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When we read Paul’s words in Romans 9:13, that God loved Jacob and hated Esau, what are we to make of it? While no one would question that God loved Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, did God hate Esau who was also a son of Isaac and Abraham’s grandson? If he did, why? But let’s back up a couple of verses. There’s more intrigue. When we read in 9:11 that God chose Jacob and not Esau, that his choice was not based on Jacob’s or Esau’s behavior (good or bad), and that the choice was made before either was born, what are we to make of that?

In The Edomite Enigma, Jonathan Williams provides a fresh approach by exploring the historical background of Paul's words. He believes a proper interpretation of Romans 9:10-13 comes by examining the history of Jacob and Esau, the history of Israel and Edom, the prophetic and extra-canonical statements about Edom, and the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. An examination of this history puts the interpreter in the correct frame of mind to approach the verses with the background that informed Paul rather than a centuries-later debates from various systematic theologies.

The Edomite Enigma: Esau, His Children, and Romans 9:10-13

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