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Verse 4

Who are Israelites ,.... Which were their national name, as descended from Jacob, whose name was Israel; and it was accounted a very honourable one; see Philemon 3:5 ; and the very name they bore gave the apostle some concern that they should be cut off; and then he proceeds to enumerate the several distinguishing favours and privileges they had been partakers of:

to whom pertaineth the adoption ; not that special adoption, which springs from eternal predestination, is a blessing of the covenant of grace, comes through the redemption of Christ, and is received and enjoyed only by believers in him; for all that were Israelites, were not in this sense the children of God; but national adoption is here meant, by which the whole body of the people, as nation, were the sons of God, his firstborn:

and the glory ; either the ark of the covenant, which is so called in Psalm 63:2 , according to Kimchi; or the clouds in the tabernacle and temple, which were called the glory of the Lord, and were symbols of his presence, the same with the Shekinah; and so Aben Ezra interprets power, the ark, and glory, the Shekinah, Psalm 63:2 ,

and the covenants ; not the two Testaments, Old and New, but the covenant of circumcision, made with Abraham their father, and the covenant at Sinai they entered into with the Lord; some copies, and the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, read, "the covenant":

and the giving, of the law : מתן תורה , a way of speaking the F24 T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 116. 1. Zohar in Lev. fol. 5. 2, 3. Jews make use of when they take notice of this privilege; for it was peculiarly given to them with great solemnity by God himself, through the disposition of angels into the hands of Moses the mediator, and by him to them; and on account of this, they reckoned themselves more beloved of God than the rest of mankind F25 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 103. 2. .

and the service of God ; or "the service", as in the Greek text. So the Jews F26 Vid. Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 2. are used to call it עבודה , "the service"; and false worship is called by them עבודה זרה , "strange service", which is the title of one of their Misnic tracts; and here it signifies the whole worship of God, in the whole compass of it, sacrifices, prayer, praise, &c.; daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly:

and the promises ; both temporal and spiritual, especially such as related to the Messiah, and which now had their accomplishment.

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