Why did God say he loved Jacob but hated Esau?

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The Fulfillment of Prophecy

Although Jacob and Esau eventually made amends (Genesis 33:10-11), the seed of discord was already sown through Esau’s children. The whole book of Obadiah is a judgment against Edom.

“Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors of Esau. The Lord has spoken. (Obadiah 1:18)

After the Jews returned from captivity, they made Idumeans (descendants of Esau) slaves and forced them to follow Jewish rites, thus fulfilling that the elder would serve the younger. As an independent nation, the Edomites were finished.

Israel now thrives as the desert rose and part of the land of Edom was present-day Petra, now an empty, sand-covered tourist attraction.

Herod the Great was born to a Nabataean mother and was an Idumean who converted to Judaism due to these enforced religious rites.

Herod may have been king of Israel, but his acts of favor to the nation through his building projects were for his own gain and favor. He wasn’t going to bend the knee to another king. He wanted to kill Jesus at birth to prevent the ascension of Christ (a descendant of Jacob) to the throne. The antagonism still existed.

Herod was named by the Romans; he did not inherit the rights to kingship by blood succession because he was not a true Israelite. Upon the death of Herod Agrippa II, Herodian rule over Judea came to an end.

The consequences of deception

Jacob fled for his life after experiencing his father’s grief and his brother’s anger over the deception. On his journey to Padan Aram, the Spirit visited him in the night and restored his covenant with the descendants of Jacob (Genesis 28:10-17).

But the consequences of Jacob’s past actions were before him. Even though the blessing obtained by Jacob would continue because God would honor his covenant, Jacob paid for his deception by being deceived himself. We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8).

He fled his brother in fear for his life and stayed away for twenty years. And later, Jacob was tricked by Laban into giving him the wrong sister to marry, and his wages were changed tenfold (Genesis 31:41).

God could have fulfilled the words he said to Rebecca in his own way, but Rebecca intervened and the whole plan was skewed. This caused conflict and division in the family. She should have learned from Sarah how trying to force God’s hand ends in disaster.

Rebekah has paid her share in the lie because she is no longer mentioned, not even her death and burial. This may indicate that she never saw her favorite son again.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/VladimirZapletin

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