Paul quotes Malachi 1:2 . But Esau I hated (ton de Esau emishsa). This language sounds a bit harsh to us. It is possible that the word misew did not always carry the full force of what we mean by "hate." See Matthew 6:24 where these very verbs (misew and agapaw) are contrasted. So also in Luke 14:26 about "hating" (misew) one's father and mother if coming between one and Christ. So in John 12:25 about "hating" one's life. There is no doubt about God's preference for Jacob and rejection of Esau, but in spite of Sanday and Headlam one hesitates to read into these words here the intense hatred that has always existed between the descendants of Jacob and of Esau.