Gentiles and righteousness (Rom 9:30)

“What are we to say?


Who did not pursue


Have attained righteousness,

That is,


Through faith.”

Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν; ὅτι ἔθνη τὰ μὴ διώκοντα δικαιοσύνην κατέλαβεν δικαιοσύνην, δικαιοσύνην δὲ τὴν ἐκ πίστεως·

Paul came back with another question, “What are we to say (Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν)?”  Did the gentiles (ὅτι ἔθνη), who did not pursue (τὰ μὴ διώκοντα) righteousness (δικαιοσύνην) attain righteousness (κατέλαβεν δικαιοσύνην), that is, righteousness (δικαιοσύνην) through faith (δὲ τὴν ἐκ πίστεως).  Paul now posed the question did the non-Jewish people who were not seeking righteousness actually attain it via faith?  How could the gentiles have righteousness, when they were not seeking it, yet the Israelites who were seeking it could not attain it?  Paul obviously answered his own question with this play on word of righteousness.  Can you be righteous without trying to be righteous?