Did God Hate Esau?


Scripture notes God loved Jacob, but “hated” Esau (Malachi 1:3).

Scripture also notes God blessed Esau greatly (Genesis 33:9). God even warned the Israelites not to attack the sons of Esau at the risk of the withdrawal of His protection (Deuteronomy 2:4-6).

God loved Jacob with a covenant love which was a different kind of love shown to Esau. God knows a person’s heart, and He knew Jacobs’ heart was more committed to Him than that of Esau.

An understanding is found in the Hebrew word “soneh” translated “hate.” It is a relative term meaning to love something or someone in a different way as another is loved. It is not a word with the same meaning as good old fashioned modern day hate. 

The meaning is He loved Jacob, but He loved Esau in a different way.

This is the meaning of the word Jesus used in speaking of those who follow Him must “hate” their father and mother, and follow Him. It does not mean to have old fashioned hate. Jesus is also using a relative term meaning love for others is of a lesser degree than love for Him.

It teaches Jesus should be the object of our primary love without rivalry. When He is our love for father and mother is greater than otherwise.

The meaning of the words for hate have changed since the original words were translated from Latin into English.

Not only does God love Esau, He loves us also. The question is do we love Him.