Romans 9:20

Nay, but, O man, who art thou? (O anqrwpe, men oun ge su ti ei?). "O man, but surely thou who art thou?" Unusual and emphatic order of the words, prolepsis of su (thou) before ti (who) and men oun ge (triple particle, men, indeed, oun, therefore, ge, at least) at the beginning of clause as in Romans 10:18 ; Philippians 3:8 contrary to ancient idiom, but so in papyri. That repliest (o antapokrinomeno). Present middle articular participle of double compound verb antapokrinomai, to answer to one's face (anti-) late and vivid combination, also in Luke 14:6 , nowhere else in N.T., but in LXX. The thing formed (to plasma). Old word (Plato, Aristophanes) from plassw, to mould, as with clay or wax, from which the aorist active participle used here (twi plasanti) comes. Paul quotes these words from Isaiah 29:16 verbatim. It is a familiar idea in the Old Testament, the absolute power of God as Creator like the potter's use of clay ( Isaiah 44:8 ; Isaiah 45:8-10 ; Jeremiah 18:6 ). Mh expects a negative answer. Why didst thou make me thus? (ti me epoihsa outw?). The original words in Isaiah dealt with the nation, but Paul applies them to individuals. This question does not raise the problem of the origin of sin for the objector does not blame God for that but why God has used us as he has, made some vessels out of the clay for this purpose, some for that. Observe "thus" (outw). The potter takes the clay as he finds it, but uses it as he wishes.