Monday, March 7, 2011

How the firstborn right was transferred to Isaac from Ishmael

What is the definition of the Firstborn son?

Is it the first male child of the womb or the first male child of the father???

The Torah says the nationality of a child depends on the Hebrew mother and not on his father. So Hagar an Egyptian slave girl has no equal status as her mistress Sarah the Hebrew.

21:11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

21:12 And Elohim said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

21:13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

The status of the firstborn rights can be revoked by casting out or sold in exchange for any monetary value.

Ishmael lost his firstborn birthrights when both Hagar and Ishmael were cast out and their relationship were cut off --

Gen 21:9-14. The birthright is not a permanent status similar to the citizenship of a person which can be revoked or given by the govt.

The firstborn might sell his birthrights as Esau did (Genesis 25:29-34) or forfeit them for misconduct as Reuben did because of incest (Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:3-4).

The Jewish Law on Firstborn rights is for the Jews only!

If an Israelite father had a son by a non-Jewish woman and thereafter has a son by a Jewish woman, the latter son does enjoy the prerogative of the firstborn son, since the former is called her, and not his, son (Maim. Yad, Naḥalot 2:12).

Genesis 21:10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and HER son: for the son of this bondwoman shall NOT be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

Ishmael was initially adopted by Sarah as her son but later rejected him because she subsequently had her own son.

16:1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, YHWH hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

16:3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

The context of wife in Gen 16:3 is to bear a son for Sarai Gen 16:2 "that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai." Bear in mind that God closed the womb of Sarai to be blessed in God's time at her 90 years to bear a miraclous son!

The Biblical Context of the Firstborn
First son born to a couple and required to be specially dedicated to God. The firstborn son of newly married people was believed to represent the prime of human vigor (Genesis 49:3; Psalms 78:51). In memory of the death of Egypt's firstborn and the preservation of the firstborn of Israel, all the firstborn of Israel, both of man and beast, belonged to Yahweh (Exodus 13:2,Exodus 13:15; compare Exodus 12:12-16). This meant that the people of Israel attached unusual value to the eldest son and assigned special privileges and responsibilities to him. He was presented to the Lord when he was a month old. Since he belonged to the Lord, it was necessary for the father to buy back the child from the priest at a redemption price not to exceed five shekels (Numbers 18:16). The husband of several wives would have to redeem the firstborn of each.

        The birthright of a firstborn included a double portion of the estate and leadership of the family. As head of the house after his father's death, the eldest son customarily cared for his mother until her death, and he also provided for his sisters until their marriage. The firstborn might sell his rights as Esau did (Genesis 25:29-34) or forfeit them for misconduct as Reuben did because of incest (Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:3-4).

        The firstborn of a clean animal was brought into the sanctuary on the eighth day after birth (Exodus 22:30). If it were without blemish, it was sacrificed (Deuteronomy 15:19; Numbers 18:17). If it had a blemish, the priest to whom it was given could eat it as common food outside Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 15:21-23), or it could be eaten at home by its owner. Apparently the firstborn of clean animals were not to be used for any work since they belonged to the Lord (Deuteronomy 15:19).

        The firstborn of an unclean animal had to be redeemed by an estimation of the priest, with the addition of one-fifth (Leviticus 27:27; Numbers 18:15). According to Exodus 13:13; Exodus 34:20, the firstborn of an ass was either ransomed by a sheep or lamb, or its neck had to be broken

        Figuratively, Israel was God's "firstborn" (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9) and enjoyed priority status. God compared His relationship to Israel with the relationship of a father and his firstborn son. Within Israel, the tribe of Levi represented the firstborn of the nation in its worship ceremony (Numbers 3:40-41; Numbers 8:18).

        Christ is the "firstborn" of the Father (Hebrews 1:6) by having preeminent position over others in relation to Him. He is also described as "firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29) and "firstborn of all creation" (Colossians 1:15 NAS). Paul (Colossians 1:18) and John (Revelation 1:5) refer to Christ as "firstborn from the dead"—the first to rise bodily from the grave and not die again.

The firstborn rights is transferable to other son and is not always the eldest son although it is an usual practice. Ishmael lost his birthright when Abraham cast him and her mother Hagar out of the family upon the advice of Sarah.

No comments: