Romans 9:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 9:17, NIV: 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.'

Romans 9:17, ESV: For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Romans 9:17, KJV: For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Romans 9:17, NASB: For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'FOR THIS VERY REASON I RAISED YOU UP, IN ORDER TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE EARTH.'

Romans 9:17, NLT: For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, 'I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.'

Romans 9:17, CSB: For the Scripture tells Pharaoh, I raised you up for this reason so that I may display my power in you and that my name may be proclaimed in the whole earth.

What does Romans 9:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul continues to make the case that God is not unjust or "unfair" for choosing to give His mercy to one person and not another. He has offered two examples from Scripture so far. In the first case, God chose to give the covenant promises only to Abraham's son by Sarah and not the children of his other wives. Next, Paul showed that God chose Jacob over Esau while the twin boys were still in their mother's womb, having done nothing right or wrong to earn God's favor or rejection.

Those examples involve an "active" sense of God's mercy. He is not obligated to be merciful to anyone, so there is nothing unjust about God selecting only some to benefit from His grace. If grace was earned, it would not be grace (Romans 4:2–5; 11:6).

Now Paul references the Pharaoh of Israel's liberation from Egypt, with a quote from Exodus 9:16. This comes from God's words to Moses about what to say to Pharaoh before sending another plague. God wanted Pharaoh to know that He had raised Pharaoh—or Egypt—to power and prominence so that God could show His own, much greater, power in bringing Egypt to her knees. God's stated reason for doing this was that His own name would be proclaimed in all the earth.

In other words, God raised up Pharaoh and brought Pharaoh down for the sake of His own glory. This is meant to be understood in the context of Paul's upcoming remarks about a potter having the right to mold clay for his own purposes (Romans 9:20).