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Thread: Why did God hate Esau?

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    Why did God hate Esau?

    This has always bothered me and that along with the doctrine of predestination was what started me really questioning my faith and led me down the road of de-conversion. There's a whole lot of other things about God that bother me now.

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    Its not about the two brothers...its about the nations that came from them:

    Adam Clarks bible commentary:

    Verse 12. The elder shall serve the younger
    These words, with those of Malachi, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, are cited by the apostle to prove, according to their typical signification, that the purpose of God, according to election, does and will stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; that is, that the purpose of God, which is the ground of that election which he makes among men, unto the honour of being Abraham's seed, might appear to remain unchangeable in him; and to be even the same which he had declared unto Abraham. That these words are used in a national and not in a personal sense, is evident from this: that, taken in the latter sense they are not true, for Jacob never did exercise any power over Esau, nor was Esau ever subject to him. Jacob, on the contrary, was rather subject to Esau, and was sorely afraid of him; and, first, by his messengers, and afterwards personally, acknowledged his brother to be his lord, and himself to be his servant; see Genesis 32:4;; 33:8,13. And hence it appears that neither Esau nor Jacob, nor even their posterities, are brought here by the apostle as instances of any personal reprobation from eternity: for, it is very certain that very many, if not the far greatest part, of Jacob's posterity were wicked, and rejected by God; and it is not less certain that some of Esau's posterity were partakers of the faith of their father Abraham.

    From these premises the true sense of the words immediately following, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, Malachi 1:2,3, fully appears; that is, that what he had already cited from Moses concerning the two nations, styled by the names of their respective heads, Jacob and Esau, was but the same in substance with what was spoken many years after by the Prophet Malachi. The unthankful Jews had, in Malachi's time, either in words or in their heart, expostulated with God, and demanded of him wherein he had loved them? I have loved you, saith the Lord: yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Malachi 1:2-5. To this the Lord answers: Was not Esau Jacob's brother? Yet I loved Jacob and hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.

    1. It incontestably appears from these passages that the prophet does not speak at all of the person of Jacob or Esau, but of their respective posterities. For it was not Esau in person that said, We are impoverished; neither were his mountains nor heritage laid waste. Now, if the prophet speaks neither of the person of the one nor of the person of the other, but of their posterity only, then it is evident that the apostle speaks of them in the same way. (more at the link)

    BTW Esau was blessed by God: Genesis 33:8-16, Genesis 36

    Hope this helps.
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Well, I hadn't ever though of it that way. But, even if God isn't specifically talking about the person of Esau but rather his posterity. It still stands that God chooses to bless one and hate the other. Why does God do this? How does he make this distinction?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    Well, I hadn't ever though of it that way. But, even if God isn't specifically talking about the person of Esau but rather his posterity. It still stands that God chooses to bless one and hate the other. Why does God do this? How does he make this distinction?
    Romans is quoting the OT and like the poster above mentioned, it is concerning the nations.

    Yet, there is more to it than that. Esau and Jacob came from Isaac. Each believer has two natures too. That of the flesh (Esau) and that of the promise/spirit (Jacob). The flesh is always first and the spirit second in the order of things. Adam was first, then Jesus. It was not so much king Saul, the first king, but King David, the second king. It's not so much the old covenant but the new covenant. It is a pattern with God throughout the ages. First the flesh then the spirit. But it is the spirit he loves.

    So when I was saved, the old sinful nature in me is hated by God. But me, he loved. And the new spirit he puts in me he loves. So my sinful nature, he hates and I hate. But me, he loves. And he hates those things and loves those things before they ever do good or evil.

    When I was still a sinner, he loved me and gave himself for me. He loved the whole world and gave his only son.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    Well, I hadn't ever though of it that way. But, even if God isn't specifically talking about the person of Esau but rather his posterity. It still stands that God chooses to bless one and hate the other. Why does God do this? How does he make this distinction?
    Esau was blessed by God...but Jacob stole his birthright. At any rate read on and see if this helps clear things up a little more..I know its alot to read:

    Adam Clark's bible commentary:
    2. If neither the prophet nor the apostle speaks of the persons of Jacob or Esau, but of their posterity, then it is evident that neither the love of God to Jacob, nor the hatred of God to Esau, were such, according to which the eternal states of men, either in happiness or misery, are to be determined; nor is there here any Scriptural or rational ground for the decree of unconditional personal election and reprobation, which, comparatively, modern times have endeavoured to build on these scriptures. For, 1. It is here proved that Esau is not mentioned under any personal consideration, but only as the head of his posterity.

    2. The testimony of Scripture amply proves that all Esau's posterity were not, even in this sense, reprobated; nor all Jacob's posterity elected.

    3. Neither does that service, or subjugation to Jacob, which the Divine oracle imposed on Esau, import any such reprobation as some contend for; as the servant may be elected, while the master himself is in a state of reprobation.

    4. Were it even granted that servitude did import such a reprobation, yet it is certain that Esau, in person, never did serve Jacob. 5. Nor does the hatred of God against Esau import any such reprobation of the person of Esau, because it is demonstrable that it related, not to Esau personally, but to his posterity. 6. The scope of the apostle's reasoning is to show that God is the sovereign of his own ways, has a right to dispense his blessings as he chooses, and to give salvation to mankind, not in the ways of their devising, but in that way that is most suitable to his infinite wisdom and goodness.

    Therefore, 1. He chose the Jewish people from all others, and revealed himself to them. Thus they were the elect, and all the nations of mankind reprobate.

    2. When the fulness of the time came he revealed himself also to the Gentiles, who gladly received the Gospel: and the Jews rejecting it, were cast off. Thus the elect became reprobate, and the reprobate, elect.

    3. He published to all mankind that the pardon of sin could and should be obtained ONLY by faith in his Son Jesus, and not by any obedience to any law. And the Jews, the descendants of Jacob, who rejected this way of salvation, became precisely like the Edomites, the descendants of Esau; they builded, but God pulled down; their mountains and heritage are NOW laid waste for the dragons of the wilderness; and they properly may now be called the border of wickedness, a people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever: they have rejected the Lord that bought them, and so have brought upon themselves swift destruction.

    7. That no personal, absolute, eternal reprobation of Esau can have been intended, we learn from this; that he was most amply reconciled to his brother, who had so deeply wronged and offended him, by depriving him of his birthright and his blessing: and his having forgiven his brother his trespasses, was no mean proof that God had forgiven him. See our Lord's words, Matthew 6:14. Therefore there can be assigned no competent ground of his damnation, much less of his personal reprobation from all eternity.
    **********************************
    The descendant of Esau, in other words, rejected God and did terrible things. Though the descendant of Jacob became the nation of Israel eventually...the 'chosen people' the Jews (the bible starts out referring to them as Hebrews), they end up rejecting God's Son.

    Jacob ended up having twelve sons...each son represented a tribe of Judea (boy I hope my memory is getting this right...) One of those son was Joseph...the one that had the God given dreams...the one Jacob made a brightly colored robe for that his brothers were jealous of. you know the story?

    Many times the people in the OT show the character of a nation..its more then just being about them personally. Its all intertwined...pretty interesting I think. I think God actually like Esau..he was a rough guy, big and hairy and tough and a hunter where as Jacob was more nerdy...(not that God doesn't like nerds... He was just weaker...started out that way but later he matures and becomes a stronger man). But he did a very bad thing in listening to his mother and pretending to be his brother to get the blessings from their dying father.
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    Romans is quoting the OT and like the poster above mentioned, it is concerning the nations.

    Yet, there is more to it than that. Esau and Jacob came from Isaac. Each believer has two natures too. That of the flesh (Esau) and that of the promise/spirit (Jacob). The flesh is always first and the spirit second in the order of things. Adam was first, then Jesus. It was not so much king Saul, the first king, but King David, the second king. It's not so much the old covenant but the new covenant. It is a pattern with God throughout the ages. First the flesh then the spirit. But it is the spirit he loves.

    So when I was saved, the old sinful nature in me is hated by God. But me, he loved. And the new spirit he puts in me he loves. So my sinful nature, he hates and I hate. But me, he loves. And he hates those things and loves those things before they ever do good or evil.

    When I was still a sinner, he loved me and gave himself for me. He loved the whole world and gave his only son.
    You explained that better then I did! I am still trying to wake up and my memory hasn't all the way kicked in yet (need more coffee). That is a great example though! thanks!
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    Romans is quoting the OT and like the poster above mentioned, it is concerning the nations.

    Yet, there is more to it than that. Esau and Jacob came from Isaac. Each believer has two natures too. That of the flesh (Esau) and that of the promise/spirit (Jacob). The flesh is always first and the spirit second in the order of things. Adam was first, then Jesus. It was not so much king Saul, the first king, but King David, the second king. It's not so much the old covenant but the new covenant. It is a pattern with God throughout the ages. First the flesh then the spirit. But it is the spirit he loves.

    So when I was saved, the old sinful nature in me is hated by God. But me, he loved. And the new spirit he puts in me he loves. So my sinful nature, he hates and I hate. But me, he loves. And he hates those things and loves those things before they ever do good or evil.

    When I was still a sinner, he loved me and gave himself for me. He loved the whole world and gave his only son.
    And this is spot on Beaker.

    God has many situations He uses to reveal himself to us. There are so many patterns to show that it's the spirit, the portion with a heart for God, that is seen by God.

    Another example is Adam and Christ. Ever hear of Christ referred to as the Second Adam?
    Seek ye FIRST the kingdom.
    Not second or third, but first.
    Only when all else pales to God, when He receives all glory,
    when He is the source of all hope,
    when His love is received and freely given,
    holding not to the world but to the promise to come,
    will all other things be added unto to you.


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    A god without mystery and who can be thoroughly understood and morally evaluated by creatures of its creation (who nonetheless exhibit imperfect and temporal facets of being with a skewed bent toward self-evident evil), cannot be logically defended as a supreme being.

    As a necessary absolute, the Christian God defines holiness and has mercy on whom He has mercy, loves whom He loves, and hates whom He hates. The doctrines of God's grace and the necessity of His sovereignty, holiness, and supremacy over all He has created may rightly seem bothersome or curious and paradoxical to any non-God entities, and indeed must seem out-of-sorts to creatures exhibiting self-evident evil tendencies.

    We can answer the question, "Why did God hate Esau?", but we can neither comprehend nor fully appreciate God's perspective on the matter, as a necessity of created being. It doesn't stop us trying, and for my part the best answer is, "After the holy counsel of His divine will". Does this make sense to us? Does it violate our concepts of either holiness or fairness? As a Christian I reasonably proffer that it indeed makes perfect sense, establishes holiness, and mercifully enhances justice with divine love.

    It may seem trite or perpetually offensive - often such reactions are consistent with disparate world-views, regardless of one's respectful intent- but, just as many atheists or agnostics view such Christian defenses as insufficient, I, as a Christian, view the sufficiency of such defense as somewhat beyond the normal parameters of non-Christian comprehension.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    Romans is quoting the OT and like the poster above mentioned, it is concerning the nations.

    Yet, there is more to it than that. Esau and Jacob came from Isaac. Each believer has two natures too. That of the flesh (Esau) and that of the promise/spirit (Jacob). The flesh is always first and the spirit second in the order of things. Adam was first, then Jesus. It was not so much king Saul, the first king, but King David, the second king. It's not so much the old covenant but the new covenant. It is a pattern with God throughout the ages. First the flesh then the spirit. But it is the spirit he loves.

    So when I was saved, the old sinful nature in me is hated by God. But me, he loved. And the new spirit he puts in me he loves. So my sinful nature, he hates and I hate. But me, he loves. And he hates those things and loves those things before they ever do good or evil.

    When I was still a sinner, he loved me and gave himself for me. He loved the whole world and gave his only son.
    I have to admit the idea of a God that loves me, has my name written on his hand, knit me together in my mother's womb and has all my days written down is appealing. I think I would like a personal relationship with a God like that. But he so quickly goes from love to hate (eternal damnation) for not coming to him the correct way (through Jesus).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    I have to admit the idea of a God that loves me, has my name written on his hand, knit me together in my mother's womb and has all my days written down is appealing. I think I would like a personal relationship with a God like that. But he so quickly goes from love to hate (eternal damnation) for not coming to him the correct way (through Jesus).
    I wouldn't say it was 'quickly' by any means...

    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.


    He waits patiently for us to come to Him. Christ died for our sins, so we can go to God. All you have to do is accept the payment Christ made for you.
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    I have to admit the idea of a God that loves me, has my name written on his hand, knit me together in my mother's womb and has all my days written down is appealing. I think I would like a personal relationship with a God like that. But he so quickly goes from love to hate (eternal damnation) for not coming to him the correct way (through Jesus).
    he doesn't move from love to hate in that way. We are condemned already. The sentence is passed. He comes to us as those that are condemned, not to condemn us further, but to save us from that condemnation.

    It is like going on death row and setting death row inmates free.

    John 3:16-18

    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    KJV

    God didn't send Jesus to condemn us for not loving him or because of our sins or short comings. God sent Jesus to deliver us from those things. It's his heart to save us, not to condemn. We are already condemned for those things we have done wrong.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Thank you for your response moonglow, I think I can move beyond the Esau question now. But your response brings another question to mind that I'm not sure if I need to open a new thread, so I'll just post it here.

    Why did God choose one tribe of people over all the other tribes of people of the Earth? They weren't a particularly good people, even after seeing some amazing miracles they would repeatedly turn away from God. I mean, God's plan as a whole seems absurd to me (and I know this can bring forth the argument that a mere mortal mind cannot know the mind of God). But God's plan was to pick out a small tribe of people and show them his glory, he would slaughter other tribes of people (who seemingly had no better/worse qualities than Israel), after all this God finally decides to become human and kill himself for the human race to show his love for his creation. Could he not do any better? And this plan is from a God who is infinitely smarter and more powerful than I am. I just don't get it.

    NOTE: I know most of my questions are not really answerable but when I was a christian a lot of these questions would surface and I would just brush them away, my faith was already so small I didn't want to let anything in that might wash it all away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grit View Post
    A god without mystery and who can be thoroughly understood and morally evaluated by creatures of its creation (who nonetheless exhibit imperfect and temporal facets of being with a skewed bent toward self-evident evil), cannot be logically defended as a supreme being.

    As a necessary absolute, the Christian God defines holiness and has mercy on whom He has mercy, loves whom He loves, and hates whom He hates. The doctrines of God's grace and the necessity of His sovereignty, holiness, and supremacy over all He has created may rightly seem bothersome or curious and paradoxical to any non-God entities, and indeed must seem out-of-sorts to creatures exhibiting self-evident evil tendencies.

    We can answer the question, "Why did God hate Esau?", but we can neither comprehend nor fully appreciate God's perspective on the matter, as a necessity of created being. It doesn't stop us trying, and for my part the best answer is, "After the holy counsel of His divine will". Does this make sense to us? Does it violate our concepts of either holiness or fairness? As a Christian I reasonably proffer that it indeed makes perfect sense, establishes holiness, and mercifully enhances justice with divine love.

    It may seem trite or perpetually offensive - often such reactions are consistent with disparate world-views, regardless of one's respectful intent- but, just as many atheists or agnostics view such Christian defenses as insufficient, I, as a Christian, view the sufficiency of such defense as somewhat beyond the normal parameters of non-Christian comprehension.
    Your post, grit, seems alot like the way I used to think. But, I cannot accept a God who is all-loving and wills that no man should perish but yet he chooses some men to be saved and some men to have hard hearts. If I could actually correspond with God and get some answers I may be able to get past this problem. But, I've never seen God and I've never heard God audibly. I have a "conscience" that I was told was God's voice or the Holy Spirit guiding me, but never has that little voice talked back to me and answered my questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
    Thank you for your response moonglow, I think I can move beyond the Esau question now. But your response brings another question to mind that I'm not sure if I need to open a new thread, so I'll just post it here.

    Why did God choose one tribe of people over all the other tribes of people of the Earth? They weren't a particularly good people, even after seeing some amazing miracles they would repeatedly turn away from God. I mean, God's plan as a whole seems absurd to me (and I know this can bring forth the argument that a mere mortal mind cannot know the mind of God). But God's plan was to pick out a small tribe of people and show them his glory, he would slaughter other tribes of people (who seemingly had no better/worse qualities than Israel), after all this God finally decides to become human and kill himself for the human race to show his love for his creation. Could he not do any better? And this plan is from a God who is infinitely smarter and more powerful than I am. I just don't get it.

    NOTE: I know most of my questions are not really answerable but when I was a christian a lot of these questions would surface and I would just brush them away, my faith was already so small I didn't want to let anything in that might wash it all away.
    I really like this question. God had to start somewhere. So he picked a person and from that man, he brought about a nation. And you are right. It had little to do with the people themselves. But his intent was to bless the whole world through them, not just to bless them.

    Gen 12:2
    2 And I will make you a great nation,
    And I will bless you,
    And make your name great;
    And so you shall be a blessing;
    NASB

    So we see, God blessed Abraham and made him into a great nation and from that, Abraham was to be a blessing.

    I suppose that's a good start to at least one question. Perhaps we can discuss your other questions as we move forward.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    he doesn't move from love to hate in that way. We are condemned already. The sentence is passed. He comes to us as those that are condemned, not to condemn us further, but to save us from that condemnation.

    It is like going on death row and setting death row inmates free.

    John 3:16-18

    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    KJV

    God didn't send Jesus to condemn us for not loving him or because of our sins or short comings. God sent Jesus to deliver us from those things. It's his heart to save us, not to condemn. We are already condemned for those things we have done wrong.
    Who condemns us then?

    I realize I am not a good person, even as much as I try to be. I've hated people in my heart, sometimes for dumb reasons and I've lusted in my heart. So, I've committed murder and adultery. And I realize that God is holy, but even though I realize I deserve punishment, punishment for all eternity seems a little severe (and not much love there from God).

    As a father, my children may make me angry and I punish them for their transgressions but it's never forever. But, the bible tells in a few places that as a father, if I know how to care for my children, how much more does my heavenly father care for me (or maybe it was just a passage about providing and feeding my family). Yet, God will eternally damn his own children. Where's the love?

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