Romans 9:4

4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;

Romans 9:4 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 9:4

Who are Israelites
Which were their national name, as descended from Jacob, whose name was Israel; and it was accounted a very honourable one; see ( Philippians 3:5 ) ( 2 Corinthians 11:22 ) ; and the very name they bore gave the apostle some concern that they should be cut off; and then he proceeds to enumerate the several distinguishing favours and privileges they had been partakers of:

to whom pertaineth the adoption;
not that special adoption, which springs from eternal predestination, is a blessing of the covenant of grace, comes through the redemption of Christ, and is received and enjoyed only by believers in him; for all that were Israelites, were not in this sense the children of God; but national adoption is here meant, by which the whole body of the people, as nation, were the sons of God, his firstborn:

and the glory;
either the ark of the covenant, which is so called in ( Psalms 63:2 ) , according to Kimchi; or the clouds in the tabernacle and temple, which were called the glory of the Lord, and were symbols of his presence, the same with the Shekinah; and so Aben Ezra interprets power, the ark, and glory, the Shekinah, ( Psalms 63:2 ) ,

and the covenants;
not the two Testaments, Old and New, but the covenant of circumcision, made with Abraham their father, and the covenant at Sinai they entered into with the Lord; some copies, and the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, read, "the covenant":

and the giving, of the law:
(hrwt Ntm) , a way of speaking the F24 Jews make use of when they take notice of this privilege; for it was peculiarly given to them with great solemnity by God himself, through the disposition of angels into the hands of Moses the mediator, and by him to them; and on account of this, they reckoned themselves more beloved of God than the rest of mankind F25

and the service of God;
or "the service", as in the Greek text. So the Jews F26 are used to call it (hdwbe) , "the service"; and false worship is called by them (hrz hdwbe) , "strange service", which is the title of one of their Misnic tracts; and here it signifies the whole worship of God, in the whole compass of it, sacrifices, prayer, praise daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly:

and the promises;
both temporal and spiritual, especially such as related to the Messiah, and which now had their accomplishment.


F24 T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 116. 1. Zohar in Lev. fol. 5. 2, 3.
F25 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 103. 2.
F26 Vid. Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 2.

Romans 9:4 In-Context

2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh.
4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
5 to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
6 It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel,
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.