In a pair of recent monographs on Paul’s intertextual theological exegesis in Romans 9:1-18, Brian J. Abasciano argues Paul uses the Old Testament in accord with the original context. If this is the case, how does the context of Isaiah 29:16 contribute to our understanding of Romans 9? How much of the context of Isaiah 29 does Paul have in mind when he alludes to one line from the chapter?

I will examine context of Isaiah 29:16 in order to argue Paul alluded the potter saying to evoke a particular period of Israel’s history when Judah rejected God’s clear revelation and were therefore facing God’s judgment at the hand of the Assyrian Empire. As in Isaiah 6:9-10, the nation is blind and deaf and cannot respond properly to the words of the prophet. But as Isaiah 29 stands in the canonical text, Israel’s failure is not final. Although their eyes have been blinded (29:9-10) they will once again see “in that day” (29:18).


And I would note, what does Paul state later on in Romans?

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! … They were broken off because of their unbelief … And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. – Romans 11:11,20,23

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