The Problem of Paul Regarding Esau

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There is an interesting observation made by a pro-Torah Christian and he has issued a “challenge” to Pauline Christians regarding Paul’s (mis)understanding of the nature of Esau in the eyes of God. The issue is what Paul had written in his epistle to the Romans, as follows:

    “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, it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have hated.’ What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?” (Romans 9: 11-14)

The problem is that Paul had claimed that “it is written”, meaning he is citing from the Old Testament, that

“The older shall serve the younger”

This verse talks about the prophecy concerning Jacob and Esau, who were twin brothers. It predicts a future where the older (Esau) will serve the younger (Jacob). However, it does not explicitly mention God’s love or hatred for either of them.


“Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have hated.”

In this passage from the book of Malachi, God is speaking to Israel through the prophet Malachi. God declares that He loved Jacob (Israel) but hated Esau. This statement is not about God hating Esau before he was born; rather, it refers to the historical context of God’s dealings with the descendants of Jacob (the Israelites) and the descendants of Esau (the Edomites).

The former quote came from Genesis 25:23, and the second comes from the very last book of the Old Testament, which is Malachi 1: 1-4. So basically, Paul had confused two different and unrelated concepts by meshing them together as proof for his doctrine of destiny. More details regarding the above quotation by Paul can be found in the link given earlier.

Hence, the challenge is for those who regard Paul as an “apostle” sent by Jesus(P) to show us in which Genesis passage is there any indication whatsoever that God hated Esau before he was born, as highlighted by the author.

And only God knows best!Endmark

Cite this article as: Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, “The Problem of Paul Regarding Esau,” in Bismika Allahuma, October 7, 2005, last accessed September 24, 2023,


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