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Written by Victoria Radin   

The International Mental Illness

Esau’s Everlasting Hatred

“As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.’ What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with G-d? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’” (Romans 9:13 from Malachi 1:2, 3 & Romans 9:14 from Exodus 33:19)

Jacob and Esau

Jacob’s destiny was chosen by G-d before Rebecca gave birth to the twins (Gen. 25:23). G-d told her that two nations were in her womb, and that the stronger, older one would serve the younger. Later we learn, Jacob’s descendants became the nation of Israel and Esau’s descendants became the nation of Edom.

The writings of the Hebrew sages indicate that Esau was an evil man. He violated a woman betrothed to another, rebelled against G-d in taking wives among the cursed Canaanites (Genesis 36:1), and allowed a bitter root to take hold in his life (Genesis 27:41). This demonstrated that he was sexually immoral and godless, not qualified to be the head of the family. The New Testament confirms the rabbis’ assessment of Esau’s character:

“…lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.” (Hebrews 12:26)

Today, many of those in opposition to Israel are from among the descendants of Esau and Ishmael, one of whose daughters Esau wed (Genesis 28:9). The entire book of Obadiah is devoted to G-d’s condemnation of Edom (Esau’s descendants) and all who would commit violence against Israel and divide the land G-d gave to her:

“…to the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. For violence against your brother Jacob…you shall be cut off forever. [And also] when foreigners entered…and cast lots for Jerusalem––even you were as one of them.” (Excerpts from Obadiah 1:10, 11)

Ezekiel also devoted space to the promised destruction of Edom:

“…therefore thus says the L-rd G-d: ‘Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country.’” (Ezekiel 36:5)

Although it can be clearly understood from the Scriptures that G-d intends to use Israel in His end-time plan to destroy Edom (Ezekiel 25:14), Edom is only a type in the Old Testament of all enemies of G-d, a type of all evil, and Jacob a type of G-d’s favored.


In Hebrew literature, Esau and all his offspring, i.e. Edom, became synonymous with evil. This traditional thought came about because Esau was the first one to attempt the ‘annihilation’ of the Israelites– Jacob’s offspring–even before Jacob had a wife (Genesis 27:41). Over millennia, Satan has used different strategies to defeat G-d’s chosen people: Egypt and Russia tried to enslave them; Haman and Hitler tried to annihilate them; Assyria and Rome dispersed them throughout the world where most nations despised and persecuted them. Unlike the others, though, Greece, through the Greek general, Antiochus IV, who called himself Epiphanes (G-d manifest), sought only to destroy their distinctiveness as Jews through assimilation into the Greek culture, known as Hellenism.

Today, Jews still are threatened with annihilation through every means mentioned above. Some are enslaved to the Western (Greek) culture while Muslims are planning genocide against them. Most Jews are even now dispersed throughout the world where they continue to be despised and hated. Rabbi Lau of Israel describes this hatred as an “international mental illness” that has no explanation. “This hatred is a given, permanent phenomenon," he says.

While it may not be obvious to Rabbi Lau or others in the world, it is clear that Satan is at the root of the everlasting hatred toward the Jews in the world and the attempted destruction of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. On a broad scale, the struggle between Jacob and Esau is much more than the struggle between two brothers. It is, instead, a struggle between the ways of the world and the ways of G-d: mankind's struggle between good and evil.

G-d’s love of ‘Jacob’ and hatred for ‘Esau’ resulted from the way each pursued what G-d offered to mankind. The Scriptures actually state that Esau “despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:34). The L-rd told the prophet Samuel:

“…those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” (1 Samuel 2:30c)

Because Esau put his [natural] hunger before his birthright [spiritual hunger], the L-rd said that He hated Esau. In typology, G-d was saying that He hates all who put natural desires before spiritual desires:   (all emphasis authors)

"Jacob [those seeking heavenly rewards] I have loved; but Esau [those seeking worldly rewards] I have hated, and laid waste his mountains and his heritage.…they shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, and the people against whom the L-rd will have indignation forever.'" (Excerpts from Malachi 1:2-4)


Jacob understood the importance of G-d’s blessing in his life. He proved this once again when, while on his way back to his own land from Padan Aram, he wrestled with a man until the break of day. Jacob would not let go until he received his blessing. The “man” was none other than the L-rd Himself (Genesis 32:26-28). The L-rd honors those who seek Him with persistence, those who will not let go until they are blessed!

“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9)

In like manner, the Church must have a single eye towards the things of G-d. The L-rd said:

“I [G-d] love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me…that I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.” (Proverbs 8:17, 21)

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

“For to everyone who has [a zeal for G-d’s blessings], more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have [a zeal for G-d’s blessings], even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:30) (Emphasis authors)

In the end, the L-rd promises that:

“The house of Jacob [a type of natural Israel] shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph [a type of the church or spiritual Israel] a flame; but the house of Esau [a type of the world or evil] shall be stubble; they shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau…” (Obadiah 13:18)

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