on Romans 9 :29
And as Esaias said before - What God designs to do 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, Isaiah 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 Gomorrha: 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 Gomorrha 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.
Instead of remnant, שריד sarid, both the Septuagint and the apostle have σπερμα, 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.
on Romans 9 :29
And as Esaias said - Isaiah 1:9.
Before - The apostle 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 - In Isaiah, the Lord of Hosts. The word "Sabaoth" is the Hebrew word rendered "hosts" (armies). 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 marshalled or arranged into military orders; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:15; Jde 1:6; 1 Kings 22:19, "I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him;" Psalm 103:21; Psalm 148:2.
(2) the stars; Jeremiah 33:22, "As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, etc." Isaiah 40:26; Deuteronomy 4:19, etc. God is called the Lord of hosts, as being at the head of all these armies; their King and their Commander. 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.
Had left - Had preserved, or kept from destruction. Here their preservation is ascribed to God, and it is affirmed that if God had not interposed, "the whole nation" would have been cut off. This fully establishes the doctrine of the apostle, that God might cast off the Jews, and extend the blessings to the Gentiles.
A seed - The Hebrew in Isaiah means "one surviving or escaping," corresponding with the word "remnant." The word "seed" commonly means in the Scriptures "descendants, posterity." In this place it means "a part, a small portion; a remnant," like the small portion of the harvest which is reserved for sowing.
We had been as Sodoma - 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; Genesis 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 the apostle 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 special privileges of his friends. It is true that in Isaiah he has reference to the temporal punishments of the Jews. But it settles "a great principle," for which Paul was contending, that God might cast off the nation consistently with his promises and his plans. We may learn here,
(1) That the existence of religion among a people is owing to the love of God. "Except the Lord "had left us, etc."
(2) it is owing to his mercy that "any men" are kept from sin, and any nation from destruction.
(3) we see the value of religion and of pious people in a nation. Ten such would have saved Sodom; and a few such saved Judea; compare Matthew 5:13-14.
(4) God has aright to withdraw his mercies from any other people, however exalted their privileges, and leave them to ruin; and we should not be high-minded, but fear; Rom, Matthew 10:20.
on Romans 9 :29
9:29 As Isaiah had said before - Namely, Isa 1:9, concerning those who were besieged in Jerusalem by Rezin and Pekah. Unless the Lord had left us a seed - Which denotes, The present paucity: The future abundance. We had been as Sodom - So that it is no unexampled thing for the main body of the Jewish nation to revolt from God, and perish in their sin.