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Paul of Tarsus Christianity

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.

and :

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

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