“But I say, ‘Have they not heard?  Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the earth.’”

         “But I say”--But to this objection I, Paul, reply:

The objection had been carried through the previous verses. Paul now comes to reply to it. In doing this, he does not deny the principle contained in it, that the Gospel should be preached in order that men might be justly condemned for not believing it; not that the messengers must be sent by God; nor that faith comes by hearing. All this he fully admits. But he does go on to show, by quoting from the O.T. that this had been actually furnished to the Jews and to the Gentiles, and that they were actually in possession of the message, and could not plead that they had never heard it. This is the substance of Paul’s answer. 

         “have they not heard?”
         Literally: “Did they not hear?”  or, “Did they fail to hear?” 

         As it is here, a question is often an emphatic way of affirming a statement. Paul means to strongly affirm that they had heard.  What was the fact in regard to Israel, or the Jew, he shows in the next verses. Haven’t the means of salvation been placed within the reach of every Jew in Palestine, and within the reach of all those who travel in the different Gentile countries where we have preached the Gospel, as well to the Jews as to the Gentiles themselves?
         The objector might say, “Well, if faith comes by hearing, so few have heard that we are not responsible for our unbelief.” NAY, says Paul, the opportunity to hear has been very widely extended. In the language of the Psalmist (Psa. 19:4).  Can the Jew, through any region of his dispersion, plead ignorance of these glad tidings?

         “yes verily,”–A single word in the original Greek text  (menouvge).   This is an intense expression, denoting strong affirmation.  

         “their sound went into all the earth”
         Literally: “Into all the earth their voice went out.”–Their voice (that of the preachers of the
Gospel) went out.

            SOUND:  (Grk.–phthongos)–Literally, the sound or tone such as is made by a stringed instrument.  Also a voice, or a report.  This word is used only here and in I Cor. 14:7.  Paul is using the Septuagint (LXX) translation of Psalm 19:4, where the Hebrew “line” or “plumb-line” is rendered as “sound.”

Here it means they have spoken, or declared truth; that is,  that the message of the Gospel had been spoken, or proclaimed, far and wide. The Hebrew is, “their line,” etc. The Septuagint (LXX) translation is the same as that of Paul’s–“their voice.”  But to return to the objection: You say they have not all BELIEVED; I ask: Have they not all HEARD? Have not the means of salvation been placed within the reach of every Jew in Palestine, and within the reach of all those who sojourn in the different Gentile countries where we have preached the Gospel, as well to the Jews as to the Gentiles themselves?

         “and their words unto the ends of the world.”
         Literally: “And to the ends of the habitable world their words.”

         The meaning of Paul’s is, that the message of the Gospel had sounded forth; and he referred doubtless to the labors of the apostles in proclaiming it to the heathen nations. This epistle was written about the year 57. During the time which had elapsed after the ascension of Christ, the Gospel had been preached extensively in all the known nations. Thus it had been proclaimed in Jerusalem, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, Rome, Arabia, and in the islands of the Mediterranean.  In Col. 1:23, Paul says that the Gospel had been preached to every creature which is under heaven (see Col. 1:6). Thus the great facts and doctrines of the Gospel had in fact been made known, and the objection of the Jew was met. It would be sufficiently met by the declaration of the psalmist, that the true God was made known by His works, and that therefore they were without excuse, (comp. 1:20).

“unto the ends of the world”
Literally:  “to the ends of the habitable world”–The works of God literally proclaim His wisdom to all lands and to all people. As applied to the Gospel, it means that it was spread far and wide, that it had been extensively preached in all lands.

            THE WORLD: (Grk.–tes oikoumenês)—The inhabited earth as in Luke 2:1.  When the vast multitude converted on Pentecost were scattered to their homes, they carried the Gospel into all parts of the civilized world. Paul was now writing to the church in Rome, where no         apostle had ever been; however, this church had got start by Jews and Gentile proselytes who were converted under Peter’s preaching on Pentecost (Acts 2:10-11).

“But I say, ‘Did not Israel know?  First Moses said, ‘I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.’”

         “But I say”–Still further to meet the objection, Paul shows that the doctrine which he was   maintaining was actually taught in the O.T.

“did not Israel know?”
Literally: “Did Israel fail to know?”– Didn’t the Jews understand or know from their own Scriptures, of God's intention to bring in the Gentiles?

         Wasn’t it recorded in their books, etc?,  They had full opportunity to be acquainted with this truth? This question is an emphatic way of affirming that they did know. But Paul doesn’t really say what it was that they knew. That is to be gathered from what he goes on to say.  From that it appears that he referred to the fact that the Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, and that the Jews were to be cast off. This doctrine followed from what he had already maintained in verses 12-13, that there was no difference in regard to the terms of salvation, and that the Jew had no particular privileges. If so, then the barrier was broken down; and if the Jews did not believe in Jesus Christ, they must be rejected.           

         “Why,” the Jew is supposed to object, if the Gospel has been extended so widely, is the greater portion of Israel in ignorance that the Gentiles were to be saved?  Paul replies that Israel should have known this fact.  Moses had foretold the call of another people to the favor of God (Deut. 32:21).

“First, Moses said,”
Literally:  “First, Moses says.”–First in order; or as we would say, “in the first place.”  As if Paul is to saying, “To begin with, Moses,” the first of all the sacred writers.

In reality it was not a new thought that God was speaking to Gentiles.  The Jews had been taught this idea for decades.  Even Moses himself had stated this thought some 14 centuries before Paul’s writing, for he wrote that God had said,  “I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.”  So these Jews really had no legal, or even logical argument to the fact of Paul preaching to the Gentiles.  Also, their prophet Isaiah had spoken of this, so these Jews really did not have a leg to stand on in their protest.  They had been taught this truth for centuries (even for over a millennia).

         “I will provoke you to jealousy”–These words are taken from Deut. 32:21.

         That O.T. passage is referring to the idolatrous and wicked conduct of the Jews   God is saying that they had provoked Him by worshipping that which was not God; that is, by idols; and He, in turn, would excite their envy and indignation by showing favors to those who were not regarded as a people; that is, to the Gentiles.
         Understand that to the Jews God had shown much favor, or affection, but because of their worship of that which was not God they had provoked Him to anger; and He also would show favor to those whom they regarded as no people, and this would excite their anger. Thus He would illustrate the great principle of His government in (II Sam. 22:26,27) “With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful;– with the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the forward Thou wilt show Thyself unsavory.”
         In this passage the great doctrine which Paul was defending is firmly established–that the Gentiles were to be brought into the favor of God; and the cause also is suggested to be the obstinacy and rebellion of the Jews.  Moses affirms a great principle which is applicable to those times –that if the Jews should be rebellious, and prove themselves unworthy of this favor of God’s, then that favor would be withdrawn, and conferred on other nations. The effect of this would be, of course, to excite their indignation. Paul is applying this principle to his own times; and affirms that it should have been understood by the Jews themselves.

“them that are no people,”
Literally: “By a not nation.”–That is, those whom you regard as unworthy the name of a people. That is, those who have no government, laws, or regular organization; who wander in tribes and clans, and who are under no settled form of society.

This was the case with most barbarians; and the Gentiles evidently regarded ALL nations in this light, that is, as being unworthy of the name of a people.  Today God is calling out a people from among Gentiles . This most evidently refers to the calling or inviting of the Gentiles to partake of the benefits of the Gospel; and plainly predicts the envy and rage which would be excited in the Jews, in consequence of those offers of mercy made to these Gentiles.

“a foolish nation”
Literally: “By an unwise nation.”–As used here, this means “one who is wicked, or idolatrous” or, one who denies God. (Psa. 14:1), “The fool hath said in his heart, {There is} no God.” (Prov. 1:7), “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Here it refers to a nation who had no understanding of the true God.

            FOOLIISH:  (Grk–pasunetos)–Meaning, “without understanding; dull; senseless; foolish.”  The word rendered as “fool” literally means “one void of understanding.”

         “I will anger you.”–My bestowing favors on them will provoke you to anger.

We may point out here,
1.      That
God is Sovereign, and He has a right to bestow His favors on whomever He pleases.

2.      That when men abuse His mercies, become proud, or cold, or dead in His service, God will often takes away their privileges, and bestows them on others.
3.      That
God warns His ancient people that because they had moved Him to jealousy with their “no-gods,” and provoked Him to anger with their vanities, He in requital would move them to jealousy by receiving into His favor a “no-people,” and provoke the Jews to anger by adopting a nation void of understanding.

Paul is really saying to these Jews, is, “You object to this preaching among the Gentiles; but isn’t this according to the Word of God?  He, foreseeing your unbelief and rebellion, (as stated by Moses in Deuteronomy 32:21),  ‘I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. As you have provoked Me to jealousy with worshipping those that are not gods, I will provoke you to jealousy by those which are no people.’”’  Paul is evidently referring to the calling or inviting of the Gentiles to partake of the benefits of the Gospel; and plainly predicts the envy and rage which would be excited in the Jews, as a result of those offers of mercy made to the Gentiles.

“But Esaias is very bold, and saith, ‘I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.”

“But Esaias is very bold and saith”|
Literally:  “But Isaiah {is} very bold and says”–That is, expresses the doctrine openly boldly, without any reserve.  The peculiar boldness of
Isaiah's utterance consists in this – that, at a time when Israel was recognized as God's one chosen people, he is said to make himself          known even to those who sought him not at all.

                 ESAIAS:  The Greek equivalent of Isaiah.

But Esaias is very bold, and saith,….Paul here produces another testimony in proof of this, that the Israelites must needs have some knowledge of this truth, the calling of the Gentiles; since a famous prophet of theirs, Isaiah, also spake out with great freedom; he did not mince the matter, or cover it with dark sayings, but with all plainness and perspicuity, and with great courage and intrepidity declared it; though he knew he run the risk, not only of his fame and credit among the Jews, but of his life also, for so doing: the citation is made from Isaiah 65:1.–Gill's Expositon of the Entire Bible 

        BUT:  (Grk.–de)-Literally:  “besides.”–Isaiah speaks openly and plainly. Speaks out in the fullest manner and plainest language, Isa 65:1-2, notwithstanding the danger to which such a declaration exposed him, among a crooked, perverse, and dangerous people:.

          BOLD:  (Grk.–apotolmai)—This Greek word translated as “very bold,”  literally means, “to dare, to be venturesome, to be bold.” This word is used only here in the N.T.  Paul is using it here to mean that however unpopular the doctrine might be, or however dangerous it  was to avow that the Jews were extremely wicked, and that for their wickedness God would cast them off, yet that Isaiah had long since done it.

This simple Greek verb primarily means, “to dare,” and implies the manifestation, or display, of this boldness or confidence of character.  A similar Greek word that means about the same thing that Paul could have used is (Grk.–tharreō), which means, “be full of courage; act boldly; be confident.”

“I was made manifest”
Literally: “I was found.”–This phrase, in the past tense here, is in the present tense in the Hebrew, intimating that the time would come when God would say this of Himself; that is, that the time would come when the Gentiles would be brought to the knowledge of the true God. This doctrine was one which Isaiah had constantly in his eye, and which he did not fear to bring openly before the Jews.

This was the point which Paul was establishing; and against this the objection was urged, and all the Jewish prejudices excited. This is the reason why Paul insists on it so much, and he is so anxious to defend every part by the writings of acknowledged authority among the Jews; that is, the O.T.  The quotation is made from the Septuagint (LXX), with only a slight change in the order of the phrases. The meaning is, that God was found, or the true knowledge of Him was obtained, by those who had not sought after Him; that is, by the Gentiles, who had worshipped idols, and who had not sought for the true God.

         “of them that sought Me not”
        Literally:  “To those not  inquiring after Me.”  Until I sought them.  Those who had not sought Him before; that is, the

God revealed Himself to them in the Gospel, and they believed on Him.  Sovereign grace sometimes saves the most unlikely, while those who sit under the Gospel harden their hearts and perish.  Beware of resting in outward privileges: you must possess real faith in Jesus. Simply speaking, God is here saying, “I put My salvation in the way of those (the Gentiles) who were not seeking for it, and knew nothing of it; thus, the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness have attained to the law of righteousness, (see 9:30), and they have found that redemption which the Jews have rejected.”

“But to Israel He saith, ‘All day long have I stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”

“But to Israel He saith”
Literally: “But He says to Israel.”– The preceding quotation established the doctrine that the
Gentiles were to be called. But there was still an important part of Paul’s argument remaining–that the Jews were to be rejected.

This Paul proceeds to establish; and here, in the language of Isaiah, (Isa 65:2) he says that while the Gentiles wound be obedient, the character of the Jews was, that they were a disobedient and rebellious people.

BUT: (Grk.–de)–rather, “with regard to.”     

“all day long”
Literally:   “All the day.”–That is, continually, without intermission; implying that their acts of rebellion were not momentary; but that this was the established character of the people.

“I have stretched forth My hands”
Literally: “I stretched out My hands.”–This denotes an attitude of entreaty; a willingness and earnest desire to receive them to favor; to invite or entreat.

 “unto a disobedient and gainsaying people”
 “To a disobeying and gainsaying people.”–
To a people who continued to oppose His messengers and reject their message.

        This presents the figure of a Parent, with hands extended, appealing to a wayward child. That child was the Jewish nation. It was cast off because it refused to listen to appeals (see Matt, 23:37). Paul is far from ascribing the rejection of Israel to a divine decree, but he assigns the cause to Israel itself. Just so Jesus says in the passage (Matt. 23:37) just referred to, “How often would I have gathered, etc., . . . but ye would not.The divine wish was that Israel should be saved, but Israel stubbornly refused.       
         As they continued to reject Him, He would reject them, and gather to Himself a people from the Gentiles. This had been foretold in the O.T. and they should have known it. This show that no outward connection with any visible church, and no external privileges can secure for men the favor of God. He will treat them as they treat His Son. If they receive and obey Him as their Savior, He will be made of God unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. If they do not, He will cast them off (John 14:15, 21; I Cor. 1:30; 16:22).

            DISOBEDIENT…GAINSAYING: (Grk.–apeithounta…antilegonta)–Disobedience is the display of the twisting or arguments of  gainsaying.  Paul here makes a just and proper distinction between the righteousness or justification that is of the Law, and that which is by faith in Christ. And that:
1.      The Law makes no provision for the pardon of sin.
2.      The Law affords no helps for the performance of duty.
3.      It makes no allowances for imperfections in duty, or for imperfections is our nature.
4.      The commandments of the Law suppose a righteous soul, and a vigorous body; and it does not lower its claims to the fallen state of man.
5.      The Law requires perfect obedience, not only in all things, but in all places and circumstances. The man who comes up to this standard, has ever been in it, and has never swerved from it, shall, by the law, live for ver. But no man, since the fall, ever did so or ever can do this.  Therefore, salvation by the works of the Law is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE!  But,
         a.      The righteousness or justification, which is by faith, receives Christ as an atoning sacrifice,
                  By which all past sin is pardoned.
         b.     Receives continual supplies of grace from Christ by the eternal Spirit, through which the man is enabled to love God,
                 with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself.
        c.      This grace is afforded in sufficient degrees suited to all places, times, and circumstances,.
                 So that no trial can happen too great to be borne, as the grace of
Christ is ever at hand to support and to save to the uttermost.

                 The Law is the letter that  kills ; the Gospel is the spirit that gives life.

To put it simply, the middle wall of partition between the Jew and Gentile coming to God had been broken down.  See picture of the Temple below: