A Hyperbole of Antithesis--Paul W. Esposito, Th.D.
People all the time love to quote Malachi 1:2-3 and Romans 9:13 which says, “Jacob I’ve loved, but Esau I’ve hated,” to prove that God literally hated Esau, and that was His sovereign choice.
I remember learning in college (Moody Bible Institute) that this example is what’s known as a “hyperbole of antithesis.” Here are two of them:
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26)
Let’s break this down:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate…
Brothers and Sisters
He cannot be a Christian.
By the way, how are you doing with that?
This brings along with it a hearty laugh, followed by the words, “That’s not what’s intended by that verse!”
“That’s a hyperbole!”
Correct! I agree.
And here’s another example of a hyperbole of antithesis:
As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” (Romans 9:13)
Notice the comparative structure of both of these.
What the Lord is saying is, your love for Him ought to dwarf your love for everything else, by comparison.
When the smoke clears, at the conclusion of Revelation chapter 19, and the Great White Throne is before one and all, it’s hard to fathom that God hated some 90 % of His creation.
I can still envision this sign hanging over the gates of heaven:
“Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)
It’s your choice!
This I know, and will boldly declare: GOD LOVES YOU!!