Unlimited: Jacob I Loved

Mar 10, 2023 541

Unlimited: Jacob Have I Loved

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

We don’t like verses like Romans 9:13. They make us feel uncomfortable. We don’t like to read that God ‘hates’ anyone because our God is a God of love, mercy and grace. But here is that terrible word, plain and simple: “Esau I hated.”

There are some important things to understand about this statement. The first one is that God isn’t using the word “hate” here in an emotional sense. God has no malice towards anyone. The best way to translate this word is probably in the sense of rejection. God accepted Jacob and rejected Esau. That’s what Paul is essentially saying.

God accepted Jacob and rejected Esau.

In Hebrew, this is an idiom that doesn’t mean at all what it means in English. To “hate” simply means to love someone less in comparison to someone else. Consider how Jesus used the word in Luke 14:26.

In Rom. 9:13, Paul is referring to nations and not individuals (See Gen. 25:23 quoted in Rom. 9:11-12; Mal. 1:1-5 quoted in Rom. 9:13; and Jer. 18:1-10 alluded to in Rom. 9:21.)  

What Paul is saying in this verse is that God, who loves everyone (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2, Rom. 5:8), preferred the nation which came from Jacob over that which came from Esau, as the nation through whom the Messiah would come.

Spiritual Application

Read Luke 14:26 in its context. How do you understand it?

Eliezer Gonzalez

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Okurut Martin

Mar 11, 2023

Well said. Thanks.


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