The Consolation of the Firstborn in Genesis: A Lesson for Christian Mission

James C. Bangsund

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 4/1/1994

Issue: Genesis (Vol. 14, No 2, Spring, 1994)

One of the more intriguing and persistent motifs in the book of Genesis is that of “deflection of primogeniture,” or “the forsaken firstborn.” This essay suggests that such readings miss the mark, since they obscure the fact that the one who is “deflected” or “effaced” is, in case after case, also blessed as well. At times this blessing may come as somewhat of a consolation prize. But even such consolation is not insignificant. Further, the narrator of Genesis, in providing a text which recognizes this also-blessing of the firstborn, had a theological agenda which not only addressed Israel but which addresses us today as well.

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