Re: Aris: primogeniture
Read between the lines or just read the lines plainly.
That's the reason Jacob's behavior is so important. He applies the knowledge that intelligence is more important than birthright. The elder serves the younger (this exception couldn't be plainer). Ordinarily, intelligence reflects birthright but in the specific instance of Jacob, we have Laban tricking him into marrying the elder duller sister when Jacob had bargained for the younger smarter one. Jacob ignores primogeniture in his mate choice but Laban cites the rule of primogeniture, to justify replacing Rachel with Leah. But primogeniture is "usurped" by intelligence. Right, Jacob the usurper?
Intelligence trumps birthright. That's the message.
--- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "Holly" <gmrf@...> wrote:
> Hey Rich:
> You wrote:
> My understanding of the elder serving the younger has nothing to do
> with the status quo. It is, in fact, a story not of maintaining the status quo
> but of upending an existing order by usurpation.
> Holly replies:
> The "existing order" of primogeniture is YHWH sanctioned throughout the OT; including the Torah. I found the following article which you should find interesting:
> pri-mo-jen'-i-tur (bekhorah, from bekhor, "firstborn," from bakhar, "to act early"; prototokia):
> 1. Recognition of Doctrine:
> The right of the firstborn to inherit the headship of the family, carrying with it certain property rights and usually such titles as those of the high-priesthood or kingship. The writings of the Hebrews take for granted the recognition of a doctrine of primogeniture from the earliest times. In the most ancient genealogies a distinction is drawn between the firstborn and the other son (Gen 10:15; 22:21; 25:13; 35:23; 36:15). In the bestowal of parental blessings in patriarchal times great importance was attached to preferring the firstborn (Gen 25:31; 27:29; 48:13; 49:3). The feud between Jacob and Esau (Gen 27:1 through 28:21) grew out of the stealing of the firstborn's blessing by the younger brother. Joseph was displeased when, in his blessing, Jacob seemed to prefer Ephraim to Manasseh, his firstborn (Gen 48:18). The father in such cases seems to have had the right to transfer the birthright from one son to another, from the days of Abraham in the case of Ishmael and Isaac, through those of Jacob in the matter of Reuben and Joseph and in the matter of Ephraim and Manasseh, down to the days of David in the selection of a successor to the kingship. Nevertheless, the Mosaic code, which declared (rather than enacted) the law of primogeniture, prohibited the abuse of this parental privilege in the case of a younger son by a favorite wife (Dt 21:16 f).
> 2. The Double Portion:
> The manner of acknowledging the firstborn incidentally referred to in Dt is "by giving him a double portion of all that he hath" (Dt 21:17), that is to say, double the share of each of the other brothers. Jewish tradition (Bekho. 46a, 47b, 51a, 51b; Babha' Bathra' 122a, 122b, 123a, 124a, 142b) accepts and elaborates on this right of the firstborn son. Thus, it applies only to the firstborn and not the eldest surviving son; it does not apply to daughters; it has reference only to the paternal estate, and not to the inheritance left by a mother or other relative, nor to improvements or accessions made to an estate after the death of the father.
> 3. Reasons for the Custom:
> The object of the doctrine may be that the eldest son might be enabled to preside over the affairs of family with proper dignity, or that he might assume additional responsibilities, such as the support of unmarried sisters. Hence, one's birthright could be waived or sold (Gen 25:31,34). On the other hand it may be based in the ultimate analysis on the primitive feeling of favoritism for the firstborn reflected in the disappointment of Jacob, when he speaks of Reuben as his firstborn, his might, and the beginning of his strength (re'shith 'on, Gen 49:3; compare Dt 21:17). This theory would be in accord with the right of the parent to transfer the right to a younger son. The suggestion of favoritism conveyed by the Hebrew bekhor is manifested in its figurative use: of Israel (Ex 4:22), of Ephraim (Jer 31:9), of one dearly beloved (Zec 12:10); (compare figurative usage in the New Testament: Rom 8:29; Heb 12:23; 1:6; Rev 1:5).
> 4. The Firstborn in Ancient Society; Sacrifice and Redemption:
> Light is thrown on the attitude of the ancient world toward the firstborn, and hence, on the history of primogeniture, by the language used in connection with the plague of the firstborn: "from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maidservant that is behind the mill" or "the captive that was in the dungeon." Apparently no more dreadful catastrophe for all classes of society could be thought of than this slaying of the firstborn (Ex 11:5; 12:29). The misguided fervor of the ancient Semites who offered their firstborn as the thing most dearly beloved as a sacrifice to their gods must be considered in this light, whether it appears among the Moabites, the Phoenicians or the Hebrews themselves (Jer 32:35; Ezek 20:26,31; 2 Ch 28:3). It is difficult to predicate a connection between the basis of the doctrine of primogeniture and that of the Redemption of the First-born, other than that both are ultimately based on the importance of a firstborn son and the fondness of his parents for him. It is interesting to note, however, that the tradition of redemption and the law of primogeniture are kept so distinct that, while the latter has reference only to the firstborn of a father, the former has reference only to the firstborn of a mother (Bekho, viii. l, 46a; compare peTer rechem, "whatsoever openeth the womb," Ex 13:2). In a polygamous society such as that presupposed in Dt 21 it is natural to suppose that the distinction between paternal and maternal primogeniture would be clearly before the minds of the people.
> See BIRTHRIGHT; FIRSTBORN.
> Nathan Isaacs
> Bibliography Information
> Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'PRIMOGENITURE'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.
> End quote
> Take Care
You say: "I have to assume that I am not the first person to point out
the flaws caused by your misuse of generalizations."
Sorry to disappoint you, but you are indeed the first, and you are not very specific either.
You say "Repeating an assertion does not make it any truer the next time around.
There is great agreement on almost all issues. "
Sorry to disturb your peace, but repeating your assertion doesn't make it truer either.
You say "My paper contains many citations from well-respected, mainstream scholars all saying
essentially the same thing on a wide variety of topics. "
The basic rule and methodology in any scientific paper should be: "evidence has priority, parroting each other's opinion has no historical value whatsoever." Even if everybody agrees that the world is gfoing to end and go sit on the Himalaya to await their fate, that doesn't make the world come to an end either.
You say: "If you have any evidence of this supposed disagreement, then it is way past time for you
to put it on the table."
You simply don't want me to come up with contra-evidence. However, it's not about evidence that someone disagrees. It's about evidence that whoever says something is indeed right based not on opinion but on contemporary evidence itself or at least some logic.
You say "The fact that there is such a dispute over the co-regency adds weight to my arguments, given that this is the only period in Egyptian history for which scholars see evidence
of a ruler who may never have had an independent rule. "
In any case, the concept of monotheism, whether related to Akhenaten or to Moses, has been over-romantisized by both scholars and the general public, in the past and will still be in the near future. Monotheism is nothing new. It existed since the very beginning of humanity, and any baby can tell you that.
Holland, Den Haag
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