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Bible Q

Did God really ‘hate’ Esau, and if so why? (Romans 9:13)

There are things that God hates, as well as things that God loves (Deuteronomy 12:31; 16:22; Psalm 5:5; 11:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Isaiah 61:8; Jeremiah 12:8; 44:4; Hosea 9:15; Amos 5:21; 6:8; Zechariah 8:17).

Romans 9:13 is a quotation of Malachi 1:2-3, the last book in the Old Testament. By this time the twins Jacob and Esau are long dead; Malachi is talking about the nation that came from Jacob (that is, Israel) and the nation that came from Esau (that is, Edom) (Genesis 36:8-9).

“I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’ ” (Malachi 1:2-4)

Several earlier books explain some of the reasons for this hatred. The whole of Obadiah is about Edom, eg

Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. (Obadiah 10)

These dire prophecies concern Edom the nation – but individuals from Edom, or Egypt or England or any other country, can always come out of those countries to join the hope of Israel (Acts 28:20). Caleb, one of the most faithful men of his time, and Othniel, Israel’s first judge, both appear to be descended from Kenaz the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:15; Numbers 14:24; Judges 3:9-10).

As many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:27-29)

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