“Did the Lord Really ‘Hate’ Esau?”
2 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,
3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever.
5 And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.
“The word hated in Hebrew means to be loved less than someone else, not to be disliked with bitter hostility (compare Genesis 29:31). Esau was the brother of Jacob, who became Israel, father of the twelve tribes. Students of the scriptures know that the Lord hates the sin rather than the sinner, but when people array themselves against the Lord as Esau and his descendants, the Edomites, had done for centuries, the Lord withdraws His blessings. In this sense, Jacob was loved and Esau hated.
“So complete was the rejection of the Lord by Esau’s descendants that they came to symbolize to the prophets the wickedness of humanity in general [see D&C 1:36]. Before Malachi’s time they were known as Edomites, or Idumeans, and their place of habitation was known as Edom. Jacob stood as a symbol for Israel or the chosen people while Esau (Edom) symbolized the world. This gives the Lord’s statement much broader meaning.”
(Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 351.)