“Even so then at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”

     “Even so then at this present time”
     Literally:  “So, then, also in the present time.”–In the time when Paul wrote.

            Though the mass of the nation was to be rejected, yet it did not follow that all were to be excluded from the favor of God.  As in the time of Elijah, when all appeared to be dark, and all the nation, except one, seemed to have become apostate, yet there was a considerable number of the true friends of God; so in the time of Paul, though the nation had rejected their Messiah,–though, as a consequence, they were to be rejected as a people; and though they were eminently wicked and corrupt,-yet it did not follow that all were cast off.
            As in the present day the irreligion of the Jews is very great; yet there is a remnant, a considerable number, who have accepted of the grace of the Gospel. “In this present time;” this period of Israel's rejection.

“a remnant according to the election of grace”
Literally: “According to election of grace.”–This is a Hebraism for, “a gracious election.”  -According to that gracious purpose of God, He that believes shall be saved.  Paul does not specify the number, but there can be no doubt that a multitude of Jews had been saved by becoming Christians, though compared with the nation–the multitude who rejected the Messiah–it was but a remnant.

             REMNANT:   (Grk.–leimma)—Literally:  “that which is left.”  This Greek word is used only here in the N.T. There is a spiritual remnant saved by the Gospel from apostate  Israel.

            This remnant (Jewish Christians) did not exist because of works they had done, but because they had accepted the unmerited favor of God.   Understand that grace and works are mutually exclusive of each other.  The thing that Israel needed to understand is that if any are to be saved at all, they are to be saved exactly as the Gentiles are saved, and that is by grace.  It is the case of  favor vs. merit, his precludes all thought of works.  If merit of any sort is taken into consideration, then it is no more grace.  Thus, the two principles: Salvation by Grace and Salvation by Works are in total opposition to each other.  Again I must stress that here can be ABSOLUTELY NO mixture of these two principles.
            Paul shows that neither all the ancient people of
God were cast away, nor that any whom He foreknew were rejected.  And though Paul had proven that a large part of the Jews were to be rejected, yet still there were some among the Jews who were truly devout and were thus entitled to the favor of God. Nor should they consider this state of things to be remarkable, for a parallel case was recorded in their own Scriptures. Understand this most important point: God rejects the nation, but GRACE goes out to the individual.

“And if by grace, then is it no more works:  otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.”

            “And if by grace”
            Literally: “But if by grace.”--If the fact that any are reserved it is by grace, or unmerited favor, then it cannot be as a reward of merit.

            Paul now begins to decry a favorite notion of the Jews, that they are justified by obedience to the Law. He reminds them, that in the time of  Elijah it was because God had reserved them and that this was the case even now; and therefore their Doctrine of Merit could not be true (see 4:4-5; Gal. 5:4; Eph. 2:8-9).

    “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
    “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness”

    “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4)
     “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that no of yourselves:  {it is} the gift of God;
    “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

            The  Salvation of the Gospel is ALL by grace;  that is, it is the gift which springs from the love of God.  And let this very remnant of godly Jews, who have believed in Christ Jesus, know that they are brought in, precisely in the same way as God has brought in the Gentiles; the one having no more worthiness to plead than the other; with both being brought in, and continued in by God’s free grace, and not by any observance of the Mosaic Law.

“then is it no more works”
Literally:  “No longer {is it} of works.”–Whether ceremonial or moral. If His choice of them were of grace, it was not on the ground of any merit in them; because, if it were, it would be of debt, and not of grace.

It is not to be earned by the works of the Jewish Law. Paul is very emphatic in his showing that the Jewish Christians were saved, not because they deserved it on account of keeping the Law blameless, but because they accepted the offered mercy of God.

“otherwise grace is no more grace”
Literally:  “else grace no longer becomes grace”–If men are justified by their works, it could not be a matter of favor, but was a matter of debt.                  

                        IS:  (Grk.–ginetai)–Literally  “becomes”–“No longer becomes…”

            If it could be that the Doctrine of Justification by Grace could be held, and yet at the same time that the Jewish Doctrine of Merit was true, then it would follow that grace had changed its nature, or was a different thing from what the word properly signified.  The idea of being saved by merit contradicts the very idea of grace.  If a man owes me a debt, and pays it, it cannot be said to be done by favor, or by grace. I have a claim on Him for it, and there is no favor in His paying His just dues.  “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9).

            Works here mean conformity to the Law; and to be saved by works would be to be saved by such conformity as the meritorious cause.  Of course there could be NO grace or favor in giving what was due; if there was favor, or grace, then works would lose their essential characteristic, and cease to be the meritorious cause of procuring the blessings. What is paid as a debt is NOT given as a favor.

                         OTHERWISE (Grk.–epei)–Meaning, (since), making it read as, "since,” or “in that case."

            GRACE: (Grk.–charis)–and WORKS:  (Grk.–ergon)—are mutually exclusive of each other, i.e., they are diametrically opposed to each other.  If the remnant was selected on the ground of grace, their legal works had not part whatever in the selection; or else grace would have lost its character as unmerited favor. 

“otherwise work is no more work.”
Literally:   “Else work is no longer work.”– And from this it follows that salvation cannot be partly by grace and partly by works.  It is not so much because men can advance any claims to the favor of God (that He owes them salvation); but from His mere unmerited grace.    


“What then?  Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”

Paul now begins to show God’s secret purpose in connection with Israel in the coming day.

“What then?”–What is the proper conclusion from this argument?

“What is the result?" Not only did Israel fail to obtain the salvation which it       sought, and which the select few succeeded in obtaining, but  it was consigned to  a state of complete spiritual apathy and torpor, and its very blessings became   a curse and a snare.”–Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

What is the real state of the case before us?  Israel, that is, the body of the Jewish people, have not obtained that which they so earnestly desire, i.e., to be continued, as they have been hitherto, as the peculiar people of God; but the election has obtained it: for as many of them as have believed in Jesus Christ, and accepted salvation through Him: this is the plan of the Election by Grace; God chooses to make those His peculiar people who believe in His Son, and none other shall enjoy the blessings of His kingdom.  Those who would not receive Him are blinded; they have shut their eyes against the light, and are in the very circumstances of those mentioned by the Prophet Isaiah, (Isa. 29:10).

“Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for”
Literally:  “What Israel seeks, this it did not obtain.”–It is that Israel has not obtained what it hoped and sought for, justification by the law, and is under condemnation. That is, the Jews as a people have not obtained that which they sought. They sought the favor of God by their own merit; and as it is impossible to obtain it in that manner, they have, as a people, failed of obtaining His favor at all, and will be rejected.

What Israel is in search of (that is, Justification, or acceptance with God, this he has not found, to wit, salvation by their own obedience to the Law–but the election (the elect remnant of Israel) found it, and the rest were hardened, “or judicially given over to the "hardness of their own hearts.”

            OBTAINED:  (Grk.–epetuchen)–The Greek root verb  (tugchanō)  originally means “to hit the mark;” hence it means, “to fall in with; light upon; attain.”      

          WHAT ISRAEL SEEKS:  (Grk.–epizêtei)–This Greek word is in the present tense, denoting that the seeking, or searching, is a  present, and ongoing search.

          “the election hath obtained it”
            Literally: “But the election, has obtained {it}.”

            THE ELECTION:  (Grk.–hê eklogê)—Meaning, “the elect,” and this term is applied to all believers. Here it is limited to that portion of the elect people, Israelis, which had accepted Christ, and hence were an elect remnant.

That “election” does not mean a decree that an individual shall be eternally saved is shown by II Peter 1:10: “Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”  If an individual was elected to eternal salvation before time began by a divine decree, no act of his could render his election surer. The scriptural election is one that requires diligence on our part, and effort to keep from falling. Paul told the Philippian believers to, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,”  that is, to work out (let others see it) the salvation you have within” (Philippians 2:12).

            “the rest were blinded”
            Literally: “And the rest were hardened.”--Israel had eyes but really did not see; or else they 
refused to see.

   THE REST: (Grk.–hoi loipoi)–Meaning the great mass of the people who remained in unbelief, and had rejected the Messiah.

            WERE BLINDED:  (Grk.–epōrōthêsan)–The word really means, “were hardened.” It comes from a word which means, prop to become hard," as bones do which are broken and are then united; or as the joints sometimes do when they become callous or stiff. This is a derivative of the Greek verb  (pōroō),  which literally means, “to make obtuse” (dull or dull-witted), and this verb is used five times in the N.T. and always in a figurative sense.

         It was probably applied also to the formation of a hard substance in the eye, such as a cataract; and then means the same as to be blinded. Hence, applied to the mind, it means “that which is hard, obdurate, insensible, stupid.”  The verb denotes callousness rather than blindness, and it is usually used in the N.T. to refer to the heart.   And such hardening is no new and strange thing, or to be taken as implying failure of God's promises to his people; for it is but what Scripture tells us of.
        The Greek verb (epōrōthêsan)–indicates failure of sensation; of which blindness is only a special instance.—The best commentary is chapter 9. The verb rendered “harden” there is not the same, but the idea is the same. Here, as there, Paul states this dark mystery of the Divine dealing with sinners with no attempt at clearing up. He does not try to conjure away the cloud around the throne, but commits the mystery to “the Judge of all the earth.”
         Thus it is applied to the Jews, and means that they were blind and obstinate. See Mark 6:52, “Their heart was hardened.” (8:17; John 12:40). This Greek word does not occur in any other place in the N.T.  This verse simply says that “the rest were hardened,” but it does not say anything about the mode by which it was done. In regard to “the election,” it is simply said that it was of God, (v. 4).  Of the remainder, the fact of their blindness is simply mentioned, without saying anything of the cause. (see v. 8).
         Did they fail to come to Christ because they had been blinded?  Oh, no!  They had been exposed to the Gospel as no other people have been exposed to it.  God said, “All day long have I stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (10:21).  He has been patient with them.  Now they are blinded because they would not accept the light.


(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eye that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear), unto this day.”

The parenthesis in the KJV really should not be there and should be removed because there is no indication in the original Greek text for it to be there.

“According as it is written”
Literally: “Even as it has been written.”–That is, they are blinded in accordance with what is written. The fact and the manner accord with the ancient declaration., and this is recorded in Isaiah 29:10, and in Deut. 29:4.

The principal place referred to here, however, is doubtless Isa 29:10, “For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers hath he covered.”  The quotation is not, however, literally made either from the Hebrew or the Septuagint (LXX); but the sense is preserved.

             ACCORDING AS:  (Grk.–kathos)—This is just one word in the original Greek text,     and it means, “upon the same principle,” or “in the same manner.” The deep sleep spoken of   by the prophet was sent because Israel abused its opportunities. They who love darkness will finally be left in darkness.

“God hath given them the spirit of slumber” 
Literally:   “God gave to them a spirit of stupor.”–This would have been better rendered if they had put it as “gave” instead of “hath given.”

          HATH GIVEN: (Grk.–edoken)—Literally:  “gave.” Expressions like this are common in the Scriptures, where is  represented as having an agency in producing the wickedness and stupidity of sinners (see 9:17-18).   This quotation is  not made literally.  The Hebrew in Isaiah reads, “God has poured upon them the spirit of slumber.” However, the sense, is retained.

           SPIRIT OF SLUMBER:  (Grk.–pneuma katanuxeōs)-Literally: “deep sleep.”   Better   rendered as, “spirit of stupor.” The spirit of slumber is not different from slumber itself.   The word “spirit” is often used this way.

            The Greek word, (katanuxeos)—implies any emotion, or any influence that shall benumb the faculties, and make them insensible. The word “slumber” here is a literal translation of the Hebrew.   Hence it here simply means insensibility. This Greek word is used only here in the N.T.

God has given them the spirit of slumber; or of stupidity and insensibility, so that they were as persons in a deep sleep; their senses locked up, without any knowledge of, or concern about, the danger they were in; having no sense of sin, or of the need of a Savior; or of their being upon the borders of eternal ruin and damnation, or of any ways and means to escape it; but careless and secure, as persons fast asleep in the midst of the sea, or upon the top of a mast, who, when stricken and beaten, feel it not; but if by jogging are awaked at all, immediately return to sleep again, and so sleep the sleep of eternal death.”–Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible         

As they had willfully closed their eyes against the light, so God has, in judgment, given them up to the spirit of slumber.  The very Word and revelation of God, which should have awakened their consciences, and opened their eyes and ears, have had a very different effect; and because they did not receive the truth in the love thereof, that which would otherwise have been the savor of life unto life, has become the savor of death unto death ; and this continues to the present day.

“eyes that they should not see, …”
Literally:  “Eyes not to see.”–This expression is not taken literally from any single place in the O.T. but expresses the general sense of several passages, Isa. 6:10; Deut. 29:4.

This denotes a state of mind not different from a spirit of slumber. When we sleep, our eyes are insensible to surrounding objects, and our ears to sounds. Though in themselves the organs may be perfect, yet the mind is as though they were not; and we have eyes which then do not see, and ears which do not hear. Thus it is with the Jews. Though they had all the proper faculties for understanding and receiving the Gospel, yet they rejected it. They were in a stupor, and therefore became insensible to its claims and its truths.

“ears that they should not hear”
Literally:  “ears not to hear”–See Stephen’s speech:  “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers {did}, and so do ye”  (Acts 7:51).

“unto this day.”
Literally: “Until the present day.”–Until the day that Paul wrote, but unfortunately continues even to this present time. The characteristic of the
Jews that existed in the time of Isaiah, existed also in the time of Paul. It was a trait of the people; and their insensibility to the demands of the Gospel developed nothing new in them.

“And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them.”

“And David saith,”
Literally: “And David said.”–This quotation is made from Psa. 69:22-23 and is almost given literally from the LXX.  The LXX  (Greek  translationof the O.T.) version differs somewhat from the Hebrew, though both are alike in substance.

Many sound Bible expositors question if it was actually David who was the author of this. Many are inclined to ascribe this to Jeremiah.  They think that David here may simply mean the Book of Psalms. This psalm is repeatedly quoted as having reference to the events recorded in the N.T.  This quotation is introduced immediately after one that undoubtedly refers to the Lord Jesus. (v. 21), “They gave Me also gall for My meat, and in My thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” The passage immediately follows as an oath, or curse of vengeance for their sins (Psa. 69:23).  This is such a Messianic psalm and must be meant of the rejecters of Christ.

“let their table be a snare”   |
Literally:  “Let their table become for a snare”– that is, Let their very blessings prove a curse to them, and their enjoyments only sting and take vengeance on them.

This prediction is applied to the enemies of Christ.  Its meaning is that their enmity shall react upon them and injure thems.  Even their table shall become a place of danger.  That is, that all their pleasant and delightful things should become the instruments of their destruction.

           SNARE:  (Grk.–pagide)—Literally:  “a trap.”  From the Greek verb, pêgnumi, which means, to make fast;” an old word for snares for birds and beasts.

A snare is that by which birds or wild beasts were taken. They are decoyed into it, or walk or fly carelessly into it, and it is sprung suddenly on them. So of the Jews. 

        “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares,”
         “For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth”
(Luke 21:34-35).

The ancient Targum says, “Let their table which they had prepared before me be for a snare, and their sacrifices be for an offence.”  The word “table” denotes food, or material prosperity.  They are feasting in wicked security.  Some expositors explain this as the Jews’ presumptuous confidence in the Law.

By their "table" may be meant, the altar; see (Malachi 1:7);  and the sacrifices offered up upon it, their meat offerings and drink offerings, and all others.  “Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say, ‘Where have we polluted Thee?”  In what ye say, the table of the LORD is contemptible” (Malachi 1:7)–Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible.

        The petition is, that while they were seeking refreshment and joy, and anticipating at their table no danger, it might be made the means of their ruin. The only way in which this could be done would be, that their temporal enjoyments would lead them away from God, and produce stupidity and indifference to their spiritual interests.
        This is often the result of the pleasures of the table, or of seeking sensual gratifications. Paul does not say whether this prayer was right or wrong. The use of this petition which Paul seems to make of it is this, that David's curse was to be regarded in the light of a prophecy;

1.      That what he prayed for would come to pass;
2.      That this had actually occurred in the time of the apostles:
3.      That their very enjoyments, the Jews national and private privileges, had been the means of alienating them from God, had been a snare to them, and was the cause of their blindness and infidelity.

 “and a trap”
Literally: “And for a trap.”–This properly means anything by which wild beasts are taken in hunting. The word
snare more refers to birds.

And from their present disposition it is reasonable to conclude that the same evils will fall upon them as fell upon the disobedient in former times, as predicted by David, Psa. 69:22-23, that their very blessings should become curses to them, and their temporal mercies be their only reward, and yet even these earthly blessings, by not being enjoyed in the Lord, should be a stumbling block over which they should fall, and, instead of being a blessing, should be the means of their punishment.  They would have a worldly Messiah, and therefore they rejected Him whose kingdom was not of this world.

“and a stumblingblock”
Literally: “And for a stumblingblock.”–Anything over which one stumbles or falls. Hence anything which occasions us to sin, or to ruin ourselves.

          STUMBLING BLOCK:  (Grk.–skandalon)—Originally this was the name of the part   of a trap to which the bait is attached; hence, the trap or snare itself.  In the N.T., skandalon is always used metaphorically, meaning anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way.  Their very rest shall be a stumbling block to them.

“and a recompense”
Literally:  “And for a repayment.”–The Hebrew word translated "that which should have been for their welfare," is capable of this meaning, and may denote their recompense, or that which is appropriately paid to them. Here it means that their ordinary comforts and enjoyments, instead of promoting their permanent welfare, may be the occasion of their guilt and ruin. This is often the effect of earthly comforts.

                        RECOMPENSE: (Grk.–antapodoma)–The Hebrew reads, “a requital of evil” or “just retribution.”