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Romans 9:11

    Romans 9:11 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls;)

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Before the children had come into existence, or had done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose and his selection might be effected, not by works, but by him whose purpose it is,

    Webster's Revision

    for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,

    World English Bible

    For being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him who calls,

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,

    Clarke's Commentary on Romans 9:11

    For the children being not yet born - As the word children is not in the text, the word nations would be more proper; for it is of nations that the apostle speaks, as the following verses show, as well as the history to which he refers.

    Neither having done any good - To merit the distinction of being made the peculiar people of God; nor evil, to deserve to be left out of this covenant, and the distinguishing national blessings which it conferred; that the purpose of God according to election might stand - that such distinctions might appear to depend on nothing but God's free choice, not of works, or any desert in the people or nations thus chosen; but of the mere purpose of him who calleth any people he pleases, to make them the depositories of his especial blessings, and thus to distinguish them from all others.

    Barnes' Notes on Romans 9:11

    For the children being not yet born - It was not, therefore, by any works of theirs. It was not because they had formed a character and manifested qualities which made this distinction proper. It was laid back of any such character, and therefore had its foundation in the purpose or plan of God.

    Neither having done any good or evil - That is, when the declaration Romans 9:12 was made to Rebecca. This is a very important passage in regard to the question about the purposes of God.

    (1) they had done nothing good or bad; and when that is the case, there can be, properly speaking, no moral character, for "a character is not formed when the person has not acquired stable and distinctive qualities." Webster.

    (2) that the period of moral agency had not yet commenced; compare Genesis 25:22-23. When that agency commences, we do not know; but here is a case of which it is alarmed that it had not commenced.

    (3) the purpose of God is antecedent to the formation of character, or the performance of any actions, good or bad.

    (4) it is not a purpose formed because he sees anything in the individuals as a ground for his choice, but for some reason which he has not explained, and which in the Scripture is simply called purpose and good pleasure; Ephesians 1:5.

    (5) if it existed in this case, it does in others. If it was right then, it is now. And if God then dispensed his favors on this principle, he will now. But,

    (6) This affirmation respecting Jacob and Esau does not prove that they had not a nature inclined to evil; or a corrupt and sensual propensity; or that they would not sin as soon as they became moral agents. It proves merely that they had not yet committed actual sin. That they, as well as all others, would certainly sin as soon as they committed moral acts at all, is proved everywhere in the Sacred Scriptures.

    The purpose of God - Note, Romans 8:28.

    According to election - To dispense his favors according to his sovereign will and pleasure. Those favors were not conferred in consequence of the merits of the individuals; but according to a wise plan "lying back" of the formation of their characters, and before they had done good or evil. The favors were thus conferred according to his choice, or election.

    Might stand - Might be confirmed; or might be proved to be true. The case shows that God dispenses his favors as a sovereign. The purpose of God was thus proved to have been formed without respect to the merits of either.

    Not of works - Not by anything which they had done either to merit his favor or to forfeit it. It was formed on other principles than a reference to their works. So it is in relation to all who shall be saved. God has good reasons for saving those who shall be saved. What the reasons are for choosing some to life, he has not revealed; but he has revealed to us that it is not on account of their works, either performed or foreseen.

    But of him that calleth - According to the will and purpose of him that chooses to dispense those favors in this manner. It is not by the merit of man, but it is by a purpose having its origin with God, and formed and executed according to his good pleasure. It is also implied here that it is formed in such a way as to secure his glory as the primary consideration.