Calvinists have interpreted this reference in Romans 9 to support their views of individual and unconditional election. This would mean Jacob was individually chosen to be effectually saved, while Esau was passed over to remain in his state of total depravity and certain condemnation. Non-Calvinists often refer to the passage where Christ calls us to hate our mother and father in order to be his disciple. Clearly that doesn't mean we literally "hate" them, otherwise that would be contradicting the command to "honor our father and mother." Instead, this is about choosing to honor God even over our parents. Likewise, the passage in Romans 9 is God's expression of choosing one nation (Israel) over another (Edom) to be used for "nobel purposes." The question I have for everyone to consider is this: If indeed these passage is interpreted Calvinistically then why does scripture seem to indicate that God helped the Edomites: Deuteronomy 2:22 NIV: The LORD had done the same for the descendants of Esau, who lived in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites from before them. They drove them out and have lived in their place to this day. And that Esau and Jacob were close friends who honored God for their successes? (Reference Genesis 33) If indeed, God individually "hated" Esau in that he was an un-elect reprobate and enemy of God, then why would Jacob and God respond to him in this way?