intertexture where kinship (children, seed, and father) is much highlighted. In the Book of Genesis, a recurring theme is that of the father's blessing his children (Gen 9: 26-27; 27: 27; 48: 15; 49: 1-28). In keeping with such a theme, God himself renewed his blessing to the next generation of sons (Gen 1: 28; 5: 2; 9: 1; 12: 3; 24: 11). It is an emerging portrait of an affectionate father insuring the future well-being of his children through the provision of an inherited blessing.

It is also this view that the Jews held a strong conviction of the necessity of being a member of the chosen race by pure descent in order to share the future blessings. The mercy of God in choosing Israel was balanced by the picture of Abraham (and others) as the model of the righteous man so that Israel's election was the reward of his merit. The reverse of this was a conviction that all "Israel shall never see the inside of Gehenna" and so a pride in being sons of Abraham. Both Greek and Jewish writers stressed the likeness between parents and their children, a "wondrous likeness both mind and of form" (4 Macc 15: 4).

This likeness was held to extend beyond physical appearance to emotions, predispositions and moral character. Roman fathers had extraordinary power over their children and texts often concerned with them, not their mothers. They were so severe that "Greeks regarded the Romans as cruel and harsh" A Roman master could sell a slave once, but if a Roman father sold his child and then the child attained freedom, the father could sell him or her again. Therefore, the perception for God as father to the children of Israel, whether they were influenced by Greek or Roman culture is virtually similar. God as father had authority in every facet of their lives. It is his intention to bless his children.

FOCUS: TRUE ISRAEL AND ELECTION From the above analysis so far, we arrive at the focal point of the passage. Firstly, we must determine what Paul meant by, "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel?" Exactly who is the true Israel that he is referring to? Paul begins where anyone seeking to define "Israel" must begin: with Abraham. His call and promises to Abraham were the basis for both physical and spiritual Israel (Gen 12: 1-3; 15: 1-5, 18-21; 17: 1-8, etc. ). Paul says that "not all of Abraham's children are his seed (Rom 9: 7 a) " and that "it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's seed (Rom 9: 8)." When God declares that only the children of Isaac will be counted as Abraham's descendants with regard to the promise, God himself initiates the of natural kinship that Paul interprets. In the NT, the process of reassessing kinship with Abraham begins with John the Baptist and Jesus, as they question the meaningfulness of physical descent from Abraham on its own (John 8: 33-53).

Contrary to the Jews' claim, Jesus insisted that they were not the true children of Abraham. Their hatred of Jesus, refusal to listen to truth, and lack of simple faith belied their profession. The Jews' insistence that they were children of Abraham implied that they regarded their relationship to God as secure because of their lineal descent from the man with whom God had confirmed his covenant. While the covenant had not been abrogated, Jesus made it plain that his hearers needed to exercise individual faith to participate in it. The heirs of Abraham are not merely those who are descended from him by blood but those who exercise his faith. The Jews' insistence that they were true descendants of Abraham brought Jesus' flat denial of their spiritual claims, and he attributed their attitude to another source.

Their protest, "We are not illegitimate children," may carry the implication of a sneer. Jesus gave another evidence of the Jews' hypocrisy. If they truly loved God, they would evidence that love by showing love to his Son. Love for God is a family affair; it involves loving all whom the Father has sent. This love should especially be manifested toward the Father's most beloved representative, his Son. The people might have been confused as to why they did not love Jesus if he was indeed sent from the Father.

Jesus spoke to that point with a rhetorical question: "Why is my language not clear to you?" Then he gave the answer: "You are unable to hear what I say." The word "unable" (out) speaks of an inherent inability. The reason the people didn't respond to Jesus' teaching was that they belonged to another. Jesus said, "You belong to your father, the devil." And because of this family tie, they were inclined to carry out their father's desire, just as Jesus carried out his Father's desire. The devil is a murderer and a liar.

He seeks to deprive life and distort truth. The Jews were merely demonstrating the truth of the adage "Like father, like son." To be a child of Abraham in a physical sense is not necessarily to be his descendant in a spiritual sense. The OT promises were not made to the ethnic or historical-empirical Israel, those born of physical descent or flesh and blood, but to the Israel of faith. This will, therefore, include Christian believers who are the branches grafted into the tree of Israel (Rom 11: 17-24).

Secondly, as a result, we must address kat j; n " to' ' mev nh/ (in order that God's purpose in election might remain). What is sovereign election? The OT portrays God as one who makes an extensive range of choices. God chose Israel (Deut 7: 6; 14: 2; 18: 5; 21: 5; Ps 33: 12; Isa 14: 1; 41: 8, 9; 44: 1; 45: 4; Ezek 20: 5). God chose individuals: Abraham (Gen 18: 19; Neh 9: 7), Moses (Ps 106: 23), David (1 Sam 16: 9-10; 1 Kgs 8: 16; 1 Chr 28: 4; 2 Chr 6: 6; Ps 78: 70), and even Saul (2 Sam 21: 6). In every occasion, God's choices were entirely free. They were not forced by any obligation.

They were not called for by the acts or merits of the ones chosen. Deut 7 protects Israel from misreading their having been selected by God. It stresses the fact that God's choice was internally motivated. His choices are a spontaneous act of love; the explanation for God's choices must be sought in the character of God and not in any quality of the chosen. So Paul argues strongly for it and against those who would try to find a reason for God's choice in some supposed human merit or inherited right. Paul looks back into sacred history and points out that physical descent from Abraham never guaranteed spiritual rights.

God chose Isaac to be in the covenant line but rejected Abraham's other son, Ishmael (Rom 9: 6-9). It is possible that Paul's opponents (who apparently think physical Jewishness is the basis for being blessed by God) would say: Of course Ishmael was excluded from the covenant; for one thing his mother was Egyptian (Gen 21: 9) and for another, the promises made about Isaac in Gen 17: 21; 18: 10, 14; 21: 12 were all made after the birth of Ishmael so that God could see what he was. Therefore, to demonstrate that they have not yet grasp the significance of God's free and sovereign election, Paul presents his opponents with another OT illustration to close the loophole in the first one. Isaac's sons (Jacob and Esau) were twins. Yet before their birth, before they "had done anything good or bad -- in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls," their mother was told that Jacob was God's choice to carry on the covenant line. Esau was decisively rejected for this role (Rom 9: 10-13).

God's purpose in election is established not simply by virtue of God's prediction of Jacob's prominence over Esau, but by the fact that this prediction was made apart from any basis in the personal circumstances of Jacob and Esau. In arguing this way, Paul proves that "it does not... depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy" (Rom 9: 16). Thus Paul makes the same point as that made in Deut 7. God's action in providing salvation and the existence of a people of God can be understood only by reference to God's own will. Salvation is completely his work, resting on grace alone.

All comes from God's character, which is the sole explanation for his choice. Therefore, Paul seeks simply to establish God's total freedom of action. No human being can claim as a right what God has spontaneously provided in his love and grace. CONCLUSION The ultimate ground of God's election is God. God's purpose in election might remain...

not by works but by the one who calls. This election is based on himself and his free and sovereign will to call. Election is not God looking down the corridors of time and foreseeing who would believe on Him, and therefore He chooses to elect them. Election is not conditional in any way.

It is by God's free choice (John 1: 13). Election is the unconditional act of God whereby He sovereignly chose from the foundation of the world to reserve for Himself a believing remnant (Rom. 9: 11-28, 11: 4-6; Acts 13: 48). To sum up, for God to be God he must be free and sovereign. The calling of Israel as his chosen people was based on his love and sovereign choice. It includes those who regard themselves as spiritual Israel and they will enjoy the same blessings that were promised to Abraham.

So this is what Paul is right is saying, "it is not as though God's word had failed." God's word has not failed; in fact, He has already achieved what his word has set out to do. BIBLIOGRAPHY Cranfield, C. E. B.

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