Romans 15:12

Romans 15:12

And again Esaias saith
In ( Isaiah 11:10 ) ;

there shall be a root of Jesse.
This prophecy is applied to the Messiah by the Jews F25, who say,

``that when the King Messiah is revealed, there shall be gathered to him all the nations of the world, so that that Scripture shall be fulfilled which is written, "there shall be a root of Jesse"''

This character, "the root of Jesse", may be understood of Christ with respect to his divine nature, who, as God, was before Jesse, and the author of his being, as of all creatures; just in such sense as he is called "the root and offspring of David", ( Revelation 5:5 ) ( 22:16 ) ; the root of David, as he is God, and the offspring of David, as he is man; unless both are to be interpreted of his human nature, as the phrase here also may be, and denote his descent from Jesse as man; and so the Jewish writers interpret it as well as some Christian ones. This is R. David Kimchi's comment;

``"and there shall be a root of Jesse"; the meaning is, (yvy) (vrvm auwyh) , "which goes out from the root of Jesse", according to ( Isaiah 11:1 ) , for "Jesse" is the root. And so the Targum of Jonathan, (yvyd hyrb rb) , "the son's son of Jesse";''

that is, David's son, the King Messiah, who sprung from Jesse's family, when that family was very low and mean, like to a tree cut down to, its roots, and to a root in a dry ground; out of which sprung the man the branch, David's son and Lord. This character may be applied to Christ as Mediator, who as a root is unseen and unknown to carnal men, and mean, abject, and of no account in the eyes of the world; the root that not only bears Jesse, David, and other good men, but all the branches of God's elect, from whom they have their beings, both in a natural and spiritual sense; which communicates life and nourishment to them; in whom their life is hid, and is safe when scarcely to be discerned in them; and from whom they have all their fruitfulness, and to whom is owing their perseverance in faith and holiness.

And he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles;
or, as the Syriac version, "and he that shall rise shall be a prince unto the Gentiles"; or, as the Arabic, "and he that shall rise out of it", the root, "shall rule over the Gentiles". In the Hebrew text in Isaiah, this is said of the root, and to be read thus, "which shall stand for an ensign of the people", ( Isaiah 11:10 ) ; because mention is made of a root, the apostle expresses the standing of it by rising out of it, which signifies both the incarnation and exaltation of Christ; and because an ensign is a token of power and government, therefore he has rendered it to "reign", agreeably enough to the sense; since upon Christ's exaltation, and setting up his ensign or standard, the Gospel, in the Gentile world, multitudes became voluntary subjects to him, and still do; over whom he rules by his grace and Spirit, and will more largely and manifestly in the latter day, when the kingdoms of this world shall be his. In like manner R. Aben. Ezra explains the words of the Messiah.

``Says he, this may be understood, for all the whole world shall be (wtwvr txt) , "under his power", or government.''

And so the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases them, "and kingdoms shall obey him"; so that the Jew can have no reason to complain of the apostle's version.

In him shall the Gentiles trust,
or "hope"; this in the Hebrew text is, "to him shall the Gentiles seek"; which cannot be truly done without faith and hope; see ( Hebrews 11:6 ) ; for the hope and faith of enjoying what is sought for, put persons upon seeking: so that the apostle here gives us the true sense of the words, and most fully describes the affection of the Gentiles to Christ; who having some knowledge of him, seek unto him for life and salvation, prostrate themselves at his feet, venture upon him, commit themselves to him, and hope and trust in him. This part of the prophecy is by the Jews understood of the Messiah.

``All the Gentiles (says R. David Kimchi on the text) shall seek (xyvmh la) , "to the Messiah", and shall go after him to do what he commands; all of them shall obey him.''

But why no mention made of the Israelites seeking to the Messiah? hear what they say, and which still confirms the sense of these words F26.

``The Israelites will have no need of the doctrine of the King Messiah in future time, as it is said, "to him shall the Gentiles seek", and not the Israelites.''

True enough! The apostle dwells on the proof of this point, it not being so easy of belief with the Jews, but makes it clear from the law, psalms, and prophets, which is the threefold division of the writings of the Old Testament; see ( Luke 24:44 ) .


F25 Zohar in Exod. fol. 71. 1. Vid. R. Aben Ezra & R. David Kimchi in loc.
F26 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 85. 3. & Midrash Tillim apud Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. ver. l. 3. c. 9.
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