“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Essau have I hated”

“As it is written”
“Even as it has been written.”-In Malachi 1:2-3. That is, that the distribution of favors is on the principle advanced by the prophet, and is in accordance with the declaration that God had, in fact, loved the one and hated the other. With which the words in Genesis, spoken so long before, that of Malachi agrees.

In this connection the language of Malachi shows that this is spoken of the two races or nations. Malachi 1:3 says, “I hated Esau and laid waste his mountains and his heritage.” This was not true of Esau as a person, but was true of his descendants. One race was loved and the other race hated or rejected. God has then asserted His right to freely choose or to reject races. There is not the slightest hint here of electing some persons to eternal salvation and others to damnation.

“Jacob have I loved”
Literally:  “I loved Jacob.”–This refers to the posterity of Jacob. In effect, God is declaring, “I have shown affection for that people; I have bestowed on them great privileges and blessings, as proofs of attachment. I have preferred Jacob to Esau.”  One commentator renders this as, “To Jacob was I drawn, but Esau I repudiated.”

The word “have” is not in the original Greek text, and the phrase should read, “I loved Jacob.” With a peculiar love; that is, to the Israelites, the posterity of Jacob. God chose Jacob and his seed to be heirs of the promises made to Abraham, and rejected Esau and his seed.  God’s freedom means inequality with man, and this inequality arouses in men the feeling of  injustice.  We want to measure God by our yardstick, but God’s righteousness cannot be measured by any standards of ours..

“but Esau have I hated”
Literally:  “And I hated Esau.”–This is explained in Malachi 1:3, “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” Again, the word “have” is not in the original Greek text, but has been added by the English translators..

This phrase should literally reads: “and Esau I hated.” This really refers to the descendants of Esau (the Edomites)--see Malachi 1:4.. This does not meGrk.–n any positive hatred; but that God had preferred Jacob, and had withheld from Esau those privileges and blessings which He had conferred on the posterity of Jacob.

           HATED:   (Grk.–emisēsa)- Here this word is an expression of moral antipathy.  No thought of outright malice is implied. God has asserted His right to freely choose or to reject races. Understand that the sovereignty of God does not set aside human responsibility.

         It was common among the Hebrews to use the terms love and hatred in this comparative sense, where “love” implied strong positive attachment, and the“hate” not necessarily  positive hatred, but merely as a less love, or the withholding of the expressions of affection (comp. Gen. 29:30-31; Prov. 13:24). “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”  Matt. 6:24. “No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other,” etc., Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother” etc. Often in the Bible we see a person’s name used to indicate a tribe or nation; i.e., Israel for the Northern Kingdom, or Ephraim for the tribe of Ephraim.      


“What shall we say then?  Is there unrighteousness with God?  God forbid.”

“What shall we say then?”
Literally: “What then shall we say?”–What conclusion shall we draw from these acknowledged facts, and from these positive declarations of Scripture?  To what conclusion shall we come on the facts before us?

Whatever God does is right, and He may dispense His blessings to whom and or on what terms He pleases.

         “Is there unrighteousness with God?”
         Literally:{Is there} not unrighteousness with God?” —That is, does God do injustice or wrong?

This charge has often been brought against the doctrine port forth here. But to this charge Paul strongly replies. He meets it by further showing that it is the doctrine explicitly taught in the O.T. (vv. 15,17,) and that it is founded on the principles of equity, and on just views of the sovereignty of God , (vv. 19-23).
1.      Is it wrong for God to make such distinctions as He does among men?
2.      Shall we suggest that God’s bestowing peculiar privileges in this unequal manner, on those who otherwise are in equal circumstances,
         is inconsistent with justice and equity?

3.      Does not this liberty of God, in His election of races, do violence to His justice?
4.      Is it not unjust that God should choose one nation and reject another?
The answer to this is now given–GOD FORBID!. Paul shows that the Scriptures recognize this liberty, and these Scriptures, reverenced by the Jewish objector to whom he is writing, would not assign injustice to God.

“God forbid.”|
Literally:  “Let this not be.”--By no means. Certainly not: for everything God does, He has the wisest and best reasons. Here again we run into this phrase (me genoito) that Paul often uses when making a statement and then denying something about it.

In spite of however God dealings may appear to men, whatever He does is right.  Men should always feel that what God  does is wise, holy, just, and good.  In many things He calls men to walk by faith; and gives them opportunities to show whether they really do have confidence in Him.

“For He saith to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have com-passion on whom I will have compassion.’”

This freedom of God to do whatever is in accordance with His will does not set well with many modern “theologians” because their philosophy of life is based upon a combination of relativism and a belief in personal autonomy.  But the Christian  is not to build his/her theology upon what person perceptions of what ought to be, but rather upon the Biblical revelation of the character and purpose of God .

         “For He saith to Moses,”
         Literally: “For He said to Moses.” As recorded in Exodus 33:19.          

        FOR:  (Grk.–gar)–This word is most naturally interpreted as beginning to present a reason or explanation as to why God is not unrighteous.

“I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy”
Literally:  “I will have mercy on whomsoever I will have mercy.”–This quotation is from Exodus 33:19, and is in answer to a request of Moses for a high privilege. 

The Lord grants it, not because Moses merits it, but out of grace, because He “will be gracious to whom He willeth, and will have mercy where he will.”  Paul takes this passage and asserts that God sovereignly favors nations according to His own good pleasure. He exercises free choice.
1.      God does it as a Sovereign, without giving an account of the reason to any for what He chooses. 
         The King can do whatever He pleases in His kingdom.

2.      God does it without regard to any claim on the part of man; or that man is regarded as destitute of merit, and has no right at all to His mercy.
3.      God will do it to any extent which He pleases, and in whatever time and manner may be in best accord with His own good pleasure.

“and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”
Literally:  “and I  will pity whomever I will pity.”–There can be no unrighteousness in God’s choosing whom He will, for to Moses He expressly claims the right to do so.

                 MERCY:  (Grk.–eleiō)–Literally:  “to be kind; beneficient.”

It is worthy of notice that this is expressed in the positive rather than the negative form: not, “I will have mercy on none but whom I will”; but, “I will have mercy on whomsoever I will.”

“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

         “So then”
         Literally: “therefore.”--Paul now draws a conclusion from his previous arguments. 

“it is not of him that willeth”
Literally: {it is}not of the {one} willing.”–The meaning here evidently is that eternal life is not bestowed because man had any original
willingness or disposition to be saved;  neither  is it because he commences the work, and is himself disposed to it; but it is because
God influences him to it, and influences him to seek mercy, and then confers it in His own    way.    

The question asked in v. 14 requires a negative answer, and here Paul is giving that negative answer.

          WILL:  (Grk.-thelō)–The word “will” here denotes wish or desire.  Thelō literally means “to be resolved; to determine; to purpose.”  Vincent (Vincent’s Word Studies in the N.T.) says that the this word is used here in the sense of a decree, issued in a decree

“nor of him that runneth”
Literally: “Nor of the {one} running.”–This denotes strenuous, intense effort, as when a man is anxious to obtain an object, or hastens from danger.

The meaning is not that the sinner does not make an effort to be saved; nor that all who become Christians do not in fact strive to enter into the kingdom, or earnestly desire salvation; for the Scriptures teach the contrary (Luke 16:16; 13:24). There is no effort more intense and persevering, no struggle more arduous or agonizing, than when a sinner seeks eternal life.  Nor does it mean that they who strive in a proper way, and with proper effort, shall not obtain eternal life, (Matt. 7:7).                 

         “but of God that sheweth mercy”
         Literally: “But of the {One} having mercy, of God.”–Salvation, in its beginning, its progress, and its close, is all of
God .

         God has a right, therefore, to bestow mercy when and where and on whom He pleases. All our mercies flow from His mere love and compassion, and not from our deserts. The essential idea here is, that God is the original fountain of all the blessings of salvation.
         The blessings which God bestows upon sinners originate wholly with Himself. They are bestowed upon such persons, at such times, and in such ways and measures as He sees best, and are wholly of grace.

“But the Scripture saith unto Pharoah, ‘Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.’”

“The Scripture saith to Pharaoh”
Literally:  “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh.”–In Exodus 9:16. That is,
God said to Pharaoh in the Scriptures (see Galatians 3:8, 22).  This passage is designed to illustrate the doctrine that God shows mercy according to His sovereign pleasure.

Instead of showing the Israelites mercy God might justly have suffered them to have gone on in sin, till He should have displayed His wisdom and justice in their destruction; as appears from what God in His word declares concerning His dealings with Pharaoh and the Egyptians, Exodus 9:15-16.  Understand that it is not really true to say that God can really do anything. 
1.      He cannot do anything that might contradict His own nature.
2.      He cannot be responsible for any act that is unjust.
3.      He cannot be responsible for any act that breaks His own laws.
In today’s society we find it difficult, and perhaps even impossible, to conceive of a
God Who gives mercy to one and not to another; who raises up a king to be a mere puppet or pawn through whom His own avenging power may be demonstrated.  But such an argument would be valid and convincing to a Jew because again it means that God is behind everything.

“for the same purpose have I raised thee up”
Literally:  “For this very thing I raised you up”–Paul is not saying that Pharaoh was born for a particular purpose, but rather that he was raised to the throne for a particular purpose.

This passage is designed to illustrate the doctrine that God shows mercy according to His sovereign pleasure by a reference to one of the most extraordinary cases of hardness of heart which has ever occurred–the heart of Pharaoh’s. The purpose here is to show that God has a right to pass by those to whom He does not choose to show mercy; and to place them in circumstances where they shall develop their true character, and where in fact they shall become more hardened and be destroyed (v. 18).

            RAISED UP:  (Grk.-exegeirō)–Literally meaning, “to arouse; to raise up; bring into power.” The Greek prefix (ex) means, “out of”–“raise up out of.” The Greek word used here by Paul means, “I have excited, roused, or stirred you up out of.”

But it may also have the meaning, “I have sustained or supported thee.”  That is,  “I have kept you from death; I have preserved you from ruin; I have ministered strength to you, so that your full character has been developed.”  It does not mean that God had infused into his mind any positive evil, or that by any direct influence He had excited any evil feelings, but that He had kept him in circumstances which were fitted to develop his true character. The meaning of the word and the truth of the case may be expressed in the following particulars:
1.      God meant to accomplish some great purposes by his existence and conduct.
2..     God had control over the haughty and wicked monarch. He could take his life, or He could continue him on earth. 
         In all this the monarch acted freely.
1.      He did that which he chose to do.
2.      He pursued his own course. He was voluntary in his schemes of oppressing the Israelites.
3       He was voluntary in his opposition to
4.      He was voluntary when he pursued the Israelites to the Red Sea.

         In all his doings Pharaoh acted as he chose to do, and with a determined choice of evil, from which neither warning nor judgment would turn him away. Thus he is said to have hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:15).
Pharaoh nor any sinner can justly blame
God for placing them in circumstances where they shall develop their own character, and show what they are. It is not the fault of God , but their own fault. The sinner is not compelled to sin; nor is God under obligation to save him contrary to the prevalent desires and wishes of the sinner himself.

“that I might show My power in thee”
Literally: “So that I might display My power in you.”–By the judgments exerted in delivering an entire oppressed people from his grasp. God most significant acts of power such as were shown in consequence of Pharaoh’s disobedience and rebellion.

It is not said that God raised Pharaoh up to destroy him. His power might have been shown by Pharaoh yielding to His power. Pharaoh's conduct made it necessary to abase him. Here, again, the election is not of an individual to destruction, but of a man to be a king for a particular purpose. The destruction came upon him because, in that position, he resisted God.

         “My name might be declared”
          Literally:  And so that My name might be proclaimed.”

           DECLARED:  (Grk.–diangellō)—“Proclaimed; published abroad; to carry a message through; announce.”

The Name of Jehovah, as the only true God , and the deliverer of His people. “That I might be made known as the one only living and true God, the omnipotent Jehovah, over all the earth.”

         “throughout all the earth”
         Literally:  “In all the earth.”  Or throughout all the land of Egypt.

We may learn here,
1.      That a leading design of God in the government of the world is to make His power, Name, and character known.

2.      That this is often accomplished in a most significant manner by the destruction of the wicked.
3.      That wicked men should be alarmed, since they cannot contend with
God and since His enemies shall be destroyed.
4.      It is right that the incorrigibly wicked should be cut off. When a man's character is fully developed; when he is fairly tried; when, in all circumstances, he has shown that he will not obey
God, neither justice nor mercy hinders God from cutting him down, and consigning him to death.