John MacArthur

Fallenness

Ten times Exodus refers to God’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart (e.g., 4:21; 7:3,13), and other times to Pharaoh’s hardening his own heart (e.g., 8:32; 9:34). This does not mean that God actively created unbelief or some other evil in Pharaoh’s heart (see James 1:13), but rather that He withdrew all the divine influences that ordinarily acted as a restraint to sin and allowed Pharaoh’s wicked heart to pursue its sin unabated (see also Romans 1:24,26,28).

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Romans 9:18.

Raised Up

“Raised you up” refers to bringing forward or lifting up and was often used to describe the rise of leaders and countries to positions of prominence (see Habakkuk 1:6 and Zechariah 11:16). Paul is using Pharaoh as the context, however it is applicable to any, that although a leader or nation may think that their position and actions are of their own free choice to accomplish their own purposes, in reality they are serving God’s purposes.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Romans 9:17.