on Romans 9 :4
Who are Israelites - Descendants of Jacob, a man so highly favored of God, and from whom he received his name Israel - a prince of God, Genesis 32:28; from which name his descendants were called Israelites, and separated unto God for his glory and praise. Their very name of Israelites implied their very high dignity; they were a royal nation; princes of the most high God.
The adoption - The Israelites were all taken into the family of God, and were called his sons and first-born, Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 14:1; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1; and this adoption took place when God made the covenant with them at Horeb.
The glory - The manifestation of God among them; principally by the cloud and pillar, and the Shekinah, or Divine presence, appearing between the cherubim over the mercy-seat. These were peculiar to the Jews; no other nation was ever thus favored.
The covenants - The covenants made with Abraham, both that which relates to the spiritual seed, and that which was peculiar to his natural descendants, Galatians 3:16, Galatians 3:17; which covenants were afterwards renewed by Moses, Deuteronomy 29:1. Some suppose that the singular is here put for the plural, and that by covenants we are to understand the decalogue, which is termed ברית berith, or covenant, Deuteronomy 4:13. But it is more likely that the apostle alludes to the great covenant made with Abraham, and to its various renewals and extensions at different times afterwards, as well as to its twofold design - the grant of the land of Canaan, and the rest that remains for the people of God.
The giving of the law - The revelation of God by God himself, containing a system of moral and political precepts. This was also peculiar to the Jews; for to no other nation had he ever given a revelation of his will.
The service - Λατρεια. The particular ordinances, rites, and ceremonies of their religious worship, and especially the sacrificial system, so expressive of the sinfulness of sin and the holiness of God.
The promises - The land of Canaan, and the blessings of the Messiah and his kingdom; which promises had been made and often repeated to the patriarchs and to the prophets.
on Romans 9 :4
Who are Israelites - Descended from Israel, or Jacob; honored by having such an ancestor, and by bearing a name so distinguished as that of his descendants. It was formerly the honorable appellation of the people of God.
To whom pertaineth - To whom it belongs. It was their elevated external privilege.
The adoption - Of the nation into the family of God, or to be regarded as His special people; Deuteronomy 7:6.
And the glory - The symbol of the divine presence that attended them from Egypt, and that finally rested over the ark in the first temple - "the Shechinah;" Exodus 13:21-22; Exodus 25:22.
And the covenants - The various compacts or promises which had been made from time to time with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with the nation; the pledges of the divine protection.
The giving of the law - On Mount Sinai; Exodus 20; compare Psalm 147:19.
And the service of God - The temple service; regarded by them as the pride and ornament of their nation.
And the promises - Of the Messiah; and of the spread of the true religion from them as a nation.
on Romans 9 :4
9:4 Whose is the adoption, and c. - He enumerates six prerogatives, of which the first pair respect God the Father, the second Christ, the third the Holy Ghost. The adoption and the glory - That is, Israel is the first - born child of God, and the God of glory is their God, Deut 4:7; Psalm 106:20. These are relative to each other. At once God is the Father of Israel, and Israel are the people of God. He speaks not here of the ark, or any corporeal thing. God himself is the glory of his people Israel. And the covenants, and the giving of the law - The covenant was given long before the law. It is termed covenants, in the plural, because it was so often and so variously repeated, and because there were two dispositions of it, Gal 4:24, frequently called two covenants; the one promising, the other exhibiting the promise. And the worship, and the promises - The true way of worshipping God; and all the promises made to the fathers.