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©Michael Player

Chapter 11:7-16 (ESV)

Posted on January 09, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 11:7-16 (ESV) - What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that would not see
    and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”

And David says,

“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and bend their backs forever.”

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Question to consider: What did Israel fail to obtain which was obtained by the elect?

If the early church merely declared themselves to be another sect of Judaism like the Pharisees, Sadducees or Zealots, the other sects may have continued to argue with them, but they would not have felt justified in killing them. It was difficult to swallow this idea that Jesus could have been the Christ considering He was crucified. Of course, then the disciples started performing miracles in the name of Jesus, declaring He had risen from the dead and was ruling from on high as the Son of the living God. The ruling authorities tried to get them to stop telling people the authorities had killed the Messiah and to stop doing miracles in His name.

However, news spread quickly, and people were being added to their number daily from among the Jews. As the church began to grow both in numbers and spiritually, they quickly realized that since Jesus had fulfilled the entirety of the Law, there was no more need for temple sacrifices, circumcision, and dietary restrictions. Add to this the idea that people professed that the only way to be saved was through Jesus, and they lost favor with the culture.

When the scribes and Pharisees were confronted by Stephen about their hardness of heart, they’d had enough, stoned him to death and started actively persecuting the church. The Hellenistic Christians saw this as a sign that the tribulation was beginning, and so they went back to their homes throughout the Roman empire and began preaching the gospel in their synagogues.

The people in the towns witnessed the miracles and were taken in by their teachings which made the synagogue leaders jealous enough, but when the Gentiles started showing up to be saved, it sparked an uproar which Paul addressed in this passage.

Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking— righteousness by the Law. They became hardened to the gospel because it meant they would receive the same inheritance as the Gentiles even though the Gentiles never lived under the Law. Paul wrote that this hardening to the gospel was nothing new, for Israel had been this way to the prophets who called them to repentance, and even king David who prophesied they would be against his greater son.

Even though Paul wrote that their stumbling was seen long ago, he rejoiced in that it provided a path of salvation for the Gentiles. He saw himself as an apostle to the Gentiles, for he knew that in bringing them to faith, it would serve to make his fellow Jews jealous and perhaps save some of them.


Dear heavenly Father, we pray that our faith would overflow to our Jewish neighbors in such a way that they will desire to receive the righteousness that only comes through faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.