Romans 9:13
As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
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9:6-13 The rejection of the Jews by the gospel dispensation, did not break God's promise to the patriarchs. The promises and threatenings shall be fulfilled. Grace does not run in the blood; nor are saving benefits always found with outward church privileges. Not only some of Abraham's seed were chosen, and others not, but God therein wrought according to the counsel of his own will. God foresaw both Esau and Jacob as born in sin, by nature children of wrath even as others. If left to themselves they would have continued in sin through life; but for wise and holy reasons, not made known to us, he purposed to change Jacob's heart, and to leave Esau to his perverseness. This instance of Esau and Jacob throws light upon the Divine conduct to the fallen race of man. The whole Scripture shows the difference between the professed Christian and the real believer. Outward privileges are bestowed on many who are not the children of God. There is, however, full encouragement to diligent use of the means of grace which God has appointed.As it is written - Malachi 1:2-3. That is, the distribution of favors is on the principle advanced by the prophet, and is in accordance with the declaration that God had in fact loved the one and hated the other.

Jacob - This refers, doubtless, to the posterity of Jacob.

Have I loved - I have shown affection for that people; I have bestowed on them great privileges and blessings, as proofs of attachment. I have preferred Jacob to Esau.

Esau - The descendants of Esau, the Edomites; see Malachi 1:4.

Have I hated - This does not mean any positive hatred; but that he had preferred Jacob, and had withheld from Esau those privileges and blessings which he had conferred on the posterity of Jacob. This is explained in Malachi 1:3," And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness;" compare Jeremiah 49:17-18; Ezekiel 35:6. It was common among the Hebrews to use the terms "love" and "hatred" in this comparative sense, where the former implied strong positive attachment, and the latter, not positive hatred, but merely a less love, or the withholding of the expressions of affection; compare Genesis 29:30-31; Proverbs 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes;" Matthew 6:24, "No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other," etc.; Luke 14:26, "if any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, etc."

10-13. And not only this; but when Rebecca, &c.—It might be thought that there was a natural reason for preferring the child of Sarah, as being Abraham's true and first wife, both to the child of Hagar, Sarah's maid, and to the children of Keturah, his second wife. But there could be no such reason in the case of Rebecca, Isaac's only wife; for the choice of her son Jacob was the choice of one of two sons by the same mother and of the younger in preference to the elder, and before either of them was born, and consequently before either had done good or evil to be a ground of preference: and all to show that the sole ground of distinction lay in the unconditional choice of God—"not of works, but of Him that calleth." The foregoing oracle is expounded by another, taken out of Malachi 1:2,3; see the annotations there. Because the foregoing passage of Esau’s serving Jacob doth not seem so full and clear, to betoken the election of Jacob, and the rejection of Esau, in the purpose of God, therefore the apostle brings this place to explain the former; and proves that the service or subjection of Esau to Jacob, was accompanied with God’s eternal and undeserved love of the one, and his just and righteous hatred of the other. There are some, that by Esau and Jacob do understand their posterity, and not their persons; that say, the love and hatred of God, in the forecited text, doth only or chiefly respect temporal things; God loved Jacob, i.e. he gave him the Land of Promise; but hated Esau, i.e. he gave him a dry and barren country, and made his mountain waste: that by God’s hating Esau, is only meant he loved him less than Jacob, &c. Such should consider, that the scope of the apostle is to show, that some are the children of God, and of the promise, and not others; and they must not make him cite testimonies out of the Old Testament impertinently. Much is written pro and con upon this argument. But I remember, he that writes a commentary must not too far involve himself in controversy.

As it is written,.... In Malachi 1:2;

Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. These words are explanative of the former; they are of like import, and the one interpret the other; and show, that the former are to be understood in a spiritual, and not in a temporal sense, and of the persons, and not the posterity of Jacob and Esau; for though Malachi prophesied long after Jacob and Esau were personally dead, yet the Lord in that prophecy manifestly directs the murmuring Jews to the personal regard he had had to Jacob and Esau, and which had continued in numberless instances to their respective posterities, in order to stop their mouths, and reprove their ingratitude; and though he speaks of the nation of the Edomites, and to the posterity of Israel, yet it is evident, that he has a respect to the persons of Jacob and Esau, from whence they sprung, when he says, "was not Esau Jacob's brother?" Malachi 1:2, now though an Edomite may be said to be brother to an Israelite, yet Esau is never said, nor can he with any propriety be said to be the brother of Jacob's posterity: it remains, that these words regard their persons, and express the true spring and source of the choice of the one, and the rejection of the other; and which holds true of all the instances of either kind: everlasting and unchangeable love is the true cause and spring of the choice of particular persons to eternal salvation; and hatred is the cause of rejection, by which is meant not positive hatred, which can only have for its object sin and sinners, or persons so considered; but negative hatred, which is God's will, not to give eternal life to some persons; and shows itself by a neglect of them, taking no notice of them, passing them by, when he chose others; so the word "hate" is used for neglect, taking no notice, where positive hatred cannot be thought to take place, in Luke 14:26.

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Romans 9:13. “This utterance (ἐῤῥέθη) took place in conformity with the expressly testified (in Malachi 1:2-3, freely cited from the LXX.) love of God towards Jacob and abhorrence of Esau.” Thus, that utterance agrees with this. But just like Paul, so the prophet himself intends by Ἰακώβ and Ἠσαῦ, not the two nations Israel and Edom, but the persons of the two brothers; God loved the former, and hated the latter (and therefore has exalted Israel and destroyed Edom).

The aorists are, in the sense of the apostle—as the relation of καθὼς γέγρ. to the preceding, imparting information respecting the subjective ground of the divine declaration in Romans 9:12, shows—to be referred to the love and abhorrence entertained towards the brothers before their birth, but are not to be understood of the de facto manifestation of love and hatred by which the saying of Genesis 25:23 had been in the result confirmed (van Hengel). Ἐμίσησα, moreover, is not to have a merely privative sense ascribed to it: not to love, or to love less (as Fessel, Glass, Grotius, Estius, and many, including Nösselt, Koppe, Tholuck, Flatt, Beck, Maier, Beyschlag), which is not admissible even in Matthew 6:24, Luke 14:26; Luke 16:13, John 12:25 (see, against this and similar attempts to weaken its force, Lamping); but it expresses the opposite of the positive ἠγάπ., viz. positive hatred. See Malachi 1:4. And as that love towards Jacob must be conceived of as completely independent of foreseen virtues (Romans 9:11), so also this hatred towards Esau as completely independent of foreseen sins (in opposition to the Greek Fathers and Jerome on Malachi 1). Both were founded solely on the free elective determination of God; with whom, in the necessary connection of that plan which He had freely adopted for the process of theocratic development, the hatred and rejection of Esau were presupposed through their opposite, namely, the free love and election of Jacob to be the vehicle of the theocracy and its privileges, as the reverse side of this love and choice, which the history of Edom brought into actual relief.

13. As it is written] In Malachi 1:2-3. Nearly verbatim from LXX.—The prophet is there appealing, in God’s name, to the people to remember His distinguishing and unmerited choice of Jacob over Esau to inherit the land. Not the quotation merely, but the context, is to the purpose here.

have I loved] Lit., and better, did I love; when I gave him the preference. So below, did I hate.

hated] Cp. Genesis 29:33; Genesis 29:30, for proof that this word, in contrast with love, need not imply positive hatred, but the absence of love, or even less love. One verse there tells us that Jacob “hated” Leah, the other that he “loved Rachel more.” See too Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26; John 12:25.

Romans 9:13. Καθὼς, as) The word spoken by Malachi, at a period so long subsequent, agrees with that spoken in Genesis.—τὸν Ἰακὼβ ἠγάπησα κ.τ.λ.) Malachi 1:2, LXX., ἠγάπησα τὸν Ἰακὼβ κ.τ.λ.—ἠγάπησαἐμίσησα, I have loved—I have hated) The reference is not to the spiritual state of each of the two brothers: but the external condition of Jacob and Esau, in like manner as the corporeal birth of Isaac is a type of spiritual things, Romans 9:9. All Israelites are not saved, and all Edomites are not damned. But Paul intimates, that as there was a difference between the sons of Abraham and Isaac, so there was a difference among the posterity of Israel. So far has he demonstrated what he purposed; he in the next place introduces an objection, and refutes it; μισε͂ιν properly signifies to hate, nay, to hate greatly. See Malachi 1:4, at the end.

Romans 9:13Jacob - Esau

See Genesis 25:23. Representing their respective nations, as often in the Old Testament. Numbers 23:7, Numbers 23:10, Numbers 23:23; Numbers 24:5; Jeremiah 49:10; compare also the original of the citation, Malachi 1:2, Malachi 1:3, the burden of the word of the Lord to Israel. Compare also Edom in Malachi 1:4, synonymous with Esau in Malachi 1:3; and Israel, Malachi 1:5, synonymous with Jacob, Malachi 1:2.

Hated (ἐμίσησα)

The expression is intentionally strong as an expression of moral antipathy. Compare Matthew 6:24; Luke 14:26. No idea of malice is implied of course.

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