Birth

“As soon as a child was born it was washed, and rubbed with salt” “(Ezek. 16:4), and then swathed with bandages (Job 38:9; Luke” “2:7, 12). A Hebrew mother remained forty days in seclusion after” “the birth of a son, and after the birth of a daughter double” that number of days. At the close of that period she entered into the tabernacle or temple and offered up a sacrifice of purification (Lev. 12:1-8; Luke 2:22). A son was circumcised on “the eighth day after his birth, being thereby consecrated to God” (Gen. 17:10-12; comp. Rom. 4:11). Seasons of misfortune are “likened to the pains of a woman in travail, and seasons of” prosperity to the joy that succeeds child-birth (Isa. 13:8; Jer. “4:31; John 16:21, 22). The natural birth is referred to as the” “emblem of the new birth (John 3:3-8; Gal. 6:15; Titus 3:5,” etc.).

“The observance of birth-days was common in early times (Job 1:4,” “13, 18). They were specially celebrated in the land of Egypt” (Gen. 40:20). There is no recorded instance in Scripture of the celebration of birth-days among the Jews. On the occasion of Herod’s birth-day John the Baptist was beheaded (Matt. 14:6).

(1.) This word denotes the special privileges and advantages belonging to the first-born son among the Jews. He became the priest of the family. Thus Reuben was the first-born of the “patriarchs, and so the priesthood of the tribes belonged to him.” “That honour was, however, transferred by God from Reuben to Levi” “(Num. 3:12, 13; 8:18).” “(2.) The first-born son had allotted to him also a double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deut. 21:15-17). Reuben “was, because of his undutiful conduct, deprived of his” birth-right (Gen. 49:4; 1 Chr. 5:1). Esau transferred his birth-right to Jacob (Gen. 25:33). “(3.) The first-born inherited the judicial authority of his “father, whatever it might be (2 Chr. 21:3). By divine” “appointment, however, David excluded Adonijah in favour of” Solomon. “(4.) The Jews attached a sacred importance to the rank of “first-born and “first-begotten” as applied to the Messiah” (Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18; Heb. 1:4-6). As first-born he has an “inheritance superior to his brethren, and is the alone true” priest.

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