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(For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Note 3 at Ro 9:11: Paul was citing these Old Testament examples to show that those who were considered the children of Abraham were not his physical descendants, but they were chosen by God, in this case, before they were born. This proves God's election is not based on birth or performance (see note 2 at Ro 9:8).
However, some people have interpreted this verse and the quotation from Mal 1:2-3 in Ro 9:13 as an example of extreme predestination. They reason that Esau was hated by God before he was born (see note 5 at Ro 9:12). Therefore, some people are predestined by God for damnation, while some are elected to salvation before they are ever born. This means people have no choice in the matter. That is not what these verses are saying.
As explained in note 2 at Ro 8:29, God's predestination is based on His foreknowledge (see note 1 at Ro 8:29). Only those whom God foreknew would accept Him have been elected and predestinated. God did not force Jacob and Esau to make the choices they made. But through His foreknowledge, He was able to foresee who would respond to Him, and that is the one He chose.
Note 4 at Ro 9:11: The doctrine of election is based on God's foreknowledge (see note 1 at Ro 8:29) the same way that predestination is based on His foreknowledge (see note 2 at Ro 8:29). This can be clearly seen in 1Pe 1:2, which says we are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." God does not choose people independent of their free will. Instead, through His foreknowledge, He knows who will choose Him, and those are the individuals He elects to be His own.