Romans 9:20

New Testament

17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted his will?” 20 But who indeed are you—a mere human being—to talk back to God? Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use? 22 But what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?

Siddur Ashkenaz


You are Adonoy, our God, in heaven and on earth, and in the highest heavens. In truth, You are First, and You are Last. And besides You there is no God. Gather the ones who hope in You from the four corners of the earth. Let all mankind recognize and know that You alone are the God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. Who is there among all Your handiwork, among the heavenly or earthly creatures, that can say to You, “What are You doing?” Our father in Heaven, deal graciously and kindly with us for the sake of Your great name which is called upon us and fulfill for us, Adonoy, our God that which is written: ‘At that time, I will bring you in and at that time, I will gather you: for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back your captivity before your eyes,’ said Adonoy.

 Notes and References

"... 'Hardens' (verse 18) is a hard word which easily provokes one to question the moral justice of the universe. 'If God makes me hard, why does he blame me for being hard?' [Paul] offers little comfort as, in his Jewish manner, he answers this question with a question. Who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? Lest one think [Paul] is being arrogant, he lets God himself be the one to whom objection must be made by quoting Isaiah in verse 20 and using the image of the potter and the clay from Jeremiah 18:6 in verse 21. Traditional Judaism takes the same viewpoint, as can be seen in this quotation from the weekday morning prayers in the siddur (prayerbook): 'Who is there among all the works of your hands, among those above or among those below, who could say to you, [God,] "What are you doing?"' ..."

Stern, David H. Jewish New Testament Commentary (p. 391) Jewish New Testament Publications, 1994

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