Deuteronomy 21:16
Then it shall be, when he makes his sons to inherit that which he has, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
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21:15-17 This law restrains men from disinheriting their eldest sons without just cause. The principle in this case as to children, is still binding to parents; they must give children their right without partiality.Moses did not originate the rights of primogeniture (compare Genesis 25:31), but recognized them, since he found them pre-existing in the general social system of the East. Paternal authority could set aside these rights on just grounds Genesis 27:33, but it is forbidden here to do so from mere partiality. 15-17. If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated—In the original and all other translations, the words are rendered "have had," referring to events that have already taken place; and that the "had" has, by some mistake, been omitted in our version, seems highly probable from the other verbs being in the past tense—"hers that was hated," not "hers that is hated"; evidently intimating that she (the first wife) was dead at the time referred to. Moses, therefore, does not here legislate upon the case of a man who has two wives at the same time, but on that of a man who has married twice in succession, the second wife after the decease of the first; and there was an obvious necessity for legislation in these circumstances; for the first wife, who was hated, was dead, and the second wife, the favorite, was alive; and with the feelings of a stepmother, she would urge her husband to make her own son the heir. This case has no bearing upon polygamy, which there is no evidence that the Mosaic code legalized. He may not; it is not lawful, because contrary to the rights and law of nature.

Before the son, or, before the face of the son, i.e. in his lifetime, as this phrase is understood, Genesis 11:28 16:12 25:18. And when this phrase is rendered before another, it signifies only in the presence of another, but never notes the preference of one person to another, which the Hebrews express in another manner. And this may be added to intimate, that if the eldest son were dead, and had left a child, the father was free to give the right of his first-born unto his second son, rather than to the child of the eldest. Or this phrase may be an aggravation of the fact, whereby his father did in a manner spit in his face, and fasten a reproach upon him in his very sight and presence. Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath,.... By a will in writing, or byword of mouth, or by a deed of gift, actually bestowing his goods upon them, and dividing among them what he is for the present possessed of; see Luke 15:12,

that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn; that is, when such is the case, that the son of his wife he has the least value for is really his firstborn, he may not, through favour and affection to the wife he loves better, prefer her son, and declare him to be the firstborn, by devising to him or bestowing on him the double portion of his goods; for so to do would not be right, or agreeably to the will and law of God; for though previous to this law the birthright was given to Joseph, the eldest son of Rachel, the most beloved wife of Jacob, before Reuben who was the son of Leah, less beloved by him, and was in fact his firstborn; yet this was owing to the sin of Reuben, and by the appointment of God; see Genesis 49:3.

Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
16. in the day that he causeth his sons to inherit] When he makes his will, Genesis 24:36; Genesis 25:5; cp. 2 Samuel 17:23, 2 Kings 20:1.

before] in preference to (see on Deuteronomy 5:7), R.V. margin is improbable.Verse 16. - He may not make; literally, is not able to make; i.e. is legally incapable of making. Treatment of a Wife who had been a Prisoner of War. - If an Israelite saw among the captives, who had been brought away in a war against foreign nations, a woman of beautiful figure, and loved her, and took her as his wife, he was to allow her a month's time in his house, to bewail her separation from her home and kindred, and accustom herself to her new condition of life, before he married her. What is said here does not apply to the wars with the Canaanites, who were to be cut off (vid., Deuteronomy 7:3), but, as a comparison of the introductory words in Deuteronomy 21:1 with Deuteronomy 20:1 clearly shows, to the wars which Israel would carry on with surrounding nations after the conquest of Canaan. שׁבי and שׁביה, the captivity, for the captives.
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