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birthright

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A Dictionary of the Bible What is This? Contains accessibly written entries for topics covering the religious, historical, and social aspects of the Bible.

    birthright

    The first-born son possessed a right of inheritance (Deut. 21: 17), and the first-born of both families and flocks were deemed to belong to God and had to be redeemed if they were to escape sacrifice (Exod. 13: 11–16). It was a scandal that Esau despised his birthright (Gen. 25: 34; Heb. 12: 16) and a paradox that Jacob's guile in wresting it from Esau was an early stage in Israel's privileged status with God.

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    Oxford University Press

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