Romans 9:18

18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Romans 9:18 in Other Translations

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.
18 All we're saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill.
18 So then, He shows mercy to whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills.

Romans 9:18 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 9:18

Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will
These are the express words of the former testimony: it follows,

and whom he will he hardeneth;
which is the just and natural consequence of what is contained in the latter; for if God could, or he did, without any injustice, raise up Pharaoh, and harden his heart against him and his people, that he might rise up against him and destroy him by his power for his own glory, then he may harden any other person, and even whom he will: now this hardening of men's hearts may be understood in perfect agreement with the justice and holiness of God: men first harden their own hearts by sinning, as Pharaoh did; what God does, is by leaving them to the hardness of their hearts, denying them that grace which only can soften them, and which he is not obliged to give, and therefore does them no injustice in withholding it from them; by sending them both mercies and judgments, which through the corruption of their hearts, are the means of the greater hardening of them; so judgments in the case of Pharaoh, and mercies in the case of others; see ( Isaiah 6:10 ) ( Romans 11:8-10 ) ; by delivering them up into the hands of Satan, and to their own lusts, which they themselves approve of; and by giving them up to a judicial blindness and hardness of heart, as a just punishment for their impieties.

Romans 9:18 In-Context

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”
20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ”

Cross References 1

  • 1. Exodus 4:21; Exodus 7:3; Exodus 14:4,17; Deuteronomy 2:30; Joshua 11:20; Romans 11:25