Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Is for them. That is, for Israel, or the Israelites, named before. (Witham) — After having said that the greatest part of Israel was cast off by the Almighty, the apostle, to shew that he meant not to insult or provoke them, here testifies that he sympathizes in their misery, and with groans prays in their behalf to the Lord, that he would vouchsafe to grant them understanding, and open their eyes to the truth. Thus, though tenderly affected towards his countrymen, still he could not dissemble the truth, or flatter them in their incredulity, and hardness of heart. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. According to knowledge, &c. The Jews ran with ardour in the paths of the law, but saw not whither they were going; they followed the law, but did not know whither it conducted them. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. The justice of God. That is, the justice which God giveth us through Christ; as, on the other hand, the Jews’ own justice is that which they pretended to by their own strength, or by the observance of the law, without faith in Christ. (Challoner) — Seeking to establish their own. That is, for justice, or to be justified by their works, or the works of their written law. (Witham)
Ver. 5-7. Moses (Leviticus xviii. 12.[5.?]) wrote that the justice which is of the law….shall live by it. That is, shall have the recompense of a long temporal life, or even an everlasting life, by joining a faith in Christ their Redeemer, that was to come. But the justice which is of faith, speaketh thus, that is, Moses speaketh thus of it, (Deuteronomy xxx.) say not in thy heart, who shall ascend into heaven? &c. the apostle gives us the spiritual sense of the words, by adding, to bring Christ down, &c. The sense is, that it is now fulfilled in the new law, when Christ is come from heaven by his incarnation, and is also again risen from the abyss by his resurrection: and therefore,
Ver. 8. The word is near thee, is near to every one, who to be justified and saved, need but believe, and comply with the doctrine of the gospel which we preach, and make a confession or profession of it with his mouth; and then whether he hath been Jew or Gentile, he shall not be confounded. (Witham)
Ver. 9. Thou shalt be saved. To confess the Lord Jesus, and to call upon the name of the Lord, (ver. 13.) is not barely the professing of a belief in the person of Christ: but moreover implies a belief of his whole doctrine, and an obedience to his law; without which the calling of him Lord will save no man. (St. Matthew vii. 21.) (Challoner) — This passage must be understood like many others of this apostle, of a faith accompanied by a good-will ready to perform what faith says must be practised; as it is required in this very place, that what we believe in the heart, we should confess with our mouth. (Estius)
Ver. 14. &c. Or how shall they believe, &c. He shews the necessity of preachers, and that all true preachers must be sent, and have their mission from God. — Who hath believed our report?  Literally, our hearing? Some expound it thus: who hath believed the things we have heard from God, and which we have preached? The common interpretation is, who hath believed what he hath heard from us? (Witham)
Ver. 15. Unless they be sent. Here is an evident proof against all new teachers, who have all usurped to themselves the ministry, without any lawful mission, derived by succession from the apostles, to whom Christ said, (John xx. 21.) As my Father hath sent me, I also send you. (Challoner) — The Almighty sends people to preach two different ways. The one is extraordinary by internal inspiration, as was that of John the Baptist, and all the other prophets; in which case, however, extraordinary proofs must be given that they are sent by God; and the other is ordinary, which is derived from Christ, and from the apostles and their successors, whom he has appointed to be his vicegerents on earth. (Estius)
Ver. 18. But I say, have they not heard? He puts an objection, and by his answer shews the Jews are inexcusable in not believing, since the gospel has been preached all the world over, and in places where the Jews were, as it was foretold: and also because the Gentiles every where have believed; which even excites you Jews to jealousy against them, as Moses foretold: (Deuteronomy xxxii. 21.) that is, when you now see, that the Gentiles, whom you despised so much, by believing in Christ, have received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, of working miracles, of speaking tongues, of prophecy, &c. (Witham)
Ver. 19. A people whom you have always despised, as not being worthy to be numbered amongst mankind, I will make my beloved people. I will enrich with my graces those whom you have contemned; I will give them the grace of adoption, thus to stir you up to jealousy and rage. And in effect, what greater rage ever was there, than that of the Jews against the converted Gentiles? In persecution, the Jews were always most busy. Thus were the Jews plainly informed of the truth of the gospel, by the Gentiles converted before their face. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. After the preaching of Christ, and his apostles, after so many wonders wrought by our Saviour, he at last offers himself to the Jewish people, with stretched-out hands, and yet they cannot be induced to believe in him. They resist him as much as they can, thus verifying the prophecy of holy Simeon, that he should be set up as a sign to be contradicted. (Luke ii.) (Estius)
 Ver. 16. Quis credidit auditui nostro? te akoe emon?
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The end of the law is faith in Christ: which the Jews refusing to submit to, cannot be justified.
1 Brethren, the will of my heart, indeed, and my prayer to God, is for them unto salvation.
2 For I bear them witness, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted themselves to the justice of God.
4 For the end of the law is Christ, unto justice to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses wrote, that the justice which is of the law, *the man that shall do it, shall live by it.
6 But the justice which is of faith, speaketh thus: *Say not in thine heart: Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down:
7 Or who shall descend into the deep? that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.
8 But what saith the Scripture? *The word is near thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is the word of faith, which we preach:
9 That if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For, with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the Scripture saith: *Whosoever believeth in him, shall not be confounded.
12 For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek; for the same is Lord over all, rich to all that call upon him.
13 *For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher?
15 And how can they preach, unless they be sent? as it is written: *How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things?
16 But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: *Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 Faith then cometh by hearing: and hearing by the word of Christ.
18 But I say: Have they not heard?* Yes, verily, their sound went forth over all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world.
19 But I say: Hath not Israel known? First Moses saith: *I will provoke you to jealousy by that which is not a nation: by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Isaias is bold, and saith: *I was found by them that did not seek me: I appeared openly to them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he saith: *All the day long I have spread forth my hands to a people, that believeth not, and contradicteth me.
5: Leviticus xviii. 5.; Ezechiel xx. 11.
6: Deuteronomy xxx. 12.
8: Deuteronomy xxx. 14.
11: Isaias xxviii. 16.
13: Joel ii. 32.; Acts ii. 21.
15: Isaias lii. 7.; Nahum i. 15.
16: Isaias liii. 1.; John xii. 38.
18: Psalm xviii. 5.
19: Deuteronomy xxxii. 21.
20: Isaias lxv. 1.
21: Isaias lxv. 2.