"But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his."
(Deuteronomy 21:17 KJV)
In the above Scripture, it states that the right of the firstborn is to inherit a "double portion" of the estate and implies that the other sons should share equally. The concept of birthright had started with God's promises to Abraham: land, including Canaan; a great nation and the Messiah. The promises were to be transferred to the oldest legitimate son, Isaac. When Abraham died, Isaac inherited 100% of the estate but Abraham had given gifts to each of his other sons before he died.
The birthright could be transferred to other sons if the oldest was found to be unworthy. So, instead of Reuben (Genesis 49:3-4), Jacob blessed his 4th son, Judah, with leadership and blessed the two sons of Joseph (11th) equally with his other sons. This may have started the idea that the birthright in any Jewish family would include a double portion of the material possessions. All this occurred before Our Awesome God gave Moses the law and the book of Deuteronomy.
As the population grew during the Egyptian bondage, identifying a single son of promise became impractical and the promises of God were essentially nationalized. However, the birthright division of material wealth was kept and eventually codified into the Mosaic Law. Deuteronomy 21:15-17 commands how the birthright is to be assigned if a man has more than one wife, but it also confirms the double portion provision. For the most part, women did not inherit, but under certain conditions, daughters could inherit provided they married within their tribe (Numbers 27:1-11, 36:6).
With the establishment of human kings, the royal birthright was expanded to include the throne (2 Chronicles 21:3). Some of the kings exercised considerable leeway in assigning the birthright. Both David (1 Kings 1:11-13) and Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:21-23) chose younger sons to be the next king and Our Awesome God allowed it to happen. Inheritance was an important part of the Jewish culture and is often mentioned in the Old Testament.
When Jesus Christ fulfilled the law’s punishment for sin and established the new covenant, the civil provisions of the law still applied to the Jews. For Christians, Jewish and Gentile, the emphasis shifted to our spiritual inheritance (1 Corinthians 15:50). Every adopted son of God (Romans 8:15-17) will inherit the kingdom (Matthew 25:34).
Join us as we learn more about our spiritual inheritance in heaven from an Awesome God and with His Son, Jesus Christ. Come to Living Word Baptist Church at 10:30 AM every Sunday and Bible Study is at 6:00 PM with AWANA for Children until 7:30 PM.. We have an Intercessory Prayer Team and Bible Study at 7:00 PM Wednesday. Learn with us how to use and invest your time with wisdom for God!
Flo & Bill