Then it shall be, when he makes his sons to inherit that which he has, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 25:31), but recognized them, since he found them pre-existing in the general social system of the East. Paternal authority could set aside these rights on just grounds Genesis 27:33, but it is forbidden here to do so from mere partiality. He may not; it is not lawful, because contrary to the rights and law of nature.
Before the son, or, before the face of the son, i.e. in his lifetime, as this phrase is understood, Genesis 11:28 16:12 25:18. And when this phrase is rendered before another, it signifies only in the presence of another, but never notes the preference of one person to another, which the Hebrews express in another manner. And this may be added to intimate, that if the eldest son were dead, and had left a child, the father was free to give the right of his first-born unto his second son, rather than to the child of the eldest. Or this phrase may be an aggravation of the fact, whereby his father did in a manner spit in his face, and fasten a reproach upon him in his very sight and presence. Luke 15:12,
that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn; that is, when such is the case, that the son of his wife he has the least value for is really his firstborn, he may not, through favour and affection to the wife he loves better, prefer her son, and declare him to be the firstborn, by devising to him or bestowing on him the double portion of his goods; for so to do would not be right, or agreeably to the will and law of God; for though previous to this law the birthright was given to Joseph, the eldest son of Rachel, the most beloved wife of Jacob, before Reuben who was the son of Leah, less beloved by him, and was in fact his firstborn; yet this was owing to the sin of Reuben, and by the appointment of God; see Genesis 49:3.Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. in the day that he causeth his sons to inherit] When he makes his will, Genesis 24:36; Genesis 25:5; cp. 2 Samuel 17:23, 2 Kings 20:1.
before] in preference to (see on Deuteronomy 5:7), R.V. margin is improbable.Verse 16. - He may not make; literally, is not able to make; i.e. is legally incapable of making. Deuteronomy 7:3), but, as a comparison of the introductory words in Deuteronomy 21:1 with Deuteronomy 20:1 clearly shows, to the wars which Israel would carry on with surrounding nations after the conquest of Canaan. שׁבי and שׁביה, the captivity, for the captives.
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