KEY # 11 UNDERSTANDING YHWH’S MEANING OF LOVE AND HATE
Some might suppose that YHWH’s pronouncement the He “loved” Jacob and “hated” Esau shows that He is speaking about their individual eternal destinies, but this is mistaken. In Hebraic thought, when “love” and “hate” are contrasted, they usually are meant hyperbolic-ally (exaggerate and overstate truth for emphasis). The expression simply means to strongly prefer one person or thing over the other.
So, for example, when Yahusha said, “Whosoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sister, yes, even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26) he was not saying we should literally hate these people, but to prefer him as the Messiah, and the Kingdom of Yahuah over anything or anyone else. Elsewhere he taught people to love and respect their parents, as the Old Testament (Torah) also taught (Exodus 20:1-21 Mark 10:19). Indeed, he commanded us to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44)! The meaning of Malachi’s phrase, then, is simply that YHWH preferred Israel over Edom to be the people he wanted to work with to reach out to the world. More critical still is to recognize that what YHWH hated is not specifically Esau, for Malachi 1:3 was written centuries after Esau had died, nor was YHWH saying he hates the people of Edom.
The Hebrew word used in Malachi 1:3 for “hate” (Heb., sanati) is used in various other places to speak of hatred for the sin and wickedness of people(cf Psalms 26:5, 101:3; 119:104&128&163;Proverbs 8:13, Jeremiah 44:3; Amos 5:21&6:8;Zechariah 8:17), not hatred for the people themselves. In light of what many other biblical prophets say about the actions and behavior of Edom(cf Jeremiah 49:7-22; Lamentations 4:21-22; ezekiel25:12-14; Amos 1:6-11), this is how we an understand YHWH’s hatred in Malachi 1:3.
YHWH does not hate Edom, He hates how she has behaved. Specifically, YHWH hated how Edom treated Israel.