Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


First-born, a Biblical term for the first offspring of man or beast, which the Lord claimed as a tribute from the Israelites (Exodus xiii. 11-16). It is interesting to note that, long before the law was given, the sacrifice of Isaac (Sarah's eldest son, though not Abraham's) was demanded; and it may be that the law, with its provision for the redemption of male children, involves a reminiscence of the practice of the ancient Semites, who seem to have carried their human sacrifices to the highest pitch of abnegation, as among the Phcenicians none but only-begotten children could be offered to the gods.