Malachi 1:1-3~The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness."
Before I speak here are confessions of men before me.
Augustine (354-430): "He who said, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,’ loved Jacob of His undeserved grace, and hated Esau of His deserved judgment" (Enchiridion, xcviii).
Martin Luther (1483-1546): "the love and hate of God towards men is immutable and eternal, existing, not merely before there was any merit or work of ‘free-will,’ but before the world was made; [so] all things take place in us of necessity, according as He has from eternity loved or not loved ... faith and unbelief come to us by no work of our own, but through the love and hatred of God" (The Bondage of the Will, pp. 226, 228-229).
John Calvin (1509-1564):
 "Now a word concerning the reprobate, with whom the apostle is at the same time there concerned. For as Jacob, deserving nothing by good works, is taken into grace, so Esau, as yet undefiled by any crime, is hated [Rom. 9:13]" (Institutes 3.22.11). "And as Esau was deprived of this habitation, the prophet sacredly gathers that he was hated of God, because he had been thus rejected from the holy and elect family, on which the love of God perpetually rests ... when Pighius holds that God’s election of grace has no reference to, or connection with, His hatred of the reprobate, I maintain that reference and connection to be a truth. Inasmuch as the just severity of God answers, in equal and common cause, to that free love with which He embraces His elect" (Calvin's Calvinism [Grandville, MI: RFPA, 1987], pp. 59, 75).
 "God distinguishes between the righteous and the unrighteous, and in such a way as shows that he is not an idle spectator; for he is said to approve the righteous, and to hate the wicked. The Hebrew word ... bachan, which we have rendered to approve, often signifies to examine or try. But in this passsge I explain it as to distinguish the righteous from the wicked. It is farther declared, that God hates those who are set upon the infliction of injuries, and upon doing mischief. As he has ordained mutual intercourse between men, so he would have us to maintain it inviolable. In order, he must be the enemy of the wicked, and wicked men’s love of iniquity, to teach us that those who please and flatter themselves in their mischievous practices gain nothing by such flatteries, and only deceive themselves" (Comm. on Ps. 11:5).
John Knox (c.1514-1572): "[God] will destroy all the speak lies. He hateth all that work iniquity; neither will he show himself merciful to such as maliciously offend. But all the sinners of the earth shall drink the dregs of that cup which the Eternal holdeth in his hands. For he will destroy all those that traitorously decline from him. They shall cry but he will not hear" (An Answer to a Great Number of Blasphemous Cavillations Written by an Anabaptist and Adversary to God's Eternal Predestination [London: Thomas Charde, 1591], pp. 403-404).
Jerome Zanchius (1516-1590): "When hatred is ascribed to God, it implies (1) a negation of benevolence, or a resolution not to have mercy on such and such men, nor to endue them with any of those graces which stand connected with eternal life. So, ‘Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9), i.e., ‘I did, from all eternity, determine within Myself not to have mercy on him.’ The sole cause of which awful negation is not merely the unworthiness of the persons hated, but the sovereignty and freedom of the Divine will. (2) It denotes displeasure and dislike, for sinners who are not interested in Christ cannot but be infinitely displeasing to and loathsome in the sight of eternal purity. (3) It signifies a positive will to punish and destroy the reprobate for their sins, of which will, the infliction of misery upon them hereafter, is but the necessary effect and actual execution" (Absolute Predestination, p. 44).
David Paraeus (1548-1622): "The cause [of the election of Jacob and reprobation of Esau] was the eternal purpose of God, whereby he determined to make such difference of them. Esau was wicked, and Jacob was no less wicked; for they were both conceived in sin: and yet God loved the one and hated the other: not for any inherent or foreseen difference, but kat' eklogeen according to election, whereby he elected one but not the other" (quoted in Pierre du Moulin, Anatomie of Arminianism [London: T. S. for Nathaniel Newbery, 1620], p. 503).
William Perkins (1558-1602):
 "God before all worlds did purpose to hate some creatures, and that justly, so far forth as his hating of them will serve for the manifestation of his justice, but he neither hates them indeed ... before they are; and therefore, actual hatred comes not in till after the creation. Whom God hath decreed ... to hate, them being once created, he hates in Adam with actual hatred" (The Workes of That Famous and Worthy Minster of Christ in the Universitie of Cambridge, Mr William Perkins (London: John Legatt & Cantrell Legge, 1616), vol. 1, p. 287 [spelling and punctuation modernized]).
 "This hatred of God is whereby he detesteth and abhorreth the reprobate when he is fallen into sin for the same sin. And this hatred which God has to man comes by the fall of Adam and is neither an antecedent nor a cause of God's decree, but only a consequent and followeth the decree" (A Golden Chain, chapter 53).
Pierre du Moulin (1568–1658): "Whom God hateth from the womb, to them he doth not give sufficient and saving grace [this being the heretical Arminian notion of grace]; for this were to love them: But God hated Esau from the womb, Rom. 9:13, therefore he did not give him sufficient and saving grace. For although Malachi [1:2-5] speaketh these things of a temporal rejection, yet it sufficeth to the present matter, that this rejection (as Arminius confesseth) is laid down by saint Paul, as a type of the spiritual rejection. So that there are some whom God hath rejected with a spiritual rejection, before they have done either good or evil; therefore he doth not give them sufficient means to faith, or to salvation: for this cannot be made to agree with hatred" (Anatomie of Arminianism [London: T. S. for Nathaniel Newbery, 1620], p. 405).
William Gouge (1575-1653): "That difference which is made between Esau a type of the world [Esau have I hated] and Jacob a type of the Church [Jacob have I loved (Mal 1:2-3)] shows that the Lord is far from hating his Church. The world, not the Church, is the object of God's hatred ... That none may pervert this comfortable doctrine, let me add two caveats. 1. That men deceive not themselves with a naked name, thinking themselves to be of the Church, when they are only in it, such may Christ hate (Jer 12:8) ..." (Of Domestic Duties , section 68).
John Robinson (c.1576-1625), the minister of many of the Congregationalist settlers who journeyed to Plymouth Colony, New England: "Lastly, seeing it cannot be denied, but that Jacob as a faithful and godly man was in time actually beloved in God, and Esau, as godless and profane, actually hated; it must needs follow, that God before the world was, purposed in himself accordingly, to love the one and hate the other: seeing whatsoever God in time doth, by way of emanation or application to, and upon the creature, that he purposed to do, as he doth it, from eternity [Rom. 9:13] ... [In Romans 9:18], 'whom he wills he hardens,' [God] speaks of that will, according to which he himself works in ... hatred."
David Dickson (1583-1663):
 "However he giveth the wicked and violent persecutor to have a seeming prosperity, while the godly are in trouble, yet that is no act of love to them: for the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth ... All the seeming advantages which the wicked have in their own prosperity, are but means of hardening them in their ill course, and holding them fast in the bonds of their own iniquities, till God execute judgment on them: upon the wicked he shall rain snares ... Whatsoever be the condition of the wicked for a time, yet at length sudden, terrible, irresistible, and remediless destruction they shall not escape: fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest is the portion of their cup" (Commentary on the Psalms [Edinburgh: Banner, 1985], p. 51).
 "Such as make iniquity their work, shall have the effects of God’s hatred for their wages: for thou hatest all the workers of iniquity [Ps. 5:5]" (A Commentary on the Psalms [London: Banner, 1959], vol. 1, p. 21).
Canons of Dordt (1618-1619): "The good pleasure of God is the sole cause of this gracious election; which doth not consist herein, that out of all possible qualities and actions of men God has chosen some as a condition of salvation; but that he was pleased out of the common mass of sinners to adopt some certain persons as a peculiar people to himself, as it is written, 'For the children being not yet born neither having done any good or evil,' etc., it was said (namely to Rebecca): 'the elder shall serve the younger; as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated' (Rom. 9:11-13). 'And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed' (Acts 13:48)" (I:10).
George Gillespie (1613-1649), Scottish Presbyterian Commissioner to the Westminster Assembly: "I cannot understand how there can be such a universal love of God to mankind as is maintained [by some]. Those that will say it must needs deny the absolute reprobation; then a love to those whom God hath absolutely reprobated both from salvation and the means of salvation" (cited in David Blunt, "Debate on Redemption at the Westminster Assembly," British Reformed Journal [January-March, 1996], no. 13, p. 8).
John Owen (1616-1683):
 "We deny that all mankind are the object of that love of God which moved him to send his Son to die; God having 'made some for the day of evil' (Prov. 16:4); 'hated them before they were born' (Rom. 9:11, 13); 'before of old ordained them to condemnation' (Jude 4); being 'fitted to destruction' (Rom. 9:22); 'made to be taken and destroyed' (II Pet. 2:12); 'appointed to wrath' (I Thess. 5:9); to 'go to their own place' (Acts 1:25)" (Works, vol. 10, p. 227).
 "... reprobation ... [is] the issue of hatred, or a purpose of rejection (Rom. 9:11-13)" (Works, vol. 10, p. 149).
Francis Turretin (1623-1687):
 "For as he who loves a person or thing wishes well and, if he can, does well to it, so true hatred and abhorrence cannot exist without drawing after them the removal and destruction of the contrary" (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 2, pp. 237-238).
 "What is said of God’s love towards Jacob and hatred towards Esau applies here: 'Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau' (Mal. 1:2, 3). This is applied by Paul to election and reprobation (Rom. 9:11-13). Compare also the passages concerning God having mercy and hardening–'He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth' (Rom. 9:18); concerning 'the vessels of mercy' which God had prepared unto glory and 'the vessels of wrath' which were fitted to destruction (Rom. 9:21,22); concerning those who were appointed to salvation and others who were appointed unto wrath and disobedience (apeitheian, 1 Thess. 5:9; 1 Pet. 2:8); who are inscribed in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 13:8); and others 'who were ordained to condemnation' (Jd. 4); concerning the blessed, called by God to the possession of their kingdom, and the cursed whom (as he never knew) he thrusts far away from his face (Mt. 7:23; 25:41). Nor, moreover, is thus endangered either the goodness or the infinite mercy of God, who is so good and merciful that he is also perfectly just. As he demonstrates the former towards the elect, so he justly exercises the latter towards guilty and sinful reprobates" (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol.1, p. 380).
Matthew Poole (1624-1679): "But as for the wicked, let them not rejoice in [David's] trials, for far worse things are appointed for them; God hates and will severely punish them ... His soul hateth; [God] hateth [him that loveth violence] with or from his soul, i.e. inwardly and ardently ... For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright; This is given as the reason why God hateth and punisheth wicked men so dreadfully" (Commentary on Ps. 11:5, 7).
Herman Witsius (1636-1708): "From the holiness of God flows a mortal and implacable hatred of sin. It is as much the nature of holiness to 'hate iniquity, as to love righteousness' (Ps. 45:8). Sin is 'an abomination to his soul' (Prov. 6:16), that is, to his very essence, and essential holiness: and neither sin only, but also the sinner is the object of his hatred. 'For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination to the Lord thy God,' (Deut. 25:16). He therefore separates from himself, and from his chosen people, all whom he cannot make partakers of his favour: and so he cannot but inflict upon them that punishment which is the effect of his hatred. According to Solomon's reasoning, Prov. 16:5, 'Every one that is proud in heart, is an abomination to the Lord.' And the consequence is, He shall not be unpunished. In the same manner David reasons, Ps. 5:4, 5, 6, 'Thou art not a God that hast pleasure in wickedness.' Thou hatest sin, and the sinner too, because of it. 'Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity.' And surely the fruit of this must be exceeding bitter: 'Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing.' And thus from the holiness of God, arises a hatred of sin and the sinner; from hatred, punishment" (The Economy of the Covenant Between God and Man [Escondido, CA: den Dulk Christian Foundation, 1990], vol. 1, p. 96).
Formula Consensus Helvetica (1675): "the Scriptures do not extend unto all and each God's purpose of showing mercy to man, but restrict it to the elect alone, the reprobate being excluded even by name, as Esau, whom God hated with an eternal hatred (Rom 9:10-13)" (article 6).
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): "But the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit are what God sometimes bestows on those whom he does not love, but hates ..." (Charity and Its Fruits, p. 38).
Robert Haldane (1764-1842): "Nothing can more clearly manifest the strong opposition of the human mind to the doctrine of the Divine sovereignty, than the violence which human ingenuity has employed to wrest the expression, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’ By many this has been explained, ‘Esau have I loved less.’ But Esau was not the object of any degree of the Divine love ... If God’s love to Jacob was real literal love, God’s hatred to Esau must be real literal hatred. It might as well be said that the phrase, ‘Jacob have I loved,’ does not signify that God really loved Jacob, but that to love here signifies only to hate less, and that all that is meant by the expression, is that God hated Jacob less than he hated Esau. If every man’s own mind is a sufficient security against concluding the meaning to be, ‘Jacob have I hated less,’ his judgment ought to be a security against the equally unwarrantable meaning, ‘Esau have I loved less’ ... hardening [is] a proof of hatred" (Romans, pp. 456, 457).
William S. Plumer (1802-1880):
 "Thou hatest all workers of iniquity [Ps. 5:5]. Those do greatly slander God, who teach that he will punish sin only because it is opposed to his law or his will, and not because it is opposed to his infinite, eternal, unchangeable rectitude. So repugnant to God’s nature is iniquity, that he would not save even his elect, except in a way that should fully and forever put away both the guilt and stain of sin, and bring all conceivable odium on transgression. God would not even spare his Son, when he stood in the place of sinners, lest he might seem to spare sin. Could he cease to hate it, he would cease to be worthy of love and confidence. Nor is it merely some forms of sin that God abhors, but he hates all workers of iniquity. Nor does he hate sin in general, as some men profess to do, but countenance it in detail" (Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks [Edinburgh: Banner, 1975], p. 81; italics Plumer's).
 "The cruelty, rage and pride of violence are utterly repugnant to the divine nature. Luther says this clause 'is spoken emphatically, in that the prophet does not simply say that God hates, but his soul hates, thereby declaring that God hates the wicked in a high degree, and with his whole heart.' In our version hardly any word has so uniform a rendering as the last verb in this verse. When given as a verb it is uniformly translated hate. Not fire is so opposed to water as the nature of God to sin. To him it is a horrible thing" (Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks [Edinburgh: Banner, 1975], p. 168; italics Plumer's).
John Kennedy of Dingwall (1813-1847): "Nor is it by concluding that because God is love, therefore He loveth all, that you can have before you the view of His character presented in the text. Beware of being content with a hope that springs from believing in a love of God apart from His Christ, and outside of the shelter of the cross. It may relieve you of a superficial fear. It may excite a feeling of joy and gratitude in your heart. It may beget in you what you may regard as love to God. This love, too, may be the mainspring of very active movements in the bustle of external service; but it leaves you, after all, away from God, ignoring His majesty and holiness, dispensing with His Christ, and enjoying a peace that has been secured by a cheating, instead of a purging, of your conscience. The time was when men openly preached an uncovenanted mercy as the resort of sinners, and laid the smoothness of that doctrine on the sores of the anxious. 'Universal love,' in these days in which evangelism is in fashion, is but another form in which the same 'deceit' is presented to the awakened. This is something from which an unrenewed man can take comfort. It is a pillow on which an alien can lay his head, and be at peace far off from God. It keeps out of view the necessity of vital union to Christ, and of turning unto God; and the hope which it inspires can be attained without felt dependence on the sovereign grace, and without submitting to the renewing work of God the Holy Ghost. 'God is love;' but when you hear this you are not told what must imply the declaration that He loves all, and that, therefore, He loves you. This tells us what He is, as revealed to us in the cross, and what all who come to Him through Christ will find Him to be. It is on this that faith has to operate. You have no right to regard that love, which is commended in the death of His Son, as embracing you if you have not yet believed. It is only with the character, not at all with the purpose, of God that you have in the first instance to do. What right have you to say that He loves all? Have you seen into the heart of God that you should say He loves you, until you have reached, as a sinner, through faith, the bosom of His love in Christ? 'But may I not think of God loving sinners without ascribing to Him any purpose to save?' God loving a sinner without a purpose to save him! The thing is inconceivable. I would reproach a fellow-sinner if I so conceived of his love. Love to one utterly ruined, and that love commanding resources that are sufficient for salvation, and yet no purpose to use them! Let not men so blaspheme the love of God. 'But may I not conceive of God as loving men to the effect of providing salvation, and to the effect of purchasing redemption for them, without this being followed out to the result of His purpose taking actual effect in their salvation?' No, verily. For the love of God is one, as the love of the Three in One. The one love of the One God is the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If that love generated in the person of the Father a purpose to provide, and in the person of the Son a purpose to redeem, it must have generated in the person of the Holy Ghost a purpose to apply. You cannot assign one set of objects to it, as the love of the Father, and a different set of objects to it, as 'the love of the Spirit.' And there can be no unaccomplished purpose of Jehovah. 'My counsel shall stand,' saith the Lord, 'and I will do all my pleasure.' 'The world,' which the Father loved and the Son redeemed, shall by the Spirit be convinced 'of sin, righteousness, and judgment,' and thus the Father’s pleasure shall prosper, and the Son’s 'travail' be rewarded, through the efficient grace of God the Holy Ghost" ("The Pleasure and Displeasure of God;" Eze. 33:11).
Herman Bavinck (1854-1921): "But also in that negative event of rejection there is frequently present a positive action of God, consisting in hatred (Mal. 1:2-3; Rom. 9:13), cursing (Gen. 9:25), hardening (Exod. 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:20, 27; 11:10; 14:4; Deut. 2:30; Josh. 11:20; 1 Sam. 2:25; Ps. 105:25; John 12:40; Rom. 9:18) infatuation (1 Kings 12:15; 2 Sam. 17:14; Ps. 107:40; Job 12:24; Isa. 44:25; 1 Cor. 1:19), blinding and stupefaction (Isa. 6:9; Matt. 13:13; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:26; Rom. 11:8)" (Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2 [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004], p. 393).
A. W. Pink (1886-1952):
 ‘Thou hatest all workers of iniquity’—not merely the works of iniquity. Here, then, is a flat repudiation of present teaching that, God hates sin but loves the sinner; Scripture says, ‘Thou hatest all workers of iniquity’ (Ps. 5:5)! ‘God is angry with the wicked every day.’ ‘He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God’—not ‘shall abide,’ but even now—‘abideth on him’ (Ps. 5:5; 8:11; John 3:36). Can God ‘love’ the one on whom His ‘wrath’ abides? Again; is it not evident that the words ‘The love of God which is in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 8:39) mark a limitation, both in the sphere and objects of His love? Again; is it not plain from the words ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9:13) that God does not love everybody? ... Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in the Lake of Fire? Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change—He is ‘without variableness or shadow of turning!’" (The Sovereignty of God, p. 248).
 "In the final analysis, the exercise of God's love must be traced back to His sovereignty, or, otherwise, He would love by rule; and if He loved by rule, then is He under a law of love, and if He is under a law of love then is He not supreme, but is Himself ruled by law. 'But,' it may be asked, 'Surely you do not deny that God loves the entire human family?' We reply, it is written, 'Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated' (Rom. 9:13). If then God loved Jacob and hated Esau, and that before they were born or had done either good or evil, then the reason for His love was not in them, but in Himself" (The Sovereignty of God, p. 25).
John Murray (1898-1975): "[Divine hatred can] scarcely be reduced to that of not loving or loving less ... the evidence would require, to say the least, the thought of disfavour, disapprobation, displeasure. There is also a vehement quality that may not be discounted ... We are compelled, therefore, to find in this word a declaration of the sovereign counsel of God as it is concerned with the ultimate destinies of men" (Romans, vol. 2, pp. 22, 24).
Lorraine Boettner (1901-1990): "One writer has asked, 'Did God love Pharaoh? (Rom. 9:17). Did He love the Amalekites? (Ex. 17:14). Did He love the Canaanites, who He commanded to be exterminated without mercy? (Deut. 20:16). Did He love the Ammonites and Moabites whom He commanded not to be received into the congregation forever? (Deut. 23:3). Does He love the workers of iniquity? (Ps. 5:5). Does He love the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, which He endures with much long-suffering? (Rom. 9:22). Did He love Esau? (Rom. 9:13)” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination [Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1932], p. 293).
Homer C. Hoeksema (1923-1989): "All history, in which vessels unto honor or unto dishonor are formed, is the revelation and realization of the counsel of God according to which He loved Jacob and all His elect people, but hated Esau and all the reprobate" (cf. "A Scriptural Presentation of God’s Hatred").
James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000): "although hatred in God is of a different character than hatred in sinful human beings—his is a holy hatred—hate in God nevertheless does imply disapproval ... [Esau] was the object of [God’s] displeasure ... Since the selection involved in the words love and hate was made before either of the children was born, the words must involve a double predestination in which, on the one hand, Jacob was destined to salvation and, on the other hand, Esau was destined to be passed over and thus to perish" (Romans, vol. 3, p. 1062).
Cornelius Hanko (1907-2005): "God loves His people in Christ, but He hates all the workers of iniquity (Ps. 5:5). Since God loves holiness, that very love turns in hatred against unholiness and sin. Since He is righteous, He burns with righteous indignation against all wickedness. Since He loves Himself as the sole Good, He banishes from His presence all that is in conflict with His Holy Name. God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him. No one has ever dared to deny that God hates the devil. And yet also the devil is one of God's creatures, who was created as a holy angel. If God hates the devil and his host, does He not hate those who are branded in Scripture as the very seed of the serpent, a generation of vipers? Nor can we distinguish between the deed and the person, as if God hates the sin but loves the sinner. For the deed can never be separated from the depravity of the one who commits the sin, nor can the guilt be reckoned to anyone but the guilty party. Therefore God does not banish sin to hell, but the sinner. The Word of God never hesitates, therefore, to declare that God's very soul hates the wicked and him that loveth violence (Ps. 11:5). "Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated" (Rom. 9:13). See also verses 17 and 18" ("Particular Love, Particular Atonement, and Missions," Standard Bearer, vol. 42, issue 4).