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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

BeMidbar 34-6

In the desert of

Numbers 3:40-51

Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine. I am the LORD.

Num. 3:45 NIV

Why does the Eternal want the first-borns?

Abel offered the first-borns of his sheep, what he appreciated the most because it was born first, to the Eternal because in this way, he could offer Him the best. Thus, he showed in a tangible way his love for the Eternal and the Eternal looked with favour on Abel and his offering (Gen. 4:4).

When the firstborns of all Egypt were struck by the angel during the night of Pesach, the Eternal consecrated Israel's firstborns to be His in a very special way.

The firstborn male is born to become the priest and chief of the family and represent his father. Therefore, the first-born right implies a great responsibility and also certain rights greater than the rest of the brothers. The first born children represent all the siblings, that is why it's written that the Eternal struck Egypt in their firstborn (Ps. 136:10).

Before the golden calf sin all the firstborn sons of Israel were priests (Ex. 19:22) but the Levites were then taken in their stead. So the task of the Levites was actually the first-born males' task if they hadn't sinned.

Now, when the people of Israel were called to be an exclusive possession of the Eternal from among all the peoples, there was an implication of being a priestly nation (Ex. 19:5-6). So, the entire people of Israel were called to be priests in relation to the rest of the nations. But within the people, there was also a separation between the priests and the rest of the people. The first-born males, at the beginning, and then the Levites, specially the sons of Aharon, were taken to be priests in relation to the rest of the people. Israel is a priestly nation for the rest of the nations and the tribe of Levi is the priestly tribe for the other tribes.

Why does the Eternal want the first-born males to be more exclusively his than the rest? Because not only do they represent the family but they also are the first fruit of a woman's womb and the first fruits are always for the Eternal, because He is the first one in everything. When we give Him the first of anything, the rest is consecrated. When the Levite priests give themselves to the Eternal, the rest of the people are consecrated and when the people of Israel are consecrated, the rest of the nations are consecrated.

That's why it's not an offence from the Eternal when He chooses a group to be closer to Him; it is His way of blessing everyone. When the priest is blessed, the blessing passes along to the whole people.

When the heavenly High Priest was raised from among the dead, everlasting life became accessible to all.

Deliver to the Eternal the first of anything you receive always, and the rest of your possessions will be consecrated.

Kol tuv,


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