10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac
11 (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),
12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”
13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”
It is true that the doctrine taught here has been pushed by some beyond what is written. Calvin was very guilty at this point. He attempted to deduce from this passage what has come to be called “double predestination.” The Bible nowhere announces the predestination of the lost. It would seem that Calvin and others have drawn an inference in purely human logic. They would hold that the choice of Jacob implies the reprobation of Esau. Both of these brothers were born in sin; they both had the nature of Adam. They both grew up in sin. They both were children of wrath, disobedient by nature. If there had been any merit in these two sons, God would have been unjust in not rewarding that merit. The choice of one deserving man over another deserving man would have been favoritism. When we see that the two were equally undeserving, the whole picture becomes different. Everything that is said in the entire Bible about the nature of fallen man may be said — must be said — about both Jacob and Esau. God determined, for causes that are to be found in Himself and have not been revealed to us, to show favor to Jacob. This is grace and grace alone. To show grace to one does not imply condemnation of the other. The condemnation had been equally upon both since the fall of Adam. The grace that is now manifested is sovereign. — Barnhouse, page 28.
Paul answers anyone who says Isaac’s election over Ishmael was due to Ishmael’s illegitimacy (he was the son of a bondwoman).
Esau have I hated (Malachi 1:1-5) — God’s wrath was directed toward Esau’s descendants (Edom).
Not yet born, neither having done any good or evil — election isn’t by claim of birth or merit.
The quote is form Genesis 25:23 — And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
God’s love to Jacob was undeserved (grace). His hatred of Esau had a moral ground and Esau deserved it (justice).
Verses 12 and 13 refer to Jacob and Esau, not personally, but in relation to the nations they represented.
Verse 12 — at their birth
Verse 13 — long after
Hate — strong preference for one over another and not always enmity.
Jacob was flawed but desired his birthright. Esau chose his path (Hebrews 12:16; Genesis 25:34). He despised his birthright long before he sold it.