First-born, Redemption of

From the beginning the office of the priesthood in each family
belonged to the eldest son. But when the extensive plan of
sacrificial worship was introduced, requiring a company of men
to be exclusively devoted to this ministry, the primitive office
of the first-born was superseded by that of the Levites (Num.
3:11-13), and it was ordained that the first-born of man and of
unclean animals should henceforth be redeemed (18:15).

The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man
are recorded in Ex. 13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Num. 3:45; 8:17;
18:16; Lev. 12:2, 4.

The first-born male of every clean animal was to be given up
to the priest for sacrifice (Deut. 12:6; Ex. 13:12; 34:20; Num.

But the first-born of unclean animals was either to be
redeemed or sold and the price given to the priest (Lev.
27:11-13, 27). The first-born of an ass, if not redeemed, was to
be put to death (Ex. 13:13; 34:20).