Date: Mon Jun 02 1997 - 01:09:47 EDT
In Romans 9:6, Paul has the sentence often translated: "They are not all
Israel who are of Israel." The Greek, as is so often the case, looks nothing
like this! Rather, it reads: ou gar pantes hoi ex Israel, outoi Israel.
Something similar is the case in verses 7 and 8.
As I diagrammed the sentence, it occurred to me that I didn't know what ou
modified. Although John Piper, in his doctoral dissertation, argues that
"ou" modifies the implied verb in "outoi Israel," his construction doesn't
make sense to me. It makes the sentence read: "All the ones who are of
Israel, these are not Israel." But the context shows that Paul is NOT saying
that everyone descended from Israel is NOT Israel.
Option 2: Take "ou" with the first clause: "Not all who are of Israel."
The problem there is connecting it with the cumulative "outoi." "Not all
who are of Israel" = "these are Israel." I can't express my discomfort with
this rendition well, but it just doesn't sound right to me. It sounds like
saying, "Not everyone who is of Israel? Well, they are Israel." Doesn't
My gut feeling is that the "ou" at the start of the sentence really negates
the thought contained in the rest of the sentence: "NOT: All who are of
Israel, these are Israel." Or, supplying the ellipsis: "It is NOT the case
that all who are of Israel, these are Israel." And in verse 7: "It is NOT
the case that, because they are Abraham's seed, all are children." And in
verse 8: "It is NOT the case that the children of the flesh, these are
children of God."
Is my gut reaction way off base? Am I on the right track?
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