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first-born, redemption of

first-born, redemption of in the Bible

From the beginning the office of the priesthood in each family belonged to the eldest son. But when the extensive plan of sacrificial worship was introduced, requiring a company of men to be exclusively devoted to this ministry, the primitive office of the first-born was superseded by that of the Levites (Num. 3:11-13), and it was ordained that the first-born of man and of unclean animals should henceforth be redeemed (18:15). The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man are recorded in Ex. 13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Num. 3:45; 8:17; 18:16; Lev. 12:2, 4. The first-born male of every clean animal was to be given up to the priest for sacrifice (Deut. 12:6; Ex. 13:12; 34:20; Num. 18:15-17). But the first-born of unclean animals was either to be redeemed or sold and the price given to the priest (Lev. 27:11-13, 27). The first-born of an ass, if not redeemed, was to be put to death (Ex. 13:13; 34:20).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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