Esau Have I hated
When Rebecca becomes pregnant with twins, God gives her a prophesy. Birth and death seem to be occasions of prophecy - as described for instance in a previous blog post.
The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23
Rachel takes this to heart. Isaac rebels, and you can see the resulting
loss of communion with God in the next chapter. In the chapter 24, Isaac
meditates regularly on the LORD.
In chapter 26, he dwells with the phillistines.
Rebeccah has God's promise that Jacob will carry on the blessing, and Esau had sold him the birthright. But Isaac is determined to make it Esau instead. So just as Sarah decided God needed a little help in providing that heir from Abraham's loins, so Rebecca decided God needed a little help in making Isaac get with the program.
When Isaac discovers he was deceived, he remembers the prophecy and is stunned at first. But the rebellion has been broken, and he is able to speak prophetically.
Much later, God says, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
God did not hate Esau personally – he hated the future with Esau as the line of the Messiah. God blessed Esau personally, and gave him and his descendants an inheritance in Canaan (Deuteronomy 2). Think of it like “Back to the Future 2”, where the protagonist and audience hate the Biff future, but in the George future, Biff has a good life.
Why God hated the Esau future becomes apparent when Esau despised his birthright. Later when the descendants of Esau's grandson Amalek refuse to allow Israel passage, God declares war on them. 400 years later, King Saul is instructed to kill all the Amalekites – he kills all but King Agag and his family. Smart move! The survivors wouldn’t be expected to hold a generational grudge against Israel, would they? Samuel kills the king, but the sons escape.
Much later, Haman the Agagite nearly kills all the Israelites but is finally stopped by Saul's descendent, Mordecai.