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.