- firstborn used 117 times.
- First Reference: Genesis 10:15
- Last Reference: Hebrews 12:23
- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: No
- Included in Naves: Yes
- Included in Smiths: Yes
- Included in Websters: No
- Included in Strongs: Yes
- Included in Thayers: Yes
- Included in BDB: Yes
Sons enjoyed certain special privileges (Deuteronomy 21:17; Genesis 25:23, 31, 34; 49:3; 1 Chronicles 5:1; Hebrews 12:16; Psalms 89:27). (See BIRTHRIGHT.)
The "first-born of the poor" signifies the most miserable of the poor (Isaiah 14:30). The "church of the first-born" signifies the church of the redeemed.
The destruction of the first-born was the last of the ten plagues inflicted on the Egyptians (Exodus 11:1-8; 12:29, 30).
Menephtah is probably the Pharaoh whose first-born was slain. His son did not succeed or survive his father, but died early. The son's tomb has been found at Thebes unfinished, showing it was needed earlier than was expected. Some of the records on the tomb are as follows: "The son whom Menephtah loves; who draws towards him his father's heart, the singer, the prince of archers, who governed Egypt on behalf of his father. Dead."
Of man and beast, reserved to Himself by God
Exodus 13:2; Exodus 13:12-16; Exodus 22:29-30; Exodus 34:19-20; Leviticus 27:26; Numbers 3:13; Numbers 8:17-18; Deuteronomy 15:19-23; Nehemiah 10:36
Exodus 13:13; Exodus 34:20; Leviticus 27:27; Numbers 3:40-51; Numbers 18:15-17
Levites taken instead of firstborn of the families of Israel
Numbers 3:12; Numbers 3:40-45; Numbers 8:16-18
Of Egyptians, slain
Exodus 11:5; Exodus 12:12; Exodus 12:29; Exodus 13:15; Numbers 33:4; Psalms 78:51; Psalms 105:36; Psalms 136:10
Of idolaters, sacrificed
Authority over younger members of the household
A double portion of inheritance
2 Chronicles 21:3
Honorable distinction of
Exodus 4:22; Psalms 89:27; Jeremiah 31:9; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:6; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 1:5
Sold by Esau
Genesis 25:29-34; Genesis 27:36; Romans 9:12-13; Hebrews 12:16
Forfeited by Reuben
Genesis 49:3-4; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2
That of Manasseh
Genesis 48:15-20; 1 Chronicles 5:1
That of Adonijah
1 Kings 2:15
That of Hosah's son
1 Chronicles 26:10
Under the law, in memory of the exodus (when the first-born of the Egyptians were slain), the eldest son was regarded as devoted to God, and was in very case to be redeemed by an offering not exceeding five shekels, within one month from birth. If he died before the expiration of thirty days, the Jewish doctors held the father excused, but liable to the payment if he outlived that time. (Exodus 13:12-15,16; Leviticus 27:6) The eldest son received a double portion of the father's inheritance, (21:17) but not of the mother's. Under the monarchy the eldest son usually, but no always, as appears in the case of Solomon, succeeded his father in the kingdom. (1 Kings 1:30; 2:22) The male first-born of animals was also devoted to God. (Exodus 13:2,12,13; 22:29; 34:19,20) Unclean animals were to be redeemed with the addition of one-fifth of the value, or else put to death; or, if not redeemed, to be sold, and the price given to the priests. (Leviticus 27:13,27,28)
From the beginning the office of the priesthood in each family belonged to the eldest son. But when the extensive plan of sacrificial worship was introduced, requiring a company of men to be exclusively devoted to this ministry, the primitive office of the first-born was superseded by that of the Levites (Numbers 3:11-13), and it was ordained that the first-born of man and of unclean animals should henceforth be redeemed (18:15).
The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man are recorded in Exodus 13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Numbers 3:45; 8:17; 18:16; Leviticus 12:2, 4.
The first-born male of every clean animal was to be given up to the priest for sacrifice (Deuteronomy 12:6; Exodus 13:12; 34:20; Numbers 18:15-17).
But the first-born of unclean animals was either to be redeemed or sold and the price given to the priest (Leviticus 27:11-13, 27). The first-born of an ass, if not redeemed, was to be put to death (Exodus 13:13; 34:20).
A peculiar sanctity was attached to the first-born both of man and of cattle. God claimed that the first-born males of man and of animals should be consecrated to him, the one as a priest (Exodus 19:22, 24), representing the family to which he belonged, and the other to be offered up in sacrifice (Genesis 4:4).