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Freedom is your birthright

From the July 2021 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Does “Birthright” sound like an antiquated concept no longer relevant to our lives? It may, yet an understanding of it can be something of a game changer.

In the Bible, a birthright was a very important privilege that would lead to a position of power. Granted to the firstborn son, it gave him the right to succeed his father as head of the family and to receive a double portion of his father’s property. It also gave him a position of spiritual leadership. The Interpreter’s Bible explains, “The one who held [the birthright] should be the representative of the family not only toward men but toward God” (Vol. 1, p. 725).

A story in Genesis tells of a young man, Esau, who got caught up in the worldliness of his day and lost sight of and disregarded his family’s spiritual approach to life, their traditions, and the value of his birthright. One day Esau came in from hunting and wanted some of the stew that Jacob, his younger twin, had been cooking. Seizing an opportunity, Jacob said, “I will give it to you if you give me your rights as the first-born son” (Genesis 25:31, Good News Translation). Esau, seemingly indifferent, undervalued what he possessed, and amicably agreed. Scholars suggest that surely their mother, Rebekah, had other food convenient for them both to eat, but Esau ate with no regret for what he had just traded away. Years later, he lost another privilege—his father was tricked into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob. 

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