“Esau have I hated!” — an explanation of Romans 9

The subject of the election of Grace is often misunderstood. God does not choose arbitrarily those who will be saved & those who will perish. Such ideas don’t exist in Scripture.  Man’s will is involved in receiving or rejecting salvation through faith or unbelief (John 3:16). Salvation is made available for EVERY MAN (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

Romans 9 must be well explained, because it is the backbone of that doctrine.

Romans 9:10:10-13 (NKJV)

10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Notice that this election is to bless, not out of hostility. God promised Abraham that the Messiah would come from his lineage, the “Seed” referring to Christ (Genesis 22:16-18, 26:3-5, 28:13-14, Galatians 3:16). He had Isaac (Genesis 21:1-5). Isaac had Jacob and Esau. Twins. (Genesis 25:19-21). Hence, the dilemma — the Seed (Christ Jesus) can ONLY come from ONE of the two. Not both.

Many would have thought that it would be Esau because he was more manly (physically hardworking) and he was beloved of Isaac (Genesis 25:27-28). But God, showing that He blesses based on GRACE and not WORKS, chose Jacob instead and not Esau for the Seed to come from. That’s ALL the election of Grace is HERE. It’s in a generation and not in persons! God’s choice of Jacob (the “weakling”) instead of Esau (the “strong” one).

When he said I have mercy on whom I will (paraphrasing) he meant Grace! “Mercy” there refers to His choice to bless men who are “undeserving” (in the natural).

“Esau have I hated” (vs. 13)

The word “hated” as used here is POORLY translated into English. It is the Greek word “miseó” which contextually, simply means “to favour less.” It centers on a moral choice, elevating one value over another or to renounce one choice in favour of another. Same word is used by the Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 14:26 bearing the same context:

Luke 14:26 (NKJV)

26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate (miseó — love less, choose as of lesser value, favour less than Me) his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

The favour (in context of Romans 9) is in the choice of Christ’s lineage. Jacob was “more favoured” in this regard — the Messiah was his descendant. Simple! God would give to undeserving men, who seem like NOTHING in the eyes of others. He does not discriminate like man does.

Vs. 16

16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

Such men are dependent on the Grace of God. God’s choice to bless is independent of man. That’s ALL Romans 9:10-13 is saying. This is seen in the fact that He gave His Son FREELY for us, that we might be saved from sin.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2019


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