Imagine a wealthy family in Old Testament times: father, mother, four sons, and three daughters. Who gets the money when Dad dies? Most would point to the firstborn son, but that’s just partly right. If Dad has four sons, his estate is divided into five equal shares. All the sons receive a portion, but the eldest, who has the birthright, receives two—a double portion. The three younger brothers leave with their portions, but the eldest doesn’t go anywhere because with his extra portion comes added responsibility. He is expected to care for his mother and provide dowries so his sisters can be properly married. Even after his mother and sisters are gone, he will stay to govern the affairs of his father’s estate. Of course he will marry and have his own family, but he will spend the rest of his life fulfilling his birthright responsibilities.
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