A rather long section concerning Israel, Pharaoh, and choices of God. Why does God choose one over another? Why did God choose Israel? Did God really hate Easu? Does God only call Jews or are Gentiles included in God’s salvation?
My translation and notes.
God’s Plan To Choose Israel
6 But it is not that the word of God has failed, for not all those from Israel [are] Israel.
7 Just because they are the offspring of Abraham [does it mean they are] all children, but, “In Isaac will yours offspring be called.” [Genesis 21:12]
[Jesus taught the Samaritan woman at the well that “salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22).” A Jew was not just the descendant of Abraham, but Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The birthright from Abraham went to Isaac and from Isaac to Jacob (Genesis 25:31). All was given to Isaac and gifts were given to the Abraham’s other sons (Genesis 25:5-6). Many other blessings were given in the birthright. Among these blessings we read that Messiah would be a descendant of Issac (Genesis 21:12) and Jacob (because Esau sold the birthright to Jacob—Genesis 25:33). Compare Genesis 27:18-37 and Galatians 3:16].
8 That is, the children of the flesh are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are considered as offspring.
[Only Isaac is the son of promise by Sarai/Sarah—Genesis 17:15-19). Abraham fathered other children—Ishmael (by Hagar), Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shua (all by Keturah—Genesis 25:1-2, 1 Chronicles 1:32-33). They were conceived by natural means].
9 For this [is] the word of promise, “At this time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.” [Genesis 18:10-14]
[This is the reason Isaac is called the only begotten son of Abraham (Hebrews 11:17). Sarah and Abraham had only one child together].
10 Not only [this], but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, [even] by our father Isaac,
11 And although they were not yet born nor done anything good or evil but that God’s purpose according to [His] choice might stand firm, not by works but by him who calls,
[Did God have a reason to choose the younger? Some teach that God just choose one over the other, and I guess these teachers believe that God arbitrarily choose Jacob over Esau. But, it seems to me, that God always has a reason. God chose Isaac because he was the son of promise. The main point that Paul emphasizes is that God’s choice isn’t by what we do but by His call and our response. Compare Isaiah 66:4, Isaiah 28:12, and Luke 13:34. Nothing in this verse relates to eternal salvation or damnation. Also, this verse does point out that just because one is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not mean they are eternally saved, nor descendants of Esau eternally damned. We cannot build a theological system on this verse. Regarding election TDNTa adds: Paul first uses eklogḗ for divine selection in the history of the patriarchs (Rom. 9:11). The choice is not for salvation as such but for historical mission. Similarly, God has now chosen the Gentile church to fulfill his purpose. The stress is on God’s free decision but not to the exclusion of human responsibility].
12 It was said to her, “The elder will serve the younger.” [Genesis 25:23]
13 Just as it is written, “Jacob, I have loved; Esau, I have hated.” [Malachi 1:2-3]
[Paul speaks of nations, not individuals. Esau never served Jacob. See Genesis 25:23].
14 What will we say then? That God is unrighteous? Absolutely not!
15 For he tells Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion [Exodus 33:19].”
[God has mercy on those who seek mercy. These gifts are not given haphazardly. They are given those who meet His conditions (Acts 4:12, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:10, Romans 1:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16). All receive some mercy and compassion, because the Holy Spirit initiates salvation by opening our minds and heart which frees our wills (John 16:8-9, Acts 16:14, and Acts 16:18) and with a freed will we can believe (John 3:16) or refuse to believe (Matthew 23:37, Isaiah 1:18-20, and John 3:36). God is so sovereign that He can degree His method of salvation and to give all an opportunity (1 Timothy 2:4, John 7:37, and Isaiah 45:22). God desires fellowship (1 Corinthians 1:9 and 1 John 1:3), not forced or decreed, but in loyal love and devotion to Him].
16 So then, it is not of the one who wills or strains with effort but of God who shows mercy.
[We cannot keep the Law to be accepted by God. See Romans 7-8. In the Old Testament times, a sacrifice was necessary, not to forgive sins but to cover sins until Messiah—the Lamb of God—appeared to take away sins (Leviticus 1:3-4, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, and 1 Corinthians 5:7)].
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very reason I raised yous up, so that I could show my power in yous and that my name might be publicized throughout the whole earth.” [Exodus 9:16]
[The Exodus era Pharaoh was raised to this position by God because it was time for Israel’s deliverance and Egypt’s judgment. Pharaoh had the crossed the line of no return, so salvation’s offer was withdrawn. Others had crossed this line. See Judas (John 13:27), Judah (2 Chronicles 36:16), and anyone (Proverbs 6:15, Proverbs 29:1)].
18 Therefore, he has mercy on whom he wants, and he hardens whom he wants.
[Those who have rejected and refused to believe repeatedly like Pharaoh have crossed the line. It is too late. Judgment is inevitable. As aside, see Numbers 13:25-14:45, 2 Kings 21:1-18, and Matthew 12:31-32 where people also crossed the line of no return—judgment will come. God rejects Pharaoh. Pharaoh hardened his own heart in Exodus 8:15, 19, 32 In Exodus. We read of multiple times God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus 7:3, 13, 32, Exodus 9:12, Exodus 10:20, and Exodus 14:8. A person can also harden their own heart (Exodus 8:32 and 1 Samuel 6:6). The deceitfulness of sin hardens hearts (Hebrews 3:13). See Deuteronomy 15:7 NET If a fellow Israelite from one of your villages in the land that the LORD your God is giving you should be poor, you must not harden your heart or be insensitive to his impoverished condition. Also read Psalm 95:8 HCSB Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness. These hearts suppress truth (Romans 1: 18), refuse to be kind or compassionate (Deuteronomy 15:7), refuse the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10), are proud and conceited (Psalm 101:5), etc. God has conditions for extending mercy. They are a believing heart (Romans 10:9-10), obeying the truth (1 Peter 1:22), trust (Proverbs 3:5). God then purifies/cleanses their heart (Acts 15:8-9) and gives a new heart (2 Corinthians 5:17). King Saul and King David are two examples—in 1 Samuel 15:23 and 1 Samuel 13:14 with 1 Samuel 16:12—of obedience or disobedience].
19 So are yous going to tell me, “Why does he still find fault, for who can stand against his will?”
[If the above verses are true (Paul assumes so), then how can God find fault, judge, and sentence anyone? The Greek word for “will” is βούλημα boúlēma (G1013). It means “deliberate purpose” (Robertson). See Acts 27:43 where it is translated “purpose.” God determines, not just wishes something. God has conditional and unconditional purposes. If it is unconditional, then God’s will is absolute; it cannot be resisted. If a promise is conditional, then God is giving that person/s or nation a choice. God’s judgment of each person’s decision is unconditional].
20 No, on the contrary, O man, who are YOUs to contradict God? Will what is molded say to the one who molded it, “Why have yous made me this way?” [Isaiah 29:16 and 45:9]
[This is God’s plan and conditions. If one person chooses their own way instead of God’s way, then it is their fault, not Gods. One person chooses sinful pleasures and pride (“I’m a good person”), while the other desires to leave sinful pleasures for God’s pleasures and asking for mercy instead of refusing mercy. One desires truth (reality), while another chooses their own truth. F. B. Meyer writes: God desires to do His best for every man. But, as in the case of Esau, who wantonly sold his birthright, and of Pharaoh, who turned all God’s revelations into occasions of aggravated resistance and stronger revolt, the Heavenly Father is sometimes compelled to cast away those who might assist in the execution of His purposes, and use inferior vessels made from common clay. In the earlier part of the conflict with the proud Egyptian monarch, it is said that he hardened his heart, and afterward that God hardened it, Exodus 8:15; Exodus 10:20. To the froward God becomes froward; that is, the means that He takes to soften and save will harden, just as the sun which melts wax hardens clay.
The same power which was thwarted and resisted by the unbelief and stubbornness of the Chosen People, has taken up us Gentiles, who have had none of their advantages, and what wonderful mercy has He shown to us! Riches of glory on vessels of mercy! Romans 9:23. What an argument for us all not to resist the grace of God, which strives with us so earnestly and continually! God can make saints out of the most unlikely material. Let us see that He has full opportunity (Through The Bible Day by Day)].
21 Doesn’t the potter have authority over the clay to make pottery for honorable use as well as for common use from the same lump?
22 [What] if God, wanting to show his wrath and make his authority known, endured with much longsuffering the objects of wrath maturing for destruction,
23 And that He might make known the riches of his glory on objects of mercy, which he prepared ahead of time for glory?
[Here there are two types of vessels. The vessels of wrath are those whom God will punish. The vessels of mercy are those whom God will bless. How can one be a vessel of mercy rather than a vessel for wrath? It is faith in God. See John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-10. Jacob believed God; Esau did not. Pharaoh had opportunity to believe, but he chose to harden his heart to the point that God started hardening it for punishment. Sodom and Gomorrah had opportunity. They had Lot. They knew Abraham. Even Melchizedek came in the area to see Abraham. They did harden their heart and became vessels ready for destruction. Every person has a “self” at the core of their being. Each “self” has a set of character traits. Some are introverted and some extroverted. Some like being in the country and some in the city. Reason and the ability to make decisions are also given to us since we are created in the image of God. See Isaiah 1:18, Daniel 4:36, Acts 24:25, Ecclesiastes 12:9-14, 2 Corinthians 12:5, and Daniel 1:8. All of us like to be recognized and thanked for who we are and what we do, but some like it very much. This latter trait can develop into seeking praise for themselves at the expense of others. Thus, they have the temptation to be proud and harden their heart. “Self” can manifest as what is pleasurable for one’s “self” in pride or humility, compassion or heartlessness, kindness or cruelty, etc. One can seek God and His ways or seek only one’s “self”. Compare John 8:50 with John 7:18].
24 Even us whom he has called, not only Jews but also Gentiles.
[Part of this chapter’s purpose is to show Jews that Gentiles are included in God’s plan for saving individuals. Compare ethnic pride in Matthew 3:7-12 and Paul’s words in Romans 2-3. Albert Barnes of this verse adds: Christians, selected from both Jews and Gentiles. This proves that he did not refer to nations primarily, but to individuals chosen out of nations. Two things are established here.
That the grace of God was not confined to the Jewish people, as they supposed, so that it could be conferred on no others.
That God was not bound to confer grace on all the descendants of Abraham, as he bestowed it on those selected from the mass, according to his own will, and not of necessity “on the mass” itself].
25 As He says also in Hosea, “I will call them ‘My People’ who were not my people and ‘My Beloved’ who were not beloved.” [Hosea 2:23]
[Compare Romans 4. Albert Barnes adds: The doctrine which he had established, he proceeds now to confirm by quotations from the writings of Jews, that he might remove every objection. The doctrine was,
That God intended to call his people from the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
That he was bound by no promise and no principle of obligation to bestow salvation on all the Jews.
That, therefore, it was right for him to reject any or all of the Jews, if he chose, and cut them off from their privileges as a people and from salvation].
26 Also, “It will be [that] in the place where it was said to them, ’Youp are not my people,’ there they will be called the children of the living God.” [Hosea 1:10]
27 Isaiah also speaks out concerning Israel, “Though the number of Israel’s children are as the sand of the sea, [only] a remnant will be saved,
28 “For He will finish [this] word speedily in righteousness, because the Lord will expedite [His] word on the earth,” [Isaiah 10:22-23]
29 Even as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of armies had not left us a remnant, we would have been like Sodom and compared to Gomorrah.” [Isaiah 1:9]
[Paul quotes some Old Testament prophets that show Gentiles will be offered salvation, and the Gentiles can and will believe. A person’s heritage and DNA do not confer salvation. The Jews felt that being a Jew was salvation, but Paul has already shown in Romans chapter 3 that just being a Jew was not good enough].