Day 53 – Romans 9:13 – Why did God hate Esau?

Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:13)

I have trouble with this Passage.  It hits me in the gut every time I read it!  God is love (See 1 John 4:8), so how could God hate Esau? Neither of these twins were lovable. Jacob was a deceiver, and Esau had no self-control because he sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. But as we talked about yesterday God used Jacob and Esau to demonstrate the Biblical Doctrine of Election.   Isaac would have chosen his first-born, Esau, for the Promise, but it was God who chose Isaac.  The question is:  Did God have to hate Esau as a result?

Some commentaries say that Paul didn’t really mean “hate;” he meant loved less.  After all Luke 14:26 says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.” Did the apostles hate their fathers or just love them less than God?  Did James and John hate their father, Zebedee?  I don’t think so. When Jesus called James and John, they had just finished fishing with Zebedee.  God also calls us to love one another if we are to be his disciples. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Luke 14:26 and John 13:35 are paradoxical statements. Vocabulary.com states that “Paradoxical statements may seem completely self-contradictory, but they can be used to reveal deeper truths.”  There are many paradoxes in the Bible.  God wants us to think about what He is saying.

Some commentaries say that Paul didn’t really mean “hate;” he meant loved less.  After all Luke 14:26 says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.” Did the apostles hate their fathers or just love them less than God?  Did James and John hate their father, Zebedee?  I don’t think so. When Jesus called James and John, they had just finished fishing with Zebedee.  God also calls us to love one another if we are to be his disciples. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Luke 14:26 and John 13:35 are paradoxical statements. Vocabulary.com states that “Paradoxical statements may seem completely self-contradictory, but they can be used to reveal deeper truths.”  There are many paradoxes in the Bible.  God wants us to think about what He is saying.

The original passage by the prophet, Malachi, in the Old Testament says, “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” (Malachi 1:2b-3) Some commentaries say that God is not talking about the individual persons of Jacob and Esau; instead He is talking about the places of Israel and Edom.  (Esau was the Father of Edom, just as Jacob was the Father of Israel.) Then, it was the country of Edom, not Esau, that God hated.  God blessed Israel and turned Edom “into a wasteland and left his (Esau or Edom’s) inheritance to the desert jackals.”

This Romans Passage was taken from a Passage in Malachi which uses the verb, have hated.  Does that mean at some point in the future God will love Esau?  I don’t know for sure, but it is my belief that after Jesus judges Esau, Esau will fall to his knees and repent and recognize and believe that he needs Jesus to be his Savior and that God will love him then, as he loves all Believers.

Another take could be that God defines hate differently than we do.  Could hate be the absence of love as hell is the absence of God?  If that is true, sometimes we hate those that we love.  Then, whenever we’re not acting in love toward someone, we’re hating them.  Abandonment would be an act of hate.  We don’t feel like we’re hating our parents or friends or family when we don’t talk to them for weeks or months or years, but maybe, in God’s eyes, if we aren’t loving them, we’re actually hating them.  Jesus’ disciples had to abandon their families for long periods of time to physically follow Him.  They didn’t have cell phones.

I don’t know the answer to why God hated Esau, perhaps it was just for a moment. God doesn’t tell us.  Decide for yourselves.  This Passage makes us think.  One thing we can learn from it is to put God first, and try to show love at all times. Even though we deserve God’s hate, He loves us!  He never abandons us!

Day 53 – Romans 9:13 – Why did God hate Esau?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top