Romans 11:9-11 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Summary of
Romans 9-11
Romans 9 Romans 10 Romans 11
God's Sovereignty
Israel's Election by God
Man's responsibility
Israel's Rejection of God
God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel


Greek: kai Dauid legei, (3PAI) Genetheto (3SAPM) e trapeza auton eis pagida kai eis theran kai eis skandalon kai eis antapodoma autois,

Amplified: And David says, Let their table (their feasting, banqueting) become a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a just retribution [rebounding like a boomerang upon them];

ESV: And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them;

ICB: And David says: "Let their own feasts trap them and cause their ruin. Let their feasts cause them to sin and be paid back.

NIV: And David says: "May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them.

NKJV: And David says: "Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them.

NLT: David spoke of this same thing when he said, "Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble.

Phillips: And David says of them: 'Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense to them;

Wuest: Even David says, Let their table become for a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block and a just retribution to them.

Young's Literal: and David saith, 'Let their table become for a snare, and for a trap, and for a stumbling-block, and for a recompense to them;

Romans 1:18-3:20 Romans 3:21-5:21 Romans 6:1-8:39 Romans 9:1-11:36 Romans 12:1-16:27

Related resources

Online Book by Dr John Walvoord - Israel in Prophecy

Online Articles by Arnold Fruchtenbaum related to Israel

Are you confused about God's plan for Israel? Then I highly recommend Tony Garland's 12 Hour Course on Romans 9-11 in which he addresses in depth the question of What Will Happen to Israel? or see the individual lectures below)

Note that when you click the preceding links, each link will in turn give you several choices including an Mp3 message and brief transcript notes. The Mp3's are long (avg 70+ min) but are in depth and thoroughly Scriptural with many quotations from the Old Testament, which is often much less well understood than the NT by many in the church today. Garland takes a literal approach to Scripture, and his love for the Jews and passion to see them saved comes through very clearly in these 12 hours of teaching! Take your home Bible Study group through this series if you dare. Take notes on the tapes as the transcripts are a very abbreviated version of the audio messages. This course is highly recommended for all who love Israel! I think you will agree that Tony Garland, despite coming to faith after age 30 as an engineer, clearly has been given a special anointing by God to promulgate the truth concerning Israel and God's glorious future plan for the Jews. Garland has also produced more than 20 hours of superb audio teaching in his verse by verse commentary on the Revelation (in depth transcripts also available) which will unravel (in a way you did not think was possible considering the plethora of divergent interpretations) God's final message of the triumph and return of the our Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords! Maranatha! (See Maranatha - In Depth Word Study)!

AND DAVID SAYS LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE: kai Dauid legei (3PAI) genetheto (3SAPM) e trapeza auton eis pagida:

David writes…

May their table before them become a snare; And when they are in peace, may it become a trap. May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see, And make their loins shake continually. (Ps 69:22,23)

Paul quotes David to show that David like Moses (Dt 29:4 "Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.") anticipated that such an experience of the judgment of God would occur to Israel as a whole ("the rest" Ro 11:7 ~ a partial hardening Ro 11:25). The hardening of Israel will reach its height in the middle of Daniel's Seventieth Week (often referred to as the Tribulation). Scripture anticipates the condition of Israel as it is today. God is not surprised; neither should we be. If it were otherwise, we should be troubled.

Vine on "their table" writes "It is here symbolical of the special privileges granted to Israel and centering in Christ."

MacArthur comments

"A person’s table is generally thought of as a place of safety, feasting, and sustenance. But the table of the ungodly and self righteous will become a snare and a trap. The Jews considered God’s Word, in particular the Torah, to be their spiritual sustenance—which indeed it was. But because of their rebellious unbelief, that Word became a judgment on them, a stumbling block and a retribution.

One of the saddest commentaries of history is that so many people place their trust in the very thing that damns them. All false religions—pagan, cultic, unbiblical Christianity, and every other kind—present counterfeit means of salvation. The more their adherents feed on the falsehoods, the more immune they become to the true gospel of Jesus Christ, the living bread of life.

As she continued to reject God, Israel became progressively more spiritually blind—so blind that she could not recognize her own Messiah and Savior. Just as David had prayed in righteous indignation against the sins of his own people, Israel’s eyes were darkened to see not. Because Israel refused to see the things of God, God judicially ratified her willing blindness. Bend their backs suggests the hunched over position in which blind people sometimes walk as they grope their way on a path they cannot see that leads to a destination they do not seek. (MacArthur, J. Romans. Chicago: Moody Press)

Believer's Bible Commentary - "The table here means the sum total of the privileges and blessings which flowed through Christ. What should have been a blessing was turned into a curse." (Believer's Study Bible. Criswell Center for Biblical Studies. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Charles Ryrie - "God's blessings (THEIR TABLE) actually became a stumbling block to their receiving God's righteousness. " (Ryrie Study Bible)

Bible Knowledge Commentary - "[Ps 69:22-23] which predicts that the very things which should have been the source of nourishment and blessing to Israel (table means their blessings from the hand of God, which should have led them to Christ; cf. Galatians 3:24) became the occasion for their rejection of God. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)

KJV Bible Commentary - "The words snare, trap, and stumbling block are closely related. Their combination serves to enforce the turning of the table to its opposite intent. The table is indicative of the bountiful mercy and blessing of God to Israel. Israel has not partaken of the good things of God’s table. The recurring motif of the unseeing eyes indicates the principle that the temporary blindness has overtaken all of Israel, with the exception of the believing remnant. Thus the application is clear. Those who seek their own righteousness must bow down their back always to the bondage of sin. But those who seek the righteousness of Christ receive it by grace and are the believing remnant of God." (KJV Bible commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Warren Wiersbe - Their “table to become a snare” means that their blessings turn into burdens and judgments. This is what happened to Israel: their spiritual blessings should have led them to Christ, but instead they became a snare that kept them from Christ. Their very religious practices and observances became substitutes for the real experience of salvation. Sad to say, this same mistake is made today when people depend on religious rituals and practices instead of trusting in the Christ who is pictured in these activities. (Wiersbe, W. W. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.)

A SNARE AND A TRAP AND A STUMBLING BLOCK: eis pagida kai eis therankai eis skandalon:

Snare (3803)(pagis - word study) describes that which causes one to be suddenly endangered or unexpectedly brought under control of a hostile force.

Gilbrant - In classical Greek pagis primarily denotes a “trap” or “snare.” It represents devices that bring danger or death, often with an unexpected sense of suddenness (Bauer). The Septuagint also uses pagis to denote a “trap.” A meal that becomes a trap is described in Psalm 69:22 (LXX 68:22), “Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.” In Proverbs 7:23 the word is used to describe a trap or snare that will take the life of its victim. The New Testament uses pagis in a similar fashion, describing the trap or snare in terms that make the results grim and lethal because of the unexpected aspect of the situation. In Luke 21:35 God’s people are warned not to be caught up in the cares of this life in order to avoid the possibility of Christ’s return coming upon them unexpectedly, i.e., “as a snare . . . on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Pagis is also used of the traps and snares (i.e., temptations, 1 Timothy 6:9) the devil sets for believers (1 Timothy 3:7). The ancients used this term figuratively for the special snares of love, i.e., a trap or snare of women (cf. Liddell-Scott). The devil knows how to make an attractive trap for the unwary Christian. Pagis, therefore, may represent a trap deliberately set to seduce. This trap can be set by the devil, for example, temptations, rejected blessings (as in Israel’s case, Romans 11:9), and the cares of this life that would keep Christians from watching for Christ’s return. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Pagis is found 5x in the NAS: Luke 21:34; Ro 11:9; 1 Ti 3:7; 6:9; 2 Ti 2:26

Pagis specifically was a snare or trap in which birds were entangled (unexpectedly, suddenly, unawares) and then came to refer to whatever brings peril, loss, destruction including the allurements and seductions of sin. (cf interesting background on "Fowler" ~ Professional bird catcher ISBE, Easton's)

Trap (2339) (theran is derived from ther = wild beast) denotes a hunting of wild beast to destroy them and then a prey, game or trap and thus figuratively as used here referred to preparing destruction for men by use of a net or “trap”.

Stumbling block (4625) (skandalon - see word study) referred literally to that part of a trap on which the bait was laid and when touched caused the trap to close on its prey. It came to mean any entanglement of the foot [Trench]. In NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way.

Skandalon denotes an enticement to conduct which could ruin the person in question. Sometimes the "enticement" or hindrance is in itself good (as in the current verse), and those stumbled by it are the wicked. In this verse the Messiah is the SKANDALON, especially Christ crucified & the Cross.

Gilbrant - In the Septuagint it is used to translate the Hebrew words môqēsh, “bait, lure” (figuratively, “snare”), and mikhshōl, “stumbling block,” both meaning “cause of ruin”; the sense of a stumbling block (Leviticus 19:14) or trap (Psalm 141:9 [LXX 140:9]) is present in certain contexts. The primary meaning of the term in the Septuagint is simply “cause of ruin.” In this sense it refers more to the basis for divine punishment of sin than to the “occasion of sinning.” (Ibid)

Related Resource:


The seers and the prophets had foretold it long ago
That the long awaited One would make men stumble
But they were looking for a king to conquer and to kill
Who'd have ever thought He'd be so weak and humble
He will be the truth that will offend them one and all
A Stone that makes men stumble
And a Rock that makes them fall
Many will be broken so that He can make them whole
And many will be crushed and lose their own soul
Along the path of life there lies a stubborn Scandalon
And all who come this way must be offended
To some He is a barrier, To others He's the way
For all should know the scandal of believing
It seems today the Scandalon offends no one at all
The image we present can be stepped over
Could it be that we are like the others long ago
Will we ever learn that all who come must stumble
Repeat Chorus

AND A RETRIBUTION (God’s judgment) TO THEM : kai eis antapodoma autois: (Dt 32:35 Ps 28:4 Isa 59:18 Heb 2:2)

Retribution (468) (antapodoma from antí = in turn + apodidomi = render) (see cognate verb antapodidomi) a noun which means a giving back in return for something received and so that which is offered or given as recompense or retribution (in both a good sense and a bad sense). The thing paid back in a good sense (Lk 14:12) or bad sense (Ro 11:9).

Gilbrant - In classical Greek the noun antapodoma itself was unknown; its idea was expressed by other derivatives of the basic verb apodidōmi (586), “give, reward, repay,” especially by the noun antapodosis (466), “compensation, recompense.” It seems that the Septuagint introduced antapodoma as the preferred term to express the idea of “recompense.” In its negative usage it denotes requital or retribution, especially of God against Israel’s enemies. David asked God to render the wicked their antapodoma for their evil deeds (Psalm 28:4 [LXX 27:4]). Occasionally the Old Testament also used this term positively as reward, especially in Isaiah 1:23 where it translates the Hebrew term for “gift” (see also Proverbs 12:14).

Retribution - recompense, reward. The dispensing or receiving of reward or punishment especially in the hereafter. Something given or exacted in recompense. the act of punishing or taking vengeance for wrongdoing, sin, or injury. Webster's 1828 = "The distribution of rewards and punishments at the general judgment. It is a strong argument for a state of retribution hereafter, that in this world virtuous persons are very often unfortunate, and vicious persons prosperous. Spectator."

Let their blessings be like a trap that makes them think all is well & which causes them to stumble and which pays them back. Because they refused to receive God’s truth (Isa6:9-10 Jn5:40) their backs will be bent under the weight of guilt and punishment forever.

The only other NT use

Luke 14:12 And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment.

Antapodoma - 21 times in the non-apocryphal Septuagint…

Genesis 50:15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!"

2 Chronicles 32:25 But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.

Psalm 28:4 Requite them according to their work and according to the evil of their practices; Requite them according to the deeds of their hands; Repay them their recompense.

Psalm 137:8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, How blessed will be the one who repays you With the recompense with which you have repaid us.

Proverbs 12:14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, And the deeds of a man's hands will return to him.

Isaiah 1:23 Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe And chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, Nor does the widow's plea come before them.

Jeremiah 51:6 Flee from the midst of Babylon, And each of you save his life! Do not be destroyed in her punishment, For this is the LORD'S time of vengeance; He is going to render recompense to her.

Lamentations 3:64 You will recompense them, O LORD, According to the work of their hands.

Joel 3:4 "Moreover, what are you to Me, O Tyre, Sidon and all the regions of Philistia? Are you rendering Me a recompense? But if you do recompense Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your recompense on your head.

Joel 3:7 behold, I am going to arouse them from the place where you have sold them, and return your recompense on your head.

Obadiah 1:15 "For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.


Greek: skotisthetosan (3PAPM) oi ophthalmoi auton tou me blepein, (PAN) kai ton noton auton dia pantosv sugkampson. (2SAMM)

Amplified: Let their eyes be darkened (dimmed) so that they cannot see, and make them bend their back [stooping beneath their burden] forever.(4)

ESV: let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever."

ICB: Let their eyes be closed so they cannot see. Let their backs be forever weak from troubles." Psalm 69: 22-23

NIV: May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever."

NKJV: Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always."

NLT: Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs grow weaker and weaker."

Phillips: let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always'.

Wuest: Let their eyes be darkened in order that they may not see and in order that they may always bow down their back.

Young's Literal: let their eyes be darkened -- not to behold, and their back do Thou always bow down.'

LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT: skotisthetsan (3PAPM) hoi ophthalmoi auton tou me blepein (PAN): (


Let… be darkened (4654) (skotizo from skótos = darkness) means literally to be or become dark, to be unable to give light and figuratively to obscure. Aorist imperative (passive voice) calls for action that comes from without the one who is darkened (spiritually speaking) This is a terrible imprecation (uttering in a sense a curse upon another). Because Israel refused to see the Lord Jesus as Messiah and Savior, they lost the power to see Him. Because they steadfastly, stubbornly refused to hear the pleading voice of God, now they were smitten with spiritual deafness. That terrible judgment continues to this very day.

Paul describes a similar darkening of all men who have suppressed the truth about God in unrighteousness…

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks but they became futile in their speculations & their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools & exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man & of birds & four-footed animals and crawling creatures." (Ro 1:21-23)

This clearly ties in with the “spirit of stupor” in Ro 11:8 and the hardening in Ro 11:7, and indicates that Israel as a whole was blinded toward the truth of the gospel. As she continued to reject God, Israel became progressively more spiritually blind—so blind that she could not recognize her own Messiah and Savior. Just as David had prayed in righteous indignation against the sins of his own people, Israel’s eyes were darkened to see not. Because Israel refused to see the things of God, God judicially ratified her willing blindness.

See (991)(blepo) basically means to have sight, to see, to look at, then to observe, to discern, to perceive with the eye, and frequently implies special contemplation (e.g., often in the sense of “keep your eyes open,” or “beware”).

AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER: kai ton noton auton dia pantos sugkampson (2SAMM):

Bend (4781) (sugkampto from sún = together + kámpto = to bend, bow) means to bend together, to bow down low. It pictures bend together as of captives whose backs were bent under burdens. This is written in the form of a command (aorist imperative) This picture suggests the hunched over position in which blind people sometimes walk as they grope their way on a path they cannot see that leads to a destination they do not seek.

Forever (1275) (diapantos from diá = through + pantós = all) literally means through all and describes continuous unbroken permanence of a characteristic habit. This means through all time and so constantly or continually. It does not mean “without end,” but is more accurately rendered “constantly” or “continuously". That is, as long as it lasts, may there be no relief.

It is difficult to tell exactly what calamity this is supposed to represent. It may be a figure for the hard labor of slavery, the heaviness of a burden, a state of weakness, or the overwhelming effects of grief or fear. Any of these could apply to first-century Judaism. Paul may be saying,

“May their backs be always weak and feeble under the burden that they bear because of their rejection of the gospel” (Fitzmyer).

Or he may be referring to “the state of slavish fear in which the Jews shall be held as long as this judgment of hardening which keeps them outside of the gospel shall last” (Godet).

In summary, Paul says all in Israel not included in the remnant chosen to salvation by sovereign grace were hardened. He explains this hardening in that God gave them a spirit of slumber, an insensibility of heart that made them insensible to the gospel, sightless spiritual eyes, and deaf ears. How are we to understand this? Moses records the fact that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but not until Pharaoh had first hardened his own heart. The original hardening came from his totally depraved nature. Then God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by forcing him to an issue which he did not want to meet. The more God demanded that he let Israel go, the more Pharaoh rebelled. The more he rebelled, the harder his heart became. So with Israel. Israel rejected God and His Word, and the more it did so the harder its heart became. Light rejected, blinds. In addition to this natural hardening of the heart, there was God’s judicial action of hardening as a just judgment upon its sin of rejection.

Romans 11:11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.

Greek: Lego (1SPAI) oun, me eptaisan (3PAAI) hina pesosin? (3PAAS) me genoito; (3SAMO) alla to auton paraptomati e soteria tois ethnesin, eis to parazeslosai (AAN) autoua.

Amplified: So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall [to their utter spiritual ruin, irretrievably]? By no means! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they forfeited] and so to make them jealous.

ESV: So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.

ICB: So I ask: When the Jews fell, did that fall destroy them? No! But their mistake brought salvation to the non-Jews. This took place to cause the Jews to be jealous.

NIV: Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.

NKJV: I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

NLT: Did God's people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! His purpose was to make his salvation available to the Gentiles, and then the Jews would be jealous and want it for themselves.

Phillips: Now I ask myself, "Was this fall of theirs an utter disaster? It was not! For through their failure the benefit of salvation has passed to the Gentiles with the result that Israel is made to see and feel what is has missed.

Wuest: I say then, Surely, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Away with the thought. But through the instrumentality of their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles with a view to provoking them [Israel] to jealousy.

Young's Literal: I say, then, Did they stumble that they might fall? let it not be! but by their fall the salvation is to the nations, to arouse them to jealousy;

I SAY THEN, THEY DID NOT STUMBLE SO AS TO FALL, DID THEY: Lego (1SPAI) oun, me eptaisan (3PAAI) hina pesosin (3PAAS): 

Amplified Version - So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall [to their utter spiritual ruin, irretrievably]? By no means! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they forfeited] and so to make them jealous.


I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? - This is thus a rhetorical question, not calling for an answer but proving a point. The Jews stumbled over Christ, but not so as to fall irretrievably. The idea conveyed by falling is here suggestive of what is impossible of recovery. Israel has not stumbled and fallen beyond recovery.

Stumble (4417)(ptaio) means literally to lose one's footing, to cause to stumble, to trip. In the NT, used figuratively, meaning failing to do God's will and thus to fall into sin.

Gilbrant - In classical usage ptaiō can mean “to stumble against something” or “to cause someone to stumble.” A sense of making a mistake or committing an error is also well established, as is another figurative sense: “to suffer misfortune or ruin.” Philo and other Koine writers continued both metaphoric uses. In the Septuagint almost all uses of ptaiō are connected with warfare. Mostly it translates a form of the Hebrew word nāghaph and means simply “be defeated.” An exception is Deuteronomy 7:25 where ptaiō translates the Hebrew yāqosh and means “be ensnared” or “entangled.” In the New Testament James (James 2:10; 3:2, NIV) used ptaiō for stumbling in a moral sense, “to sin” or “to err” (compare “offend” in KJV). Paul used ptaiō in Ro 11:11 to refer to Israel’s present stumbling in unbelief (sin). However, the nation’s stumbling is not final since they have stumbled but not fallen permanently.

ESV Study Bible on they did not stumble so as to fall - Israel’s hardening is not the final word. God planned salvation history so that Israel’s trespass would open salvation for the Gentiles, and the Jews in turn would be provoked to jealousy when they see Gentiles being saved and enjoying a relationship with God.

Fall (4098) (parapipto) means literally to fall away and then to apostatize. (See study of derivative word = Transgression (trespass) (3900) paraptoma)

They refers to “the others” (v7), the majority of the people of Israel, excluding the “remnant chosen by grace” (v5). Paul’s question is preceded by the negative particle me which expects a negative answer, “They did not stumble that they should fall, did they?” The contrast here between stumbling and falling shows that by the latter is meant an irremediable fall from which there is no rising.

MacArthur - God’s temporarily setting Israel aside was not an afterthought or an outburst of emotional anger but had a definite purpose. Again (Ro 11:1) Paul introduces his point by asking a rhetorical question and then giving the strongest negative answer possible. God has not allowed His Chosen People Israel to fall into such unbelief and disobedience that they are unsalvageable. He has indeed given them “a spirit of stupor,” and He “let their eyes be darkened to see not” (Ro 11:8, 10). For a divinely appointed time, He has let them wander about in spiritual blindness and darkness. Yet their blindness is not irreversible, and their darkness was never to be permanent. (Romans Commentary)

Gotquestions asks ""What is replacement theology / supersessionism?"

Answer: Replacement theology (also known as supersessionism) essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. Among the different views of the relationship between the church and Israel are the church has replaced Israel (replacement theology), the church is an expansion of Israel (covenant theology), or the church is completely different and distinct from Israel (dispensationalism/premillennialism).(Click for the full discussion)

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MAY IT NEVER BE! BUT BY THEIR TRANSGRESSION SALVATION HAS COME TO THE GENTILES : me genoito (3SAM0)alla to auton paraptomati e soteria tois ethnesin:


May it never be! - Perish the thought! Once again the question in Greek was worded to elicit the strongest negative answer Paul could offer. This is the 10th and last time in Romans, Paul responded, me genoito [Romans 3:4, 6, 31 6:2,15 7:7,13 9:14 11:1]

But - always pause to ponder this term of contrast. What is Paul contrasting? 

Transgression (trespass) (3900)(paraptoma from para = aside + pipto = fall) is literally a falling aside or beside to stumble on something (so as to loose footing) and in its figurative ethical usage (all uses in the NT) it describes a "false step", a violation of moral standards or a deviation from living according to what has been revealed as the right way to live. Paraptoma is a false step out of the appointed way, a trespass on forbidden ground, a stepping out of line of true conduct, a deviation from truth and uprightness. Paraptoma describes what a person has done in transgressing the will and law of God by some false step or failure.

Salvation (4991) soteria from soter = Savior in turn from sozo = save, rescue, deliver) describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and peril. Salvation is a broader term in Greek than we often think of in English. Other concepts that are inherent in soteria include restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health and well being as well as preservation from danger of destruction.

Jesus had instructed Paul to turn to the Gentiles, Luke recording Paul's testimony that…

18 and I saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.' 19 "And I said, 'Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in Thee. 20 'And when the blood of Thy witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the cloaks of those who were slaying him.' 21 "And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'" (Acts 22:18-21)

Luke records the fulfillment (3 times) of our Lord's prophetic charge to Paul, a charge to change direction from the Jews to the Gentiles…

And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly (during the first missionary journey when they were at Pisidian Antioch, on the Sabbath day in the synagogue) and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 "For thus the Lord has commanded us, 'I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU SHOULD BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.'" 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:42,46-48)

And (Paul was at Corinth reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath trying to persuade Jews and Greeks) when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be upon your own heads! I am clean. From now on I shall go to the Gentiles." (Acts 18:6)

And (during his house arrest in Rome Paul was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God, and trying to persuade the leading men of the Jews concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets) some (of the Jews) were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; 27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; LEST THEY SHOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I SHOULD HEAL THEM."' 28 "Let it be known to you therefore, that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen." (Acts 28:24-28)

In turning to the Gentiles Paul was fulfilling these purposes of God. Paul followed this procedure all through his missionary labors, first going to the Jews, and when they rejected the gospel, to the Gentiles, until finally in his first Roman imprisonment, he abandoned Israel entirely and turned to the Gentiles.

The severe stumbling of which Paul speaks is, of course, Israel’s rejection of her Messiah, Jesus Christ. But Israel’s rejection of God’s own Son and His kingdom did not thwart God’s plan. On the contrary (but), the Lord used that terrible transgression of His people to accomplish His own divine objective.

The very people for whom the kingdom was intended and to whom the kingdom was offered will be shut out of the kingdom. Individual Jews who reject their Messiah will be banned and sent permanently “into the outer darkness,” (Mt8:12) but the unbelieving nation shall one day believe and be restored. In the meanwhile, because of their rejection of the kingdom, God has offered the kingdom, and the salvation it represents, to a people called out from among the Gentiles.

Although the widespread salvation of Gentiles came about because Israel as a nation refused her Savior, that extension of grace was not an afterthought with God. From His first calling of Abraham, it was God’s intent that His chosen people should be the instruments of bringing salvation to the Gentiles. “In you,” the Lord told Abraham, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Ge 12:3). In the covenant at Sinai God called Israel to be His witnesses, His spiritual ambassadors to the world as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex 19:6). Like their Messiah, “the tribes of Jacob, and … the preserved ones of Israel” were to be “a light of the nations so that [God’s] salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa 49:6 Paul applied this to himself in Acts 13:47).

TO MAKE THEM JEALOUS: eis to parazelosai (AAN) autous:

Make…Jealous (3863)(parazeloo from pará = to the point of, unto, implying movement toward a certain point + zeloo = to desire, be zealous) literally means to stimulate alongside and speaks of of emotional excitement. The idea is thus to excite to rivalry or to provoke to emulation and so to make jealous. This can have a good sense in Romans (Ro 10:19; Ro 11:11; Ro 11:14) where the idea is to make the Jews jealous and want salvation (Yeshua) as their possession and experience. Does my life make anyone (Jew or Gentile) "jealous" and stir in them a desire for Jesus?  Parazeloo is a Greek infinitive with a preposition (eis = unto, toward) and carries the idea of purpose. It is of interest that parazeloo is used only in 6 verses in the Septuagint but 3 times in Psalm 37 (Ps. 37:1; Ps. 37:7; Ps. 37:8). In both classical Greek and the Septuagint parazēloō means “provoke to jealousy” or, less frequently, “to emulate, imitate” (Liddell-Scott). Parazeloo is used to describe God's reaction to his people's pursuit of idols, which in effect makes Him jealous (anthropomorphically speaking). (Dt 32:21, 1 Ki 14:22, Ps 78:58, 1 Cor 10:22). Parazeloo is used in a negative sense in 1 Cor 10:22 where it means to provoke to anger. BDAG adds regarding the use in 1 Cor 10:22 says "With sharp satire Paul says that God has reason to be jealous if the Corinthians engage in civil feasts where sacrifice is made to mere secondary divinities (1 Cor 10:20), which is designedly ambiguous, referring either to deity generically (a god) or to the supreme deity of biblical tradition. The Corinthians are in effect insulting ‘the Lord’." Do we really understand the negative effect our idolatry (we all have them in some form or degree) has on our relationship and communion with the Lord God, Who Alone is God? 

Parazeloo in NT - make...jealous(2), move to jealousy(1), jealousy(1).- Ro 10:19; Ro 11:11; Ro 11:14; 1 Co. 10:22

Parazeloo - Dt. 32:21 = "They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols." 1 Ki. 14:22 = "Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy"; Ps. 37:1; Ps. 37:7; Ps. 37:8; Ps. 78:58 = "For they provoked Him with their high places."

God’s purpose for this hardening is to use it as a means of converting many Gentiles, which in turn will be a means of converting many of the hardened Jews themselves. Thus paradoxically the ultimate goal and result of the hardening is the salvation of those who are hardened! The sequence of events is as follows: the bulk of the Jews reject the gospel; they are hardened; as a consequence Gentiles are saved; as a consequence of this, many of the hardened Jews are made jealous and are saved; and as a consequence of this, even more Gentiles are saved!

Although jealousy is essentially a negative term, God’s intention was for Israel’s jealousy of Gentiles to be a positive stimulus to draw His people back to Himself. But Jews had long disdained Gentiles ("dogs"), whom they considered to be outside the boundaries of God’s grace. To be told they had lost their special relationship to God was distressing enough, but to be told that God offered that forfeited relationship to Gentiles was a bitter pill indeed.

But God’s ultimate purpose in setting Israel aside was not to drive His people further away but to bring them back to Himself. He wanted to make them face their own sin and its consequences, to sense their alienation from Jehovah and to recognize their need for the salvation that He now offered the Gentiles. As Jews see the Lord pour out the kind of blessings on the Gentile church that once were reserved for Israel, some of them desire that blessing for themselves and come to Jesus Christ, their spurned Messiah, in repentance and faith. That happens with individual Jews throughout this age, and at the end of the Great Tribulation will happen to the whole nation (i.e., to the one third who are refined and purified and turn to their Messiah for salvation by faith)

One of the great ironies of history is the relationship of God’s "chosen people" (the Jews) to the rest of humanity (the Gentiles). Anti–Semitism by Gentiles has often been paralleled by, and sometimes precipitated by, the anti-Gentile sentiments of Jews. It therefore was-and no doubt still is for many Jews-an enormous leap from a negative contempt of Gentiles to a positive jealousy of them. Yet that is precisely the leap the Lord intends for them to make as a first step in bringing them back to Him.

What is the practical application of this truth to our lives today? It should be the desire of every Christian to manifest the spiritual realities of a transformed life that would draw unbelieving Jews to belief in our Lord and their Messiah, a witness that would tap their divinely inspired jealousy of Gentiles and be used to turn it to a divinely desired faith in His Son.

Unfortunately, the Christianity that Jews see in many professed, and even some genuine, Christians reflects little of the love and righteousness of Christ and of the salvation He brings. When they see Gentile Christians who are dishonest and immoral, and especially those who are anti-Semitic (yes, there is anti-Semitism in the church!) in the name of Christ (who was the supremely perfect Jew), they are deeply and understandably offended and repulsed. They are anything but jealous of such Gentiles, and they distance themselves still further from the Lord instead of drawing closer to Him.