Why Would God Say: “I Have Hated Esau...”? | John Ankerberg Show

Why Would God Say: “I Have Hated Esau…”?

By: Rev. Sam Harris
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Question:

Several months ago, you answered a question on things that God “hates” based on Proverbs 6:16. That was most enlightening to me and helped me understand this passage more fully. Recently, I was reading in Malachi 1:2-3, and it has, in part, these words of God: “I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau….” I understood the passage in Proverbs regarding “hate,” but now I am confused. How could God teach us in the New Testament to love our enemies, and in the Old Testament it says He hated Esau? Help!

Answer:

There are three interesting passages that parallel this question:

  1. Genesis 29:31, 33—”And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren…. And when she conceived again, and bore a son; and said, ‘Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated…’” (KJV).
  2. Malachi 1:2-3—The Lord speaking: “Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau…” (NASB).
  3. Luke 14:26—Jesus is speaking: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (NASB).

The Hebrew word used in the Genesis and Malachi passages is also the word we explored in Proverbs 6; it is the Hebrew word “sawnay” which is translated “hate.” Our problem revolves around the cultural Hebrew meaning of the word “hate.” If I say that I hate, for example, liver, it means that I intensely dislike it. But the word “hate” in the He­brew can have more than one meaning.

As per the NKJV and NASB translations of Genesis 29:31-33, the word “unloved” is used instead of “hate.” That is to say, not that you hate someone, but that you love some­one more than another. Jacob loved both Leah and Rachel, but he loved Rachel more. To be chosen for special honor was to be loved. To be given a place of less importance, or honor, no matter how desirable, was to be hated/loved less.

The same can be said of the Malachi passage; God loved both Esau and Jacob, but He chose to give Jacob special status. All of this is confirmed in the New Testament: that this was the meaning of the Jewish term throughout history. In the Luke 14:26 passage, Jesus wasn’t telling us to dislike/hate our family and relatives. He wanted us to love one another with a sacrificial love—”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another” (John 13:34).

The Greek word used in the Luke 14:26 passage is “miseho,” which can be translated as “hate,” “detest,” or “to love less.”

Bottom line: It is important that we give Jesus first place and first love in our lives; He is to be Number 1. No spouse, child, parent, relative, or friend is to come before our relation­ship and love for Jesus.

 

Written by by Rev. Sam Harris for The John Ankerberg Show, ©2000.

Rev. Sam Harris

Rev. Sam Harris

Rev. Sam Harris

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TrueTruthEnochyaArvel HallFabiusScott Recent comment authors
TrueTruth
TrueTruth

When God says he hates Esau, he means just that. Get over it. Stop lying and twisting God’s word. It is not rocket science. God has the right to hate anything that he wants. And he clearly says that he can do what he wants. “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.” [Romans 9:13-14] God also clearly says that he is going to destroy all of the house of Esau (edomites), and all of Edom. “And I will lay my vengeance upon… Read more »

Enochya
Enochya

You are not God so do not take on a Cain spirit or a lucerferian spirit. Try not to at least. (easier said then done) The Most High God is exactly what he is God of Israel, the creator, you are a servant and a child of God. So I would respect The Most Highs laws and follow them. He can hate who he wants after all he is God have respect and follow the law, meaning you should not hate. He is in control and know what is going on. Furthermore, Christ is coming back in Revelation with the… Read more »

Fabius

While on earth Lazurus lived in hell, and the rich man lived in heaven; but when they died Lazurus was now in heaven, while the rich man was now enduring hell. Like scripture says Jacob I have (at one time, or in the past) loved, and Esau I have (at one time, or in the past) hated. Meaning just like Lazurus and the rich man, the roles of the two brothers will in the future change, as is proven when the seed of Jacob, chose Barabbas overer Jesus to live, and the fact that it stated while he was still… Read more »

Scott

Read the text.

Esau is Edom, Esau is the father of the Edomites. The Edomites later became the Romans, who later created Christianity, RCC
Esau marred into the line of Ismael, the Edomites/Romans/Christians and Arabs/muslims are married, are one.

Ted
Ted

Wow, we should be careful not to fall into the trap of self-righteous emotions! To those of you so quick to run with “HATE,” have you at least researched the word in its original CONTEXT using Ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek? To equate our emotions to that of God’s is a major mistake.

Jodi
Jodi

Everyone should read this sermon for a biblical, factual answer that doesn’t change the meaning of “hate” in the verse: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0239.cfm

Felicia Young,

To hate is to abhoared. Job abhoared sin. He hated, detested, or loathed sin, but he loved the sinner and gave no room for sin in his life.

Arvel Hall
Arvel Hall

I think that the reason why GOD said “Jacob I loved and Esau I’ve hated.” Is because of what they was desperate for. Jacob was desperate for GOD to bless him, he wrestled with an angel all night, but Esau was desperate for a morsel of bread and lentils. In conclusion are you desperate for what man has or are you desperate for what GOD has you?

Alicia Oliver
Alicia Oliver

I would NOT question the Most High! His ways are NOT ours

Think
Think

Wow, this place is full of lies. Even when it’s black and white in the bible that God HATES Esau, you still can find ways to distort God’s teaching. I never knew you get to choose what to and what not to believe in the bible.
If he hates sin but not the sinner, the bible would have said God hates what Esau was doing, or simply, “Jacob I loved, but sin I hated”. Why do you spread false teachings? What is your agenda? Get over it, and read the bible.

J D
J D

You will never understand the Bible by using American word meanings to Hebrew words. This writer is trying to educate you a little without spending years studying the Hebrew language. As an example; God’s love is not a word that shows feeling. It is a commitment to follow through with his promise “IF” you follow his writings.

Katie
Katie

Can God create something He hates? If God so loved the world and created us all in our mother’s wombs- how can He hate what HE created? He hates sin, but not the sinner. So I disagree with someone having a “birthright” before someone else, or someone being born just to be hated. So I guess I still fail to understand this scripture.

Kim
Kim

Katie I would strongly suggest that before you come to conclusions you should do some research about the hebrew birthrights. The eldest or first child always had precedence over the younger kids. Birth rights were very much a part of hebrew families. Of course God doesnt hate anyone, BUT He chooses to favor and bless some over others. Its His choice, we cannot question the Most High and His will. God first chose Israel as the foundation of faith in Yeshua who came from the family of David. All other races are grafted into Israel upon regeneration and born again… Read more »

Ted
Ted

Kim, Have you studied the various Covenants in regard to God and Humanity? Jesus speaking with Nicodemus made it clear ALL people including the Jews from Israel were in need of such regeneration and spiritual rebirth.

Ryan
Ryan

Here’s a good question. If god is all knowing, and hates sin, why would god create Lucifer , knowing he would fall and go against him? If angels don’t have the ability to make decisions or choices , how did Satan convince angels to follow him?

Meme
Meme

I ask that all the time especially he knew he will be the cause of death sickness disease or kinds of perversion etc don’t make sense to me but his way or not our ways another scripture I don’t understand if we were created in his image smh

Melvin
Melvin

What ever God meant when he said hate. I will never believe that ,That mean He(God) Hates a whole race of people ,ie white people, as the so-called modern day Israelite black Jews teach.

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

you didnt answer the question in any way nor did you come close to it. this is a subject that has always bothered me and that is from a continuous christian upbringing

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

man i do not understand these topic tagents. lets make it simply. how can a God of love hate anything? he is incapable of it. at what point do we answer the question at hand

Jodi
Jodi
Dchanae

All of you are wrong this is talking about two different nations when Rebekah conceived she gave birth two different babies in other words twins that WERE NOT IDENTICAL a white
( ESAU nation) and black child (ISRAELITE nation) when you read Genesis 25:19 notice it mentions the oldest because the oldest LOOKS DIFFERENT from the youngest (white) and does not mention the youngest because the youngest looks the SAME (black) like everyone else.

You all get the picture now also look up the term ESAU

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

how does a black and white topic even spring into your mind when the subject matter has nothing to do with that?

Lucille T Mcquarters
Lucille T Mcquarters

But God is no respector of person do he chose Jacob over Esau for what reason because at the time Jacob honored the birthright more

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

what are you people talking about God honoring someones birthright more? ever heard of the prodical son which completely shuts that down? i have never in all my life got involved in replying to people just ranting until tonight bc i had maybe lets call it an epiphany and when i saw this nonsense of people preaching topics without actually using the very scriptures they are defending it just annoyed me not to speak up for once

Tom
Tom

Hate is easy for us, but love is so hard…
Remember what Jesus said for us to do…
Love…

hotzpacho
hotzpacho

People still don’t get it. This is a story about Law and Grace which is the constant theme throughout the entire bible, both old and new testaments. Why people still can’t see this is because you have been indoctrinated with religion and not love. This has nothing to do with Esau or Jacob as individual people and i can prove that. This is a story about figurative language, but because few people understand the heart of God they read it literally in a mindset of fear. Now let’s get into this. Genesis 25:27 sets the comparison between the two brothers.… Read more »

Eriq Msafi
Eriq Msafi

This is very true …Thank you much.. i got much from your post bro

Christy Cohen
Christy Cohen

You mixed it up its Jacob Yahuah loved and Esau whom He hated,so you may want to rethink your theory of law and grace, the basis is twisted so how can any of it be correct???

Dchanae

Esau / Caucasian has no melanin that’s why it stated RED all over like a hair garment red come from the term you can see their blood and veins through their skin Jacob looks like his mother and father and everyone else. The term white people and BLACK people comes from slave master by words black and white is not in the bible the most high deals with nation that’s is why today 21st century the names have changed that’s how you know the biblical names for people today esau is from the tribe of esau and blacks, Mexicans and… Read more »

Dchanae

Esau equals Edom

Kim
Kim

And so because the scripture says God loved Isaac but hated Esau , the modern BHI movement uses this to say all white people are edomites and therefore have permission to hate all white people. Theres no logic in that because Yeshua says the opposite of the BHI mindset. He says love one another. If you say you love God but hate your brother, you are a liar. Furthermore God says that if you hate someone that is equal to murder, murderers will have their part in the lake of fire along with liars, adulterers, idolaters, etc. Hatred IS slavery

Sara
Sara

How am I not supposed to “hate” people who’ve done horrible things? Why am I supposed to be considered equal to those who have done things that I haven’t even thought of doing, let alone doing such vile things? This coming from a person who has had their entirety put through all kinds of abuse, never once a bit of peace, or good of any kind. I don’t quite understand why it would be wrong to not think of such people in a not so positive way. In fact the people that have been doing such awful things to me… Read more »

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

and how does that in any way pertain to the original question at hand?

pome
pome

veins are blue, not red. And no white baby comes out all hairy and red. You racist grasp at straws rather than reading things logically.

Melvin
Melvin

This response makes alot of sence to me. Thanks.

Kim
Kim

Very nicely put

TIGGER
TIGGER

According to Strongs, in the KJV, your link to Malachi, the word hate was “wane” (I do not know how to do special letters) and the meaning was literal for foe, enemy, etc. Also the word was hate (wane), not love less, for Genesis 29:31, 33. But the translation for Luke was correct as you stated it. You quoted NIV and labeled it KJV. Just wondering if you caught that. Am I missing something?

Sharon
Sharon

I don’t agree Reverend. I myself don’t believe God and Jesus is the same. He said he sits on the right hand of thee Farther. That to me means two individuals. God was a God of war back then, he hated sin. Now please explain to me if you could why did God say Jacob whom I love and Esau whom I hate?

jahnoy wright
jahnoy wright

There’s only one God. In Genesis the scripture says, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and God was the word”. When Jesus said, ‘he’s sitting at the right hand of God’ it doesn’t mean two people. When you’re acknowledging the word of God you can’t take it physically you gotta look at it spiritually. So, right hand in the bible means power. Fist the old testament. Exodus 15:2- The Lord is my strength and my song. Exodus 15:6- Thy right hand oh Lord, is become glorious. Don’t want you to think it mean God… Read more »

Lilly
Lilly

You are speaking utter rubbish . Jesus and God the father is two separate beings. Jesus always take about his father and is always praying to his father. For God [ the father] so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten son [Jesus ] so that who soever believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God the father also said about jesus this is my beloved son hear ye him. So many text I have to prove that what your saying is not biblical. You must be a Pentecostal because they are the ones that… Read more »

Kim
Kim

Lilly…The bible speaks differently than your “beliefs”
King James Bible John 10:30
” I and my Father are one.”
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.
John 20:28
Jesus is called Immanuel which means God walks among us. It cant be any clearer than scripture.

Zoloe
Zoloe

Sharon first off it was the trinty n still is father son holy spirit if u dont understand that u lost

ANNA

‘AT THE RIGHT HAND’ is a Hebrew idiom meaning second in command or authority. Israel sat as a Queen sits at tthe right hand, positionally, interceding between God n mankind until reconciliation came.

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

thank you!

Daniel Creech
Daniel Creech

When God talks about hating Esau he is talking about this fleshly man. There are two men in the race and there is a war going on between them. Rom 9:12 It was said unto her,The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written , Jacob have I loved,but Esau have I hated. Jacob is the inward man (the soul). Esau is the outward man. (The flesh) This outward man is the old man and this inwards man is the younger. That promise and Covenant was made with Jacob the inward man. But though our outward man perish… Read more »

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

oh so he just made up those two names to tell a metaphorical story that some how you cracked the code? cmon man. does anyone have anything useful tjat isnt of their own opinion of what they see in the mirror, or can anyone actually answer the question? sincerely this is ridiculous for a guy just getting on the internet trying to find one answer to one question.

Truesincerity
Truesincerity

This makes some people uncomfortable. God said what he said, God hates Esau. God is also angry with the wicked everyday.

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

Esau was in the womb. how can he create someone whom he hates before it even understands free will of choice or love. your answer of “deal with it” doesnt work for me.

TheTruthIsHere
TheTruthIsHere

Job 9:24:

The earth was given into the hands of the wicked. What nationality of people are running the earth right now? It’s Esau.

Kesha
Kesha

Yes, God hates. The churches are not teaching the WHOLE truth. They just tell you what you want to hear a lot of the time. You need to research things like tithes as well. Tithing is way different than what it should be. The Sabbath is NOT on Sunday. The Catholics changed it to Sunday and openly admit it. Does it matter? Of course, especially since Sunday was used to worship the sun god. I’m sure God hates all those lies.

fly
fly

HAte much !

June Gunst
June Gunst

Col. 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.
As New Testament believers, we no longer need a special day or location. We worship everyday 24/7. We are the temple. We are the church. It is good to gather together according to Hebrews. You can do this several times a week. God is always pleased when we worship him in spirit and truth. The day of the week does not matter.

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

seriously did you just chime in to hear yourself or type youtself speak? or were you actually going to reference the topic at hand in regards to Esau? i am no poster chold whatsoever in regards to a good christian boy but can not a one of you see that no one is actually answering the question? i guess this is what i get for looking at the internet for answers from ther peoples perspectives for the first time. this is insanity

ANNA

Saturday is Saturn’s Day.
“To the pure all things are pure.”

We have a new covenanr with a new calendar n worshio in spirit n truth 24/7.

Eriq Msafi
Eriq Msafi

You are very true …you should only worship god in trueth and in spirit..

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

you must be pure then

Eriq Msafi
Eriq Msafi

#Kesha Any day is a worship day so if you peg yourself to Sunday or the day you know yourself tthen you must be wrong ….Why do you think we should not worship God on Sunday if we have already sanctified it and set it aside for God? Don’t you think God hasn’t given us power to make good what was bad? ….Worshiping God on Sunday or any other day should no longer be an issue to discuss anymore.Thanks.

Dchanae

Yelp that’s true a lot of the pagan holidays come from the Roman Catholic church Christmas and easter etc. The bible tells you not to cut a tree out of the forest and put gold and sliver on it. The customs are VAIN Jeremiah 10:2-4

Evanjelina Vega
Evanjelina Vega

I translated Sabbath for a friend that only reads spanish and it means sabado which means Saturday. I don’t get how people can say it’s not important when it’s the 4th commandment. . KEEP THY SABBATH HOLY…

Theresa
Theresa

So I guess the better answer for all is “not pleasing”. Leah wasn’t pleasing to Jacob. Esau was not pleasing to God

Lisa
Lisa

So, if we are to assume your explanation of “hate” is correct. Then you are implying God does love some more than others. Are you sure thats the message behind these scriptures?

Jay
Jay

His explanation is believable because David was known as the apple of God’s Eye and we are made in the image of God and we like and love people to varying degrees, so yea. ?

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

Lisa thank you!

Odile
Odile

I believe that the word “hate” in Malachi 1:2-3 implies that God was not pleased with the fact that Esau did not follow His commandments as his brother Jacob!!
Hate means not please with in this scripture

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

oh so now we can downgrade the word hate with “noth pleased with” now. good to know

Carol
Carol

That helped so.

Rich
Rich

It seems like if we don’t like what the Bible says that we can change it to fit our comfort zone.

Odile
Odile

That when we will have to ask for wisdom from God!

Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson

On the God hated Esau Topic god was displeased/hate with Esau because he did not follow his Instuction that elder bbrothe was to serve the younger brother people take the hate part and took it out of context. It never said he didnt love him

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

no it didnt say he didnt love him it said he hated him. so? i guess everyone is just getting carried away amd out of context right?

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

yes im sure when he used the word hate he just simlly meant “hey chill out cuz it aint cool”. or did i take that out of context?

Sarah
Sarah

Not true. Jesus preached love to all and all throughout the Bible God forgave any and all who would repent and ask for His forgiveness. Now if a particular verse appears to contradict that it is our job to studyand search for what exactly that verse means by comparing it to other verses in scripture. If we took this verse as literal it wouldn’t make sense with other verses, so we must dig deeper.

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

or we take it literal and not make excuses? in all sincerity He did not stutter in this verse. or maybe by that rationale we could all “dig deeper” when he says things like though shall not kill bc im sure he meant something else in that statement too. what the heck is going on in this chat room

Joshua Gillespie
Joshua Gillespie

thats what i am seeing right now

Keri
Keri

You want an answer? Go study Hebrew yourself and ask Jesus for revelation (if you even believe). If you know anything about languages, you should know that words and meanings don’t always perfectly translate to or aren’t fully expressed in another language.You’re getting frustrated with English-speaking humans about them not being able to explain someone else’s Hebrew words… Did you expect a perfect answer from imperfect and, in some cases, unqualified people? Is that something they owe you? The bible says study to show yourself approved… Do so.

Keri
Keri

Stop trolling. People are sharing their thoughts in an open space, not trying to convince or teach you. This isn’t about you.

Keri
Keri

…and your comments seem intentionally provoking, full of

Keri
Keri

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Keri
Keri

(Note to web managers: fix your filter so comments don’t have to be broken up. Not everything is spam)

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