Skip to content

Romans 11:7-10

The Elect and the Blind

7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

What then? What does all this stuff about election mean for Israel? Paul does not beat around the bush; he blatantly states that Israel has not obtained what it was seeking. Israel was trying to earn God's favor by their own obedience to the law. Paul had already demonstrated that this was impossible. No man could ever be good enough to impress God. All have sinned and fallen short of His glory.

"But the election hath obtained it." That which men could never do was accomplished by the sovereign workings of God's grace. He chose to be merciful toward a remnant who would be saved by His grace through faith.

"...and the rest were blinded." The Greek word ἐπωρώθησαν (eporothesan) literally means that they were hardened and, by extension, that they were rendered stupid or callous, blinded to the truth. Paul does not say how they were hardened or blinded, but we can assume that this was the result of their sin. Then, God further hardened their hearts because of their sin, just as He had done to the Pharaoh when He brought Israel out of Egypt.

This thinking is in line with what the Old Testament says, and Paul does not hesitate to draw his support from it. Verse 8 loosely quotes such passages as Isaiah 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, the seers hath he covered." (Also see Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 6:9-10;)

Then, Paul also used Psalms 69:22-23, obviously quoting David from memory, because the quote is very loose. It follows a passage in the Psalm that is clearly Messianic, but these verses place a curse on those who have shown no pity for the suffering Messiah. The table represents their food and perhaps all their worldly pleasures. It represents at least the basic sustenance and needs. The very pleasures they sought would serve as their trap or stumblingblock to keep them from God. This is their "recompense," their repayment for their wickedness.

"Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see..." Imagine what the Jews must have thought when it was pointed out to them by Paul, a Pharisee no less, that this curse was placed on them. The very scriptures, which they purported to live by, placed a curse upon them for their unbelief and lack of love for the Anointed One who was sent from God to save them.

"...and bow down their back alway." Albert Barnes explained this in his Notes on the Bible. " The Hebrew Psa 69:23 is, 'Let their loins totter or shake,' that is, as one does when he has on him a heavy burden. The apostle has retained this sense. It means, let them be called to bear heavy and oppressive burdens; let them be subjected to toil or servitude, as a reward for their sins. That this had come upon the Jews in the time of Paul is clear; and it is further clear that it came upon them, as it was implied in the psalm, in consequence of their treatment of the Messiah."

Before The Throne:

If you are reading this, I would think that you are probably one of God's elect. Think about how fortunate you are and give Him thanks. God's grace is such a wonderful and precious thing that it demands a grateful response. Pray about how you should respond today. Pray for those around you who are walking through life with darkened eyes. Only God can open them.

For Further Study:

(v.7) ** What then? Rom 3:9; Rom 6:15; 1Cor 10:19; Phil 1:18; ** Israel. Rom 9:31-32; Rom 10:3; Prov 1:28; Luke 13:24; Heb 12:17; ** but the election. Rom 8:28-30; Rom 9:23; Eph 1:4; 2Thess 2:13-14; 1Pet 1:2; ** and the rest. Isa 6:10; Isa 44:18; Matt 13:14-15; John 12:40; 2Cor 3:14; 2Cor 4:4; 2Thess 2:10-12; ** blinded. 9:18;

(v.8 ) ** God. Isa 29:10; ** eyes. Deut 29:4; Isa 6:9; Jer 5:21; Ezek 12:2; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 8:10; Acts 28:26; ** unto this day. 2Kgs 17:34, 17:41; 2Cor 3:14-15;

(v.9) ** David saith. Ps 69:22-23; ** their table. Deut 6:10-12; Deut 32:13-15; 1Sam 25:36-38; Job 20:20-23; Prov 1:32; Isa 8:13-14; Luke 12:20; Luke 16:19-25; 1Tim 6:17-19; ** a recompence. Deut 32:35; Ps 28:4; Isa 59:18; Isa 66:9; Heb 2:2;

(v.10) ** their eyes. Rom 1:21; Ps 69:23; Zech 11:17; Eph 4:18; 2Pet 2:4, 17; Jude 1:6, 13; ** and bow. Deut 28:64-68; Isa 51:23; Isa 65:12;


No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.

Form options

Submitted comments will be subject to moderation before being displayed.