God’s statement that Jacob was His favorite and Esau was His least begs the question: why?
Paul quotes Scripture when he tells the Romans, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” [From Romans 9:13]
However, the Bible teaches that God unconditionally loves each and every one of his children. Did He change His mind and decide to hate certain people while loving others? Is God making a logical error here?
To what end did God have such strong feelings toward one of the twins, Jacob, while despising the other, Esau?
The Word of Prophecy Spoken to Rebekah
Twenty years after Isaac married Rebekah, the couple still had no offspring. God heard Isaac’s prayer. Rebekah ended up having a twin pregnancy. After experiencing battle within her own womb, she prayed to the Lord to help her understand what was going on with her unborn children.
You’re carrying two separate nations inside of you; one will emerge as the dominant power, while the other will be relegated to a subservient role. Referenced from Genesis 25:23
In other words, does this suggest that Jehovah had already decided to detest one man and adore the other long before their birth? God did not, however, express hatred for Esau the person. Malachi 1:2-3, from which Paul took his verses, was written long after Esau was born.
Place of Election
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or evil, she was told, “the elder will serve the younger.” This was done so that God’s purpose in election may stand: not by deeds, but by him who calls (Romans 9:11-12)
That Jacob was picked had nothing to do with his merits. To elect one brother to carry on the family line and give birth to the nation from which Christ would be sent to earth, God only had to pick one of the brothers.
Esau trades his birthright for a bowl of soup.
As Payback for Esau’s Joke about His Birthright
You are loved, God declares. “But how have you loved us?” you ask. “ Could it be that Esau was not Jacob’s brother?” asks the Lord. However, I have cherished Jacob while despising Esau, and I have left his hill country a wasteland and his inheritance to desert jackals. Although we have been defeated, we will rise from the ashes,” Edom may declare. They can construct whatever they want, but the Lord says, “I will destroy it.” As long as they remain in the Lord’s wrath, they will be known as the Wicked Land. You’ll be able to look at it and proclaim, “Great is the Lord, even beyond the borders of Israel!” (1 Mal. 1:4–5)
Divine recognition was symbolized by the birthright. Esau’s contempt for the privileges bestowed on him as the firstborn was an affront to the Most High. According to Malachi, the territory of Seir, which Esau ruled over, was a barren wasteland.
Disagreement between the two males began after Esau sold his inheritance. Their paths diverged after they parted ways, and their fates ultimately diverged. Even though God nonetheless formed Esau into a nation (Genesis 36), the stubborn man was doomed to lead a corrupt land because of his sinful character.
Both Esau’s rejected inheritance and Isaac’s benediction were distinct. Esau’s sale of his birthright for a bowl of stew represented the older son’s entitlement to twice as much property. His behavior demonstrates that he did not respect the inheritance he had been given.
The spiritual inheritance of the Lord’s covenant with Abraham, which Jacob received through Isaac instead of Esau, was the establishment of the country of Israel. The promise made to Rebekah has come true.
Jacob and his wives and children fled Laban, and on the way, they ran into Esau. Fearing his brother’s vengeance, he sought to assuage his anger. Because Jacob, his wives, and their children bowed before Esau, we can see that the prophecy that “the older would serve the younger” had not yet come to pass.
It appears that Esau forgiven Jacob for his lie now that he was no longer angry with him.
Cause of Rejection
Israel abandoned their plan to march through Edom because the latter refused to allow them pass through their area. Numb. 20:21
Obadiah made a prediction of doom for the Esau family because of these sins.
You will be covered in humiliation for what you did to your brother Jacob, and you will be wiped out completely as a result. You were no different from the other foreigners who invaded Jerusalem’s walls on the day you stood apart and watched as they looted his possessions and cast lots for the city. You shouldn’t take joy in your brother’s misery or the devastation of the people of Judah or make too much of yourself during their time of need. In the day of my people’s disaster, you should not storm their fortified strongholds, take pleasure in their misery, or plunder their possessions. You shouldn’t hang out at the intersection to kill their escapees or turn over their survivors while they’re in a jam. Obadiah 1:10–14.
When Israel’s brother nation, Edom, was mistreated, it led to universal condemnation for the entire country.
As time went on, Israel, too, turned its back on God, and like every other nation that did so, they eventually paid the price. In his epistle to the Romans, Paul explains that the Jews were excluded from the kingdom of heaven because they did not accept Jesus as their Messiah, while the Gentiles were welcomed in because of their confidence in Christ. The Jews have been extended the same invitation for some time now.
If the scroll of the Torah were written in Hebrew, in what language would Jesus have read it?
A Prophecy Realized
The offspring of Esau were already planted with the seed of discord, even if Jacob and Esau made up in the end (Genesis 33:10–11). Judgment on Edom is the theme of the entire book of Obadiah.
The prophecy that the older will serve the younger was fulfilled when, after the Jews returned from exile, they made slaves of the Idumeans (Esau’s descendants) and coerced them into adopting Jewish rituals. The end has come for the Edomites as a nation.
As the desert expanded, Israel prospered, and what was once Edom is today the abandoned, sand-covered tourist destination of Petra.
Due to these mandated religious practices, Herod the Great, whose mother was Nabataean, was forced to convert to Judaism.
Although Herod was king of Israel, he only did what he thought would benefit him personally. This was especially true of his many construction projects. There was no way he would submit to yet another monarch. To stop Christ (a descendant of Jacob) from becoming king, he plotted to have Him killed as a baby. There was still hostility between them.
Herod was not a true Israelite, thus he did not have a legitimate claim to the throne and had to be nominated by the Romans. Following Herod Agrippa II’s death, the Herodian dynasty’s control over Judea collapsed.
After witnessing his father’s sorrow and his brother’s wrath because of the deception, Jacob ran for his life. While traveling to Padan Aram, the Holy Spirit appeared to him in a dream and renewed God’s pact with Jacob’s offspring (Genesis 28:10-17).
On the other hand, Jacob still had to face the repercussions of his past deeds. Despite the fact that God will keep His vow and reward Jacob forever, Jacob nevertheless had to pay the price for his deceit. The old adage is true: we get back to us what we put in (Galatians 6:7-8).
He ran away from his brother and hid for twenty years out of fear for his life. After that, Laban tricked Jacob into marrying the wrong sister and altered his pay scale ten times (Genesis 31:41).
God could have carried out His promise to Rebekah in His own way, but she got in the way. Due of this, there was discord and discord among the family. Instead of repeating Sarah’s mistake, she should have realized that resisting God’s will always ends in calamity.
The Consequences of Faith and Repentance
God promised Abraham that the world would be blessed through his offspring. That’s why God isn’t limited to blessing just one nation, but rather all of humanity (Galatians 3:8).
As a result of Israel’s rejection of their Lord, the gospel was extended to the Gentiles.
The Father’s love for humanity is a reflection of His own goodness and not of any quality that humans possess in and of themselves. The Creator’s love for the Jewish people was not contingent on the fact that they were Abraham’s offspring; it was motivated by the fact that the Creator is good and desired to have all people know Him. He needed a people in order to deliver His Son to them. They started feeling superior because of who they picked, and they started trying to keep out the Gentiles. They were instructed by God that He could show mercy to anybody He wanted.
God’s bond with Jacob brought blessings despite Jacob’s transgressions. If we put our faith in Him, He blesses us even if we are flawed and sinful. God has made a pact with humanity that if we trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, we will be saved. Faith, not works, is the basis for our forgiveness and inheritance.
If you’re a follower of Christ, you’re a descendant of Abraham and a rightful heir to the land. That you may be mature and complete (Galatians 3:29)
It turns out that God loves everyone of us uniquely, but for a different reason. God’s statements about his affection for Israel and his loathing of Esau’s Edom were meant to describe the two nations, not the people who comprised them. Evil in Edom would be exposed and punished. Rahab and Ruth are only two examples of people from pagan cultures who found acceptance after turning to the living God in the Bible.
We can avoid disaster and pain by following the Holy Spirit’s guidance rather than trying to force His hand, as Rebekah and Jacob did.
He has far more insight than any of us.