By Frederick E. Greenspahn

Even if primogeniture is usually assumed to have prevailed through the global and firstborns are considered as probably to be successful, a number of the so much favorite figures in biblical literature are more youthful offspring, together with Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, and Solomon. Adducing facts from quite a lot of disciplines, this research demonstrates that historic Israelite fathers have been loose to decide on their basic heirs. instead of being both legally mandated or a protest opposed to the present norm, the Bible's propensity for more youthful offspring conforms to a common people motif, evoking innocence, vulnerability, and future. in the biblical context, this topic heightens God's position in aiding ostensibly not going heroes. Drawing at the assets of legislation, anthropology, folklore, and linguistics, Greenspahn indicates how those stories function complicated parables of God's dating to his selected humans, additionally reflecting Israel's personal ache with the contradiction among its theology of election and the truth of political weak spot.

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12 Lawrence E. Stager and Samuel R. " Biblical Archaeology Review 10:1 (January-February 1984) 47-49; a survey of the archaeological evidence for child sacrifice is presented in Paul G. Mosca, "Child Sacrifice in Canaanite and Israelite Religion," pp. 38-55. , Lev 18:21, 20:2-5, Deut 12:31, 18:9-10, 2 Kings 16:3, 21:6, Jer 7:31, 19:5, 32:35, Ezek 16:20-21, 20:31, 23:39, Ps 106:37-38. The sacrifice described in 1 Kings 16:34 includes both the bekor and the sa'ir. 14 The exaggerated tone of this speech, which opposes reliance on ritual alone, makes it a dubious basis from which to draw inferences as to actual Israelite custom.

Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, pp. , Gluckstadt: J. J. Augustin, 1951) p. 59; see also Kairo S7139, lines 31-32, as cited by Kurt Sethe, "Ein Prozessurteil aus dem alten Reich," Zeitschrift fur Agyptische Sprache 61 (1926) 69. 47 In Israel, there is no evidence that firstborns had ever exercised priestly responsibilities. 48 Nor is there any evidence that Israel's priesthood was ever restricted to firstborns. 49 Other priestly groups are presented as collateral lines, with no indication that one was more highly regarded than another.

44 In the words of Hindu tradition, the oldest son "is born for duty, upon whom [the father] bestows the debt [of ancestor worship] and through whom [the father] obtains immortality. "46 However, these responsibilities are not always limited to firstborns. For example, the Ugaritic King Danel laments not having "a son in his house, a scion in the midst of his palace to set up a stele for his divine ancestors, 42 The biblical citations are listed by Arthur M. D. dissertation, 1965] pp. 181-209), who notes the connection to inheritance on pp.

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