From the Cruciform View on Romans 9:13
First off, Paul is quoting Malachi 1:2-3 in verse 13. It was common practice in the ancient world to refer to a whole corporate, nation with the name of a patriarchal individual. Indeed, this where the name “Israel” comes from. The corporate nation of people was named after the individual patriarch Jacob, after his name was changed to Israel (Gen. 32:22-28). Likewise with the twelve corporate tribes of Israel, with each group being named after it’s individual patriarch (Judah, Benjamin, Napthali, etc.). Paul is not referring to individuals in this passage, but rather to the corporate nations that were their descendants. (I explained the idea of corporate election a little bit more in my treatment of Romans 8:28-30 in Part 4 of this blog series)
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