and Jacob saith, 'Sell to-day thy birthright to me.'
Genesis 25:31 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Sell me this day thy birthright - What the בחרה bechorah or birthright was, has greatly divided both ancient and modern commentators. It is generally supposed that the following rights were attached to the primogeniture:
1. Authority and superiority over the rest of the family.
2. A double portion of the paternal inheritance.
3. The peculiar benediction of the father.
4. The priesthood, previous to its establishment in the family of Aaron.
Calmet controverts most of these rights, and with apparent reason, and seems to think that the double portion of the paternal inheritance was the only incontestable right which the first-born possessed; the others were such as were rather conceded to the first-born, than fixed by any law in the family. However this may be, it appears,
1. That the first-born were peculiarly consecrated to God, Exodus 22:29.
2. Were next in honor to their parents, Genesis 49:3.
3. Had a double portion of their father's goods, Deuteronomy 21:17.
4. Succeeded him in the government of the family or kingdom, 2 Chronicles 21:3.
5. Had the sole right of conducting the service of God, both at the tabernacle and temple; and hence the tribe of Levi, which was taken in lieu of the first-born, had the sole right of administration in the service of God, Numbers 8:14-18; and hence we may presume, had originally a right to the priesthood previous to the giving of the law; but however this might have been, afterwards the priesthood is never reckoned among the privileges of the first-born.
That the birthright was a matter of very great importance, there can be no room to doubt; and that it was a transferable property, the transaction here sufficiently proves.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Deuteronomy 21:16 then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn.
Deuteronomy 21:17 "But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.
1 Chronicles 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright.
1 Chronicles 5:2 Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph),
Genesis 25:31 Parallel CommentariesBirth Birthright Birth-Right First Jacob Right Sell To-DayBirth Birthright Birth-Right First Jacob Right Sell To-DayTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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