Romans 11:8 MEANING

Romans 11:8
(8) The spirit of slumber.--This phrase, again, has a curious history. Etymologically, the word translated "slumber" would seem to agree better with the marginal rendering, "remorse." It comes from a root meaning to "prick or cut with a sharp instrument." There happens to be another root somewhat similar, but certainly not connected, which means "drowsiness," "slumber." Hence, where the word in the text has been used to render the Hebrew word for "slumber," it has been thought that there was a confusion between the two. It appears, however, from the LXX. usage, that the sense of "slumber" had certainly come to attach to the word here used by St. Paul. From the notion of a sharp wound or blow came to be derived that of the bewilderment or stupefaction consequent upon such a blow, and hence it came to signify stupor in general.

The quotation is a free combination of two passages of the LXX. (Isaiah 29:10, and Deuteronomy 29:4), no doubt put together by the Apostle from memory.

Verses 8-10. - According as it is written, God gave them a spirit of slumber (rather, stupor. The word is κατανύξις, cited from Isaiah 29:10 in the LXX. Cf. Psalm 60:3, where the LXX. has οῖνον κατανύξεως. It is from the verb which means κατανύσσειν, properly "to prick" (see Acts 2:37, κατενύγησαν τῇ καρδίᾳ). The noun seems to have got its sense as above from the idea of a pricking shock, causing stupefaction), eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompense unto them. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. The references in ver. 8 are a combination of Deuteronomy 29:3 and Isaiah 29:10, quoted freely from the LXX.; that in ver. 9 is to Psalm 69:23, 24, also quoted freely. (For similar combination and free quotation of texts, so as to bring out Old Testament ideas, cf. Romans 3:10-19; Romans 9:32, 33.) It is not necessary that the passages here referred to should be regarded as directly prophetic of the time of Christ. It is enough for the purpose of the argument that God's people should be shown to be liable to the state of stupefaction described, without ceasing to be his people. And so the thought, which has been in view all along, is now taken up, of the present hardening of Israel as a nation not being intended to be permanent.

11:1-10 There was a chosen remnant of believing Jews, who had righteousness and life by faith in Jesus Christ. These were kept according to the election of grace. If then this election was of grace, it could not be of works, either performed or foreseen. Every truly good disposition in a fallen creature must be the effect, therefore it cannot be the cause, of the grace of God bestowed on him. Salvation from the first to the last must be either of grace or of debt. These things are so directly contrary to each other that they cannot be blended together. God glorifies his grace by changing the hearts and tempers of the rebellious. How then should they wonder and praise him! The Jewish nation were as in a deep sleep, without knowledge of their danger, or concern about it; having no sense of their need of the Saviour, or of their being upon the borders of eternal ruin. David, having by the Spirit foretold the sufferings of Christ from his own people, the Jews, foretells the dreadful judgments of God upon them for it, Ps 69. This teaches us how to understand other prayers of David against his enemies; they are prophecies of the judgments of God, not expressions of his own anger. Divine curses will work long; and we have our eyes darkened, if we are bowed down in worldly-mindedness.According as it is written,.... In Isaiah 29:10 which passages the apostle seems to refer to, though it is not exactly word for word as here, yet the sense is the same:

God hath 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 Saviour; 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:

eyes that they should not see; which being closed by the deep sleep and stupidity of mind they were judicially given up to, could see no beauty in Christ, wherefore they should desire him; none of the glories and excellencies of his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; noticing amiable and agreeable in his Gospel, and the truths of it; nor had they any light in the prophets of the Old Testament, which were so remarkably fulfilled in him; their minds were blinded, a vail was upon their hearts, and which remains to this day:

and ears that they should not hear; for persons in a sleep, as their eyes are closed that they cannot see, so their ears are stopped that they cannot hear: and thus it was with these Jews, the awful judgment being upon them; they were uncircumcised in heart and ears; they were like the deaf adder, stopping their ears to the charming voice of Christ in the Gospel; and being given up in a judicial way, could neither understand his speech, nor hear his word: and this spirit of stupidity and insensibility, as it appeared in the times of Isaiah, so it continued

unto this day; the then present time, in which the apostle lived; and has continued ever since, at least in part, and will until the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in. These passages, with some others following, are produced by the apostle out of their own prophets, to take off their resentment against him; and lest, he should be thought to be severe upon them, when he said no more of them, but what had been prophesied long before concerning them. So Jarchi on Isaiah 29:10; says, that Isaiah prophesies , "concerning the transgressors of Israel".

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