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THE EIGHTH BOOK OF THE COMMENTAR Y ON THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS ndeed brothers, the will of my heart and prayer to God is on their behalf for salvation. For I testify for them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness.1 (2) Both at the beginning of the epistle and in the preceding text, we have said that Paul speaks at one time on behalf of the Gentiles, at other times even on behalf of the Jews.2 Thus, in the things just now explained, he made such a use of many testimonies of the prophets against Israel that he quoted from Isaiah, “Unless the Lord of hosts had left seed for us, we would have been made like Sodom and become like Gomorrah”;3 and again, “Though the number of the sons of Israel is like the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved.”4 And to these things he adds, “Israel, seeking a law of righteousness has not attained to the law.”5 On account of these things, since he now wants to console that people again and by this means to invite them to faith, he says, “Indeed brothers, the will of the heart and prayer to God is on their behalf for salvation.” He also shows the reason why his will and prayer to God is held on their behalf. “For I testify for them,” he says, “that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” He is saying: However much they have entangled themselves in so many evils of their own sins, nevertheless, because a zeal and jealousy for God is in them, this cause induces me to plead [M1158] to God on their behalf , that they might indeed at the end, at some time, attain to 1. Rom 10.1–3. 2. Cf. 2.14.1; 3.1.2; 3.2.2; 3.9.1; 8.6.9; 8.10.2; 10.8.2; 10.11.2. 3. Rom 9.29; Is 1.9. 4. Rom 9.27; Is 10.22. 5. Rom 9.31. 132 salvation. For they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. And he shows how they have zeal for God that is not according to knowledge. He says, “being ignorant of the righteousness of God,” they have obeyed their own righteousness . So it is not of much benefit to have zeal for God and not to have knowledge of the zeal. After all, the Jews imagined that they were behaving with zeal for God when they rose up in blasphemy against the Son of God because they were not zealous according to knowledge, as was Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, who, in his zeal according to knowledge, destroyed the Midianite woman together with the Israelite who was committing fornication with her;6 and as was Elijah, who said, “I am zealous with a zeal for the Lord, the Almighty God of Israel, because the sons of Israel have deserted you, they have killed your prophets and overturned your altars”;7 and as was Mattathias, of whom it is written in the book of First Maccabees, “He was zealous for the law of God and his heart was stirred and his fury ascended according to judgment.”8 The zeal and jealousy of all these was according to knowledge. But the zeal of the Jews was not according to knowledge. That is why, since they were ignorant of God’s righteousness, they were trying to fulfill their own, i.e., the righteousness that was seen by men,9 though assuredly they should have instead obeyed the righteousness of God, who is Christ.10 (3) But see now whether it was perhaps not concerning these matters alone that the statement seems to be said, “They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” [M1159] For the Apostle can say in a similar fashion concerning others too, “I testify for them,” that they have a fear of God, but not according to knowledge; and of others, that they have a love of God, but not according to knowledge. For if anyone has affection for God, but does not know that love must be patient, kind, and without envy, it must do no wrong, it must not be puffed up, ambitious, or selfish11 —if he...


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