Children of the living God (Rom 9:26)

“In the very place

Where it was said

To them.

‘You are not my people’,

There,

They will be called

‘children of the living God’.”

καὶ ἔσται ἐν τῷ τόπῳ οὗ ἐρρέθη αὐτοῖς Οὐ λαός μου ὑμεῖς, ἐκεῖ κληθήσονται υἱοὶ Θεοῦ ζῶντος.

Paul quoted Hosea, chapter 1:10-2:1, that said in the very place (καὶ ἔσται ἐν τῷ τόπῳ) where it was said to them (οὗ ἐρρέθη αὐτοῖς), “You are not my people (Οὐ λαός μου ὑμεῖς)”, there, they will be called (ἐκεῖ κληθήσονται) “children or sons of the living God (υἱοὶ Θεοῦ ζῶντος)”.  Paul quoted from the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 of the 8th century BCE prophet, Hosea, who had said that Yahweh indicated that in that place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them that they were now “the children or sons of the living God”.  Thus, there would be a unification of the people of Judah with the people of Israel in one land, a reference to the split in Israel between the north and south at the death of Solomon.  They would once again be known as the children of the living God with one leader, since all would be well.  Paul seemed to indicate that this citation was more about the unification of the Jewish Christians and the gentile non-Jewish Christians, not the Israelites of the north with the Judeans of the south, as in the original citation.  Can you go from not my people to being my people?

My people and my beloved (Rom 9:25)

“As indeed God says

In Hosea.

‘Those who were not my people

I will call

‘My people’.

Those who were not beloved

I will call

‘My beloved’.’”

ὡς καὶ ἐν τῷ Ὡσηὲ λέγει Καλέσω τὸν οὐ λαόν μου λαόν μου καὶ τὴν οὐκ ἠγαπημένην ἠγαπημένην

Next Paul began citing the prophets that would have been very unfamiliar to these gentile Christians.  However, he cited the verse that was about those who were not God’s people becoming God’s people.  Those who were not his beloved had become his beloved.  This was an indication of the outreach of the Christian message, not just for the Israelites, but for all mankind, even the gentile, non-Jewish people.  Paul cited Hosea (ὡς καὶ ἐν τῷ Ὡσηὲ λέγει), chapter 2:25 in the Greek Septuagint.  “I will call (Καλέσω) those not my people (τὸν οὐ λαόν μου), my people (λαόν μου).  Those who were not beloved (καὶ τὴν οὐκ ἠγαπημένην), I will call beloved (ἠγαπημένην).”  The original text was Yahweh speaking to Hosea that he was going to sow in the land itself.  Finally, he would have pity and love for the non-pitied ones.  He too would rename them, from “not my people” to “you are my people”.  He was going to be their God, loving them.  Paul tried to fit these gentile Christians within the wider tent of the Jewish Christians by using this 8th century BCE prophet, Hosea.  What do you know about Israelite prophets?

Jews and gentiles (Rom 9:24)

“This includes us,

Whom he has called,

Not from the Jews only,

But also from the gentiles.”

οὓς καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ἡμᾶς οὐ μόνον ἐξ Ἰουδαίων ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐξ ἐθνῶν;

Paul said that this includes us (ἡμᾶς), whom God has called (οὓς καὶ ἐκάλεσεν), not from the Jews only (οὐ μόνον ἐξ Ἰουδαίων), but also from the gentiles (ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐξ ἐθνῶν).  Paul now turned to the gentiles or non-Jewish Christians.  He used the term us (ἡμᾶς), thus indicating Christians who may have been Jewish or gentile.  Previously, he had been speaking to Jewish Christians about their Israelite background.  Now, he was all inclusive with gentiles or non-Jewish people.  Do you make a distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish people?

The rich glory of God (Rom 9:23)

“What if God has done so,

In order to make known

The richness

Of his glory

For the vessels

Of mercy

That he has prepared beforehand

For glory?”

καὶ ἵνα γνωρίσῃ τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ σκεύη ἐλέους, ἃ προητοίμασεν εἰς δόξαν,

Paul asked what if God has done this (καὶ ἵνα) in order to make known (ἵνα γνωρίσῃ) the richness (τὸν πλοῦτον) of his glory (τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ) for the vessels of mercy (ἃ προητοίμασεν) that he had prepared beforehand (ἃ προητοίμασεν) for glory (εἰς δόξαν).  Only the Pauline letters used this word προητοίμασεν, that means to prepare before, appoint beforehand, or predestine.  Paul posed another option for God.  Perhaps, he wanted to show the richness of his glory.  He may have prepared beforehand or predestined his vessels of glory.  God was in control.  He had a wealth of mercy and may have decided who was going to get his containers of mercy.  Afterall, eternity has no beginning or ending, so that all human time is rolled into a divine eternal now.  Do you accept the concept of a glorious eternity?

God is patient (Rom 9:22)

“What if God,

Desiring to show

His wrath

And to make known

His power,

Already has endured

With much patience?

The vessels of wrath

Are made ready for destruction.”

εἰ δὲ θέλων ὁ Θεὸς ἐνδείξασθαι τὴν ὀργὴν καὶ γνωρίσαι τὸ δυνατὸν αὐτοῦ ἤνεγκεν ἐν πολλῇ μακροθυμίᾳ σκεύη ὀργῆς κατηρτισμένα εἰς ἀπώλειαν,

Paul asked what if God has already shown patience?  What if God (ὁ Θεὸς) desired (εἰ δὲ θέλων) to show (ἐνδείξασθαι) his wrath (τὴν ὀργὴν) and to make known (καὶ γνωρίσαι) his power (τὸ δυνατὸν αὐτοῦ), since he has endured things (ἤνεγκεν) with much patience (ἐν πολλῇ μακροθυμίᾳ)?  But now the vessels of wrath (σκεύη ὀργῆς) are made ready (κατηρτισμένα) for destruction (εἰς ἀπώλειαν).  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐνδείξασθαι that means to indicate, to prove, or to show.  Paul continued with his comparison of the creative God with a potter.  What if God had already shown his great patience.  Perhaps he was getting ready to get rid of these vessels of wrath by destroying them.  In other words, we really never know the thinking of God.  What looks irrational to us, maybe was something well planned out.  Maybe God has already patiently endured many things, so that now he wants to show his power by destroying the dishonorable vases.  Our ways are not God’s ways.  Do you accept the fact that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to?

Does the potter control his clay? (Rom 9:21)

“Has the potter

No right

Over his clay

To make out

Of the same lump

One object

For special use

And another

For ordinary menial use?”

ἢ οὐκ ἔχει ἐξουσίαν ὁ κεραμεὺς τοῦ πηλοῦ ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ φυράματος ποιῆσαι ὃ μὲν εἰς τιμὴν σκεῦος, ὃ δὲ εἰς ἀτιμίαν;

Paul asked again.  “Has the potter (ὁ κεραμεὺς) no right or authority (ἢ οὐκ ἔχει ἐξουσίαν) over his clay (τοῦ πηλοῦ) to make (ποιῆσαι) out of this same lump of clay (ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ φυράματος) one vessel for a special or honorable use (ὃ μὲν εἰς τιμὴν σκεῦος) and another for ordinary menial or dishonorable use (ὃ δὲ εἰς ἀτιμίαν)?”  Only the Pauline letters used these words, φυράματος, that means mixed, a mass, or a lump, and the word, ἀτιμίαν, that means dishonor, disgrace, or a dishonorable use.  Paul continued with his ironic questions.  Doesn’t the potter have the right to do whatever he wants with his clay?  He can make some beautiful honorable vase or just some menial everyday dishonorable cup.  It is his clay and he can make it as beautiful or not as he pleases.  No one can tell him what kind of container he should make from his clay.  It’s his choice, not ours.  God, the potter, has the right to do whatever he wants.  He is not constrained by us human vessels.  Do you ever complain about your human clay body?

How can you argue with God? (Rom 9:20)

“But who are you?

A man!

How can you argue

With God?

Will what is molded

Say to its molder.

‘Why have you made me

Like this?’”

ὦ ἄνθρωπε, μενοῦνγε σὺ τίς εἶ ὁ ἀνταποκρινόμενος τῷ Θεῷ; μὴ ἐρεῖ τὸ πλάσμα τῷ πλάσαντι Τί με ἐποίησας οὕτως;

Paul once again asked a series of ironic question.  “But rather who are you (μενοῦνγε σὺ)?  O man (ὦ ἄνθρωπε)!  How can you argue (τίς εἶ ὁ ἀνταποκρινόμενος) with God (τῷ Θεῷ)?  What has been molded (τὸ πλάσμα) will not say (μὴ ἐρεῖ) to its molder (τῷ πλάσαντι).  Why have you made me like this (Τί με ἐποίησας οὕτως)?”  Only the Pauline letters used these words, πλάσμα, that means that which is molded, formed, or fashioned, and the word πλάσαντι, that means to form or mold.  Paul alluded to Isaiah, chapter 29:16, that they had things upside down because they were the creatures, not the creators.  They were the clay that thought that they are the potters who molded the clay.  They were made by the Creator God as in Genesis, chapter 2.  They were the formed ones, not the formers.  Why are they saying that the Creator God did not understand, since they were mere clay?  The clay does not complain to the molder of the clay, so why should we creatures complain to our creator?  Paul seemed to indicate that humans were like clay pottery.  Do you accept the fact that you are a creature and not a creator?

Who can resist the will of God? (Rom 9:19)

“You will say to me then.

‘Why does God still blame

Or find fault?

Who can resist God’s will?’”

Ἐρεῖς μοι οὖν Τί ἔτι μέμφεται; τῷ γὰρ βουλήματι αὐτοῦ τίς ἀνθέστηκεν;

Paul said that they would say to him (Ἐρεῖς μοι οὖν) or question him.  Then why does God still find fault or blame people (Τί ἔτι μέμφεται)?  Who can resist his will or what is the purpose in resisting him (τῷ γὰρ βουλήματι αὐτοῦ τίς ἀνθέστηκεν)?  Only the Pauline letters used this word μέμφεται, the means to blame, find fault, or censure.  Paul then wondered why they had not asked him about God’s behavior.  Why does God continue to find fault or blame people, since his will dominates anyway?  Paul then posed another question to himself.  Who could resist God’s will?  Why was there any purpose in resisting God, if he had his way in the end?  These were legitimate questions.  Where was human responsibility if God had complete control of everything?  Do you think that God has control of your life?

God chooses (Rom 9:18)

“Thus,

God has mercy

Upon whomever he wills.

He hardens

The heart

Of whomever he wills.”

ἄρα οὖν ὃν θέλει ἐλεεῖ, ὃν δὲ θέλει σκληρύνει.

Paul said that thus (ἄρα οὖν) God has mercy (ἐλεεῖ) upon whomever he wills (ὃν θέλει).  He hardens the heart (σκληρύνει) of whomever he wills (ὃν δὲ θέλει).  Paul indicated that God could do whatever he wanted to do.  He could give mercy or harden the hearts of everybody or anybody.  This was God’s choice, his will.  Some would get mercy, but others would get a hardened heart.  Would you like to have mercy?

Proclaim my name! (Rom 9:17)

“The scripture says

To Pharaoh.

‘I have raised you up

For the very purpose

Of showing

My power in you,

So that my name

May be proclaimed

In all the earth.’”

λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφὴ τῷ Φαραὼ ὅτι Εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο ἐξήγειρά σε, ὅπως ἐνδείξωμαι ἐν σοὶ τὴν δύναμίν μου, καὶ ὅπως διαγγελῇ τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐν πάσῃ τῇ γῇ.

Paul said that the scripture said (λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφὴ) to Pharaoh (τῷ Φαραὼ) that he had raised him up (ἐξήγειρά σε) for the very purpose (ὅτι Εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο) of showing God’s power in him (ὅπως ἐνδείξωμαι ἐν σοὶ τὴν δύναμίν μου), so that his name (τὸ ὄνομά μου) might be proclaimed (καὶ ὅπως διαγγελῇ) in all the earth (ἐν πάσῃ τῇ γῇ).  Only the Pauline letters used these words, ἐξήγειρά, that means to raise up or arouse, and the word, ἐνδείξωμαι, that means to indicate by word or act, to prove, or show forth.  This scripture quotation was based on Exodus, chapter 9:16. “But this is why I have let you live to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth.”  This is what Yahweh told Moses to say to Pharaoh, when he was talking about the seventh plague.  All the people of the earth would hear about the power of Yahweh, and what he had done to Pharaoh, who was the powerful ruler in Egypt.  Paul indicated that God showed his power via the powerful here on earth.  Do you know the role of Pharaoh in Israelite history?