Does Exodus 22:29 Condone Human Sacrifice?

My first round is mostly going to come from this page because it seems like as good a place to start as any.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/human_sacrifice.html

(Note: I am only doing one a day. I will get to most of this list, one at a time)

One of the verses on this list, the Lie Of The Day, is Exodus 22:29. Which says:

Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.

This does indeed sound intimidating. But, and this is my cardinal rule of Biblical interpretation, we have to strip away all our assumptions and ask ourselves the following question:

What does the text SAY?

It is common to skip this step and go right to what we think the text MEANS. But our 21st century 1st world is different than the ancient one, we are reading it in a different language and neck high in ways of interpreting “insinuations” that would have been totally alien to the authors of the Bible.

What it says is that they shall give their firstborn sons to God.

This does not refer to sacrifice. It refers to the redemption of the child, which was a ritual described in greater detail in Numbers 18:

Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. And their redemption price s(at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, twhich is twenty gerahs.

It is a symbolic gesture. They are taken to the Kohen (the Priests) and 5 silver coins are paid to them as a symbolic gesture. I don’t see a way to improve upon Wikipedia’s summary of the meaning here, so I won’t try.

Following the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, after the nation had sinned with the Golden Calf, the priesthood was taken away from the first-borns, and given to the tribe of Levites, specifically to the Kohanim, High Priest Aaron, his children, and their descendants. At the same time it was instituted that the first born of each family should be redeemed; i.e. they would be ‘bought back’ from the dedication to God that would previously have been required of them. Levites were substituted for the first-born and wholly given to Divine service:

The ancient Hebrews did not sacrifice their firstborn children 😛 That’s ridiculous. One of many examples to come of ways in which the SAB is lying to you to advance its agenda.

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