In verse 12, Paul refers to the first words that God spoke about Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:23). In Romans 9:13, he repeats some of the last words about them in the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible). These words appear in Malachi 1:2-3.
God gave that message to Malachi more than 1000 years after both Jacob and Esau had died. Therefore, these words are not really about Jacob and Esau themselves, but about the nations that came from their families. The nation that came from Esauís family was called the Edomites.
By that time, the true character of the Edomites had become very clear. They became very evil. In fact, they were glad when Jerusalemís people suffered (Psalm 137:7; Obadiah 10-14). Because of their great cruelty, God had declared his judgement against them. In the passage in Malachi, God declared that he would hand over their land to the wild dogs. God was right to hate those people who had given themselves over to such wicked behaviour.
It is not so easy, however, for us to speak about Israelís people, who came from Jacobís family. God had shown great love to them (9:4-5). However, only a part of them were truly loyal to God (11:5-8); and that remains true even today.
However, we have not yet seen Godís final plan for Israelís people; and that plan is very wonderful (11:25-29). At that time, we shall see that God was right to choose Israel as his special people. Of course that is so: all Godís judgements are right.
Next part: Could God act wrongly? (Romans 9:14)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.