“Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.”

“Esaias also crieth”\
Literally: “But Isaiah cries.”— Shortened quotation from Isa.10:22 Septuagint (LXX). Paul now turns to another O.T. prophet (Isaiah), and quotes him from two passages.

Paul is pursuing his argument, which had for its object the proof that because of their infidelity, God had rejected the great body of the Jews, and that but a few of them would embrace the Gospel, and be saved from the destruction which was now coming to them.

         CRIETH: (Grk.–krazei)-Exclaims, testifies, or speaks aloud or openly (comp. John 1:15); an impassioned utterance.Isaiah brings forththe doctrine fully, and without any concealment or disguise.

This doctrine that is related to the rejection of the Jews; and is a far more difficult point to establish than was that of the calling of the Gentiles.  Therefore. itt was needful, to fortify it by presenting some explicit passage of the Scriptures.

“concerning Israel”
Literally: “On behalf of Israel”– Concerning the Jews. 

           CONCERNING:  (Grk.–huper)–Literally:  “over”, as proclaiming a  judgment which hangs over Israel.

Isaiah probably had reference to the Jews of his own time; to that wicked generation that God was about to punish, by sending them captive into other lands. The case was one, however, which settled a general principle of the Jewish government; and therefore it was applicable to the case before Paul. If the thing for which he was contending–that the Jews might be rejected—existed in the time of Isaiah, and was settled then as a precedent, it might exist also in his time and under the gospel–“For I am the LORD, I change not….” (Malachi 3:6)

“though the numbers be as the sand of the sea”
Literally: “If the number of the sons of Israel as the sand of the sea.”–This expression often occurs in the Bible and is used to denote an indefinite or an innumerable multitude.

            Isaiah is really quoting the promise that God gave to Abraham back in (Gen. 22:1, “I will multiply thy seed–as the sand which is upon the sea-shore;” (see also Gen.. 32:12). In the infancy of society, before the art of numbering was carried to a great extent, men were obliged to express themselves very much in this manner.  Isaiah doubtless had reference to this promise: “Though all that was promised to Abraham shall be fulfilled, and his seed shall be as numerous as God declared, yet a remnant only,” etc.
            Paul shows that his doctrine does not conflict at all with the utmost expectation of the Jews drawn from the promises of
God . We see a similar use of the term in Judges 7:12; I Sam. 13:5; II Sam. 17:11, etc. In the same manner great numbers were denoted by the stars of heaven, Gen. 22:17; 15:5.

“a remnant shall be saved”
Literally: “The remnant will be saved.”–This implies that great multitudes of them would be cast off, and not be saved. If only a remnant was to be saved, the contra wise, many must be  lost.  This was just the very point which Paul was endeavoring to establish.

         REMNANT: (Grk.–kataieimma)–This Greek word means that which is left, particularly what may remain after a battle or a great calamity, (II Kings 19:31; 10:11; Judges 5:13 Isa. 14:22).

            However, in this place it means a small part or portion. This signifies where the contrast is drawn between the number of Israel as a whole, and the small number in it of those who are saved through the Gospel.  This prophecy was spoken originally of the few that were saved from the ravages of the Assyrian army against the Northern Kingdom, Israel (Isa. 10:22-23). 
            Out of the great multitude there shall be so few left as to make it proper to say that it was a mere remnant.  This implies, of course, that the great mass should be cast away or rejected.  And this was the use which Paul intended to make of it. That is, the majority will have been slain in the Great Tribulation.  

          SHALL BE SAVED: (sōthēsetai)–Shall be preserved, or kept from destruction. We     see this same promise given to the Church at Philadelphia (Rev. 3:10)–“Because thou hast kept the Word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall  come upon all the world…”

As Isaiah was referring to the captivity of Babylon, this means that only a remnant should return to their native land. The great mass should be rejected and cast off. This was the case with the ten tribes, and also with many others who chose to remain in the land of their captivity. The use which the apostle makes of it is this: In the history of the Jews, by the testimony of Isaiah, a large part of the Jews of that time were rejected, and cast off from being the peculiar people of God. It is clear, therefore, that God has brought Himself under no obligation to save all the descendants of Abraham.

“For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.”

“For He will finish the work”
“For {He is} finishing {the} matter.– Referring to  the work of righteously destroying those who will not have him reign over them.  This is taken from the Septuagint (LXX) translation of Isa 10:23.

Keep in mind that LXX (Septuagint), the Greek translation of the O.T., was the Bible that was in use in the time of Christ and the apostles. The Hebrew reads as: “The LORD God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land." Destruction is decreed which shall make justice overflow; in fact, destruction is verily determined; the Lord Jehovah will execute it in the midst of all the land. The Septuagint and Paul adhere to the sense of the passage, but do not follow the exact wording. The phrase, “will finish the work,” means, He will bring the matter to an end, or will accomplish it.  It is an expression applicable to a firm purpose to accomplish an object. Here it refers to His threat of cutting off the people; and means that He will fulfill it this threat..

            “and cut it short in righteousness”
            Literally:  “And cutting it short in righteousness.”–In rigorous justice, will leave but a small remnant.

There will be so general a destruction, that but a small number will escape. These appear to be forensic terms, and refer to the conclusion of a judicial proceeding; the Lord has tried and found them guilty, and will immediately execute upon them the punishment due to their transgressions.

       CUT IT SHORT:  (Grk.–suntemno)–This Greek word literally means, “to cut in pieces.” And the word is here used, metaphorically.  Here it means to execute it speedily. The destruction shall not be delayed. A work done with promptness and speed. Paul is here quoting, as he often did, from the Greek version of the O.T., the Septuagint (LXX).

          IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: (Grk.–en dikaiosunei)—So as to manifest His own justice. The work, though apparently severe, yet shall be a just expression of God's abhorrence of the sins of the people.

            “because a short work”
            Literally:  “Having been cut short.” 

“upon the earth”
Literally:  “On the earth.”–Upon the land of
Israel. The reason for which Paul introduces this passage is to show that
God of old destroyed many of the Jews for their sin; and that, therefore, th doctrine of Paul’s was no new thing, that the Jews might be excluded from the peculiar privileges of the children of God

“And as Esaias said before, ‘Except the LORD
of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made unto Gomorrah.’”

“And as Esaias said before”
Literally:  “And as Isaiah has said before.”–in an earlier part of his book.  Namely in Isa. 1:9, concerning those who were besieged in Jerusalem by Rezin and Pekah. 

          SAID BEFORE:  (Grk.–proeirēlen)– Stands on record in Isa 1:9.  Paul had just cited one prediction from the tenth chapter of Isaiah. He now says that Isaiah had affirmed the same thing in a previous part of his prophecy.

Paul had just cited one prediction from the tenth chapter of Isaiah. He now says that Isaiah had affirmed the same thing in a previous part of his prophecy.

“Except the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed”
Literally:  “Except the Lord of Hosts left a seed to us.”  The LORD is the English translation of JEHOVAH and SABAOTH is the Hebrew word rendered as “hosts.”  It properly denotes armies or military hosts organized for war. Hence it denotes the hosts of heaven, and means:

1.      The angels, who are represented as marshaled or arranged into military  orders, (Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:15; Jude 1:6 I Kings 22:19), “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him” (Psa. 103:21; 148:2).
2.      The stars, (Jer. 33:22), “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered,” etc.; (Isa. 40:26; Deut. 4:19), etc., God is called the   LORD of Hosts.   It is a phrase properly expressive of His majesty and power, and is appropriately introduced here, as the act of saving “the seed” was a signal act of power in the midst of great surrounding wickedness.

God designs to put up with the Jews at present, because of their obstinacy and rebellion, is similar to what He has done before, to which the same prophet refers, (Isa. 1:9): “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah:” i.e., had not God.  Who commands and overrules all the powers in heaven and earth, in mercy preserved a very small remnant, to keep up the name and being of the nation, it had been quite cut off and extinct, as Sodom and Gomorrah were.  Thus we learn that it is no new thing with God to abandon the greatest part of the Jewish nation, when corrupt, and to confine His favor and blessing to a righteous, believing few.

          HAD LEFT: (Grk.-enkaleipen)-Had preserved, or kept from destruction. Here their     preservation is ascribed to God, and it is affirmed that if God had not intervened, the whole nation would have been cut off. This fully establishes the doctrine of Paul’s, that God might completely cast off the Jews, and extend the blessings to the Gentiles.

         A SEED: (Grk.–sperma)–The “word “seed” in the O.T. Scriptures commonly means, “descendants, posterity.The Hebrew in Isaiah means one surviving or escaping, which   corresponds with the word remnant.

In this place it means “a part, a small portion; a remnant, like the small portion of the harvest which is reserved for sowing.  Both the Septuagint (LXX) and the writings of Paul have the word “sperma”–“a seed,” intimating that there were left just enough of the righteous to be a seed for a future harvest of true believers.  So the godly were not destroyed from the land; some remained, and the harvest was in the days of the apostles.

“we had been as Sodoma”
Literally:   “We would have become as Sodom.”–The nation was so wicked, that unless 
God had preserved a small number who were pious from the general corruption of the people, they would have been swept off by judgment, like Sodom and Gomorrah. 

            We are told that ten righteous men would have saved Sodom (Gen. 18:32).  Among the Israelites, in a time of great general depravity, a small number of holy men were found who preserved the nation. The design of Paul’s here was the same as in the previous verses–to show that it was settled in the Jewish history that God might cast off the people, and reject them from enjoying the peculiar privileges of His friends. It is true that in Isaiah he has reference to the temporal punishment of the Jews. But it point out a great principle, for which Paul was contending, that God might cast off the nation consistently with His promises and His plans
             So that it is no unexampled thing for the main body of the Jewish nation to revolt from God, and perish in their sin.  Even the elect nation of
Israel would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah in depravity and rebellion to God if He had not intervened in sovereign mercy and recovered a remnant. It is only God's mercy that keeps any of us from going to hell.

“What shall we say then?  That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.”

“What shall we say then?”|
“what then shall we say?”–
What conclusion shall we draw from the previous train of thought?  What is to be concluded from  all that has been said but this?  The result is this–very different from what  one would have expected. To what results have we come by the passages adduced from the O.T.? 

            “that the Gentiles who followed not after righteousness”
            Literally:  That the nations not following after righteousness.” Did not know
God and did not seek His favor.

That the Gentiles had no knowledge of it, had secured righteousness by accepting Christ, through faith in Him, while (v. 31). That many of the Gentiless; or that the way was open for them, and many of them had actually embraced the righteousness of faith. This epistle was written as late as the year 57, and at that time multitudes of Gentiles had embraced the Christian faith.  Gentiles, without willing or working, found righteousness in Christ because God worked and God willed it.

“have attained to righteousness”|
“Had taken on righteousness.”  Have become
justified.  Paul establishes the doctrine, indeed, that What is to be concluded from all that has been said but this, God is sovereign.

But still it is implied that the gospel had not the peculiar obstacle to contend with among the Gentiles that it had among the Jews. There was less pride, obstinacy, self-confidence; and men were more easily brought to see that they were sinners, and to feel their need of a Savior. Though God dispenses His favors as a Sovereign, and though all are opposed by nature to the gospel, yet it is always true that the gospel finds more obstacles among some men than among others. This was a most cutting and humbling doctrine to the pride of a Jew; and it is no wonder, therefore, that Paul guarded it as he did.

             ATTAINED: (Grk.–katelamben)–Meaning, “to grasp, to seize, to overtake.”  Acceptance with God , by believing in the Messiah who has been offered to them. Some Gentiles, those who believed, were righteous, was attested by their living.  They had abandoned idolatry, worshiped God and claimed no merit for themselves (Phil. 3:3).

          RIGHTEOUSNESS:  (Grk.–dikaiosunē)–The word “righteousness” here means the same as justification.  This was a matter of fact; and this was what the prophet had predicted.

“even the righteousness which is of faith”
Literally: “But a righteousness of faith.”  That is simply, Justification by Faith in Christ.  As we have seen that “the righteousness of faith” is the righteousness which justifies


        EVEN:  (Grk.–de)–Or ‘and that..”  A Hebraic expression that joins something distinct   and different from what precedes; though not sharply opposed to it.  Attained righteousnes that is NOT that arising from these works, but from FAITH.

This verse must mean that “the Gentiles, who while strangers to Christ were quite indifferent about acceptance with God, having embraced the Gospel as soon as it was preached to them, experienced the blessedness of a justified state.” Which as Paul has repeatedly shown, the only way to get the God-kind of righteousness.  Paul is drawing a contrast between two ways of felling towards  God 

1.      There was the Jewish way: They regarded a right relationship with God as something which could be earned.  In other words, they sought to put God in their debt.  They spent their lives searching for a law, obedience to which would put them right with God The Jews believed they could win salvation by doing things for God.
2.      There was the
Gentile way.  They viewed themselves in debt with
God They had never engaged upon this search; but, when they suddenly were confronted with this love of God in Jesus Christ, they simply threw themselves upon that love in total trust.    They saw the cross and said, “If God love me like that, I can trust Him with my life and soul.”  The Gentiles were amazed at what God had done for them. 

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands’
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

–From the hymn, “Rock of Ages”