King James Bible Dictionary



The Bible

Bible Usage:


  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: No
  • Included in Naves: Yes
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: Yes
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:


Easton's Bible Dictionary

1. This word denotes the special privileges and advantages belonging to the first-born son among the Jews. He became the priest of the family. Thus Reuben was the first-born of the patriarchs, and so the priesthood of the tribes belonged to him. That honour was, however, transferred by God from Reuben to Levi (Numbers 3:12, 13; 8:18).

2. The first-born son had allotted to him also a double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). Reuben was, because of his undutiful conduct, deprived of his birth-right (Genesis 49:4; 1 Chronicles 5:1). Esau transferred his birth-right to Jacob (Genesis 25:33).

3. The first-born inherited the judicial authority of his father, whatever it might be (2 Chronicles 21:3). By divine appointment, however, David excluded Adonijah in favour of Solomon.

4. The Jews attached a sacred importance to the rank of "first-born" and "first-begotten" as applied to the Messiah (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 1:4-6). As first-born he has an inheritance superior to his brethren, and is the alone true priest.

Naves Topical Index

Belonged to the firstborn
Deuteronomy 21:15-16

Entitled the firstborn to a double portion of inheritance
Deuteronomy 21:15-17

Entitled the firstborn to royal succession
2 Chronicles 21:3

An honorable title
Exodus 4:22; Psalms 89:27; Jeremiah 31:9; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:6; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 1:5

Sold by Esau
Genesis 25:29-34; Genesis 27:36; Hebrews 12:16; Romans 9:12-13

Forfeited by Reuben
1 Chronicles 5:1-2

Set aside, that of:

Genesis 48:15-20

1 Kings 2:15

Hosah's son
1 Chronicles 26:10

Smith's Bible Dictionary

the advantages accruing to the eldest son. These were not definitely fixed in patriarchal times. Great respect was paid to him in the household, and, as the family widened into a tribe, this grew into a sustained authority, undefined save by custom, in all matters of common interest. Thus the "princes" of the congregation had probably rights of primogeniture. (Numbers 7:2; 21:18; 25:14) (Gradually the rights of the eldest son came to be more definite: (1) The functions of the priesthood in the family with the paternal blessing. (2) A "double portion" of the paternal property was allotted by the Mosaic law. (21:16-17) (3) The eldest son succeeded to the official authority of the father. The first-born of the king was his successor by law. (2 Chronicles 21:3) In all these Jesus was the first-born of the father.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

BIRTH'RIGHT, noun [birth and right.] Any right or privilege, to which a person is entitled by birth, such as an estate descendible by law to an heir, or civil liberty under a free constitution.

Esau, for a morsel, sold his birthright Hebrews 12:16.

It may be used in the sense of primogeniture, or the privilege of the first born, but is applicable to any right which results from descent.

BIRTH'-SONG, noun A song sung at the birth of a person.

BIRTH'-STRANGLED, adjective [birth and strangle.] Strangled or suffocated in being born.