The first query cum objection, "How could the physical nation of Israel fail if they were chosen?" has been responded with "Because they were disobedient and lacked faith".
Now the question is: "Then why did God even CHOOSE those jokers?? Did He FAIL in His criteria?? Wasn't the Chosen Race suppose to be of a 'new and improved' breed?!"
To which Paul brings up divine prophecy with regards to Jacob & Esau and their prosterities and demonstrates that God is completely sovereign with who He wishes to call or use for a particular service. The inherent quality of the object of divine choice doesn't determine God's election; He chooses whomever He wants.
The Israelites' (like Jacob's) selection as the chosen people was NOT due to any prior or foreseen superiority or inability on their part. It was SOVEREIGN grace, mercy and compassion which bestowed upon Israel their privileged status and special destiny. Therefore, the second hypothetical objection - that God should've chosen a 'superior' people to represent Him, that He is even bounded by such an obligation - is flawed at its premise.
No, God chooses whomever He likes. He disseminates His unique gifts and blessings according to His sovereign purposes in election (9:11), and not based on our deservedness or inherent worth. Here is where all Christians, whether of Arminian or Calvinist persuasions, join hands and hearts.
Yet having said that it must be emphasized that the divine sovereignity and purposiveness discussed in vs.10-14 have primarily in mind a corporate focus, not an individualistic one. Paul makes this very clear with quotes from Genesis and Malachi which I will set into their respective contexts below:
Gen 25:23, "The Lord said to Rebekah: 'Two NATIONS are in your womb, and two PEOPLES from within you will be separated; one PEOPLE will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.'"
Mal 1:2-3, "'I have loved you', says the Lord. But you ask, 'How have you loved us?' 'Was not Esau Jacob's brother?', the Lord says. 'Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritane to the desert jackals.'"
The above two passages will fail to make sense if studied through an individualistic framework (because for e.g. Esau never actually served Jacob at all - more on this later) and instead clearly indicate a NATIONAL context and indeed form the two 'borders' of the divine story for two peoples. It wouldn't even be going too far to say that Paul really wasn't concentrating much on Mr.J and Mr.E at all (let alone their salvation) when he wrote this!
Paul was talking about divine election regarding Jacob's and Esau's descendants i.e. Israel and Edom respectively (see Gen 36:43 for the link between Esau and Edom). Regarding that phrase, 'the older shall serve the younger':
Bruce (Tyndale Commentary), '63: "(Rom 9:12) relates to the long periods during which the Edomites were in bondage to Israel or Judah".
1Sam 14:47-48, "(Saul) fought against Israel's enemies on every side (which includes Edom)...wherever he turned, he inflicted punisment on them...".
2Sam 8:11-14, "King David dedicated the articles to the Lord...from all the nations he has subdued: Edom and Moab...He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David."
1Kings 11:16, "Joab and all the Israelites...destroyed all the men in Edom."
2Kings 14:7, "(Amaziah) was the one who defeated ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt..."
An elaboration on OT history may come later, but suffice for now:
The apostle was reminding his readers that God had sovereignly predestined
that Jacob's descendants would be the Chosen People and that this election
had NO BASIS in either the merit or de-merit of either him (Jacob) or his
Alright, let's continue with verses 14-16...