What is a…

Hebrew: בְּכֹרָה —transliteration: bekorah

Meaning: the right of the first son born of the father; the firstborn son’s right

This word denotes the special privileges and advantages (depending on one’s viewpoint) belonging to the FIRSTBORN-SON among the Hebrews.

Male or female

In Old Testament Scripture, the terms “birthright” and “firstborn” do not apply to females, only males. They are male terms. Among the ancient Hebrews, the gender of the noun bekor translated in English as “firstborn” is male (masculine), not feminine; it always means the firstborn-SON. Since that was inherently understood in that culture, there is no need for the word בֵּן (ben) “son” or אּישׁ (ish) “man” (male) to be added to “bekor.”

Multiple wives situation

In the case where a man had 2 or more wives and potentially several sons from each, there was still only 1 firstborn son, and only 1 birthright. The eldest of all the FATHER’S sons had the birthright and the rank that flows from it, not the firstborn of the mother.

Also, biblically, a bastard son could not qualify as firstborn-son, only a legitimate son could do so, as this is a consecrated position/rank.

No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the 10th generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord. —Deuteronomy 23:2 NASB

Privileges, advantages and responsibilities


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

More information

Article Version: September 28, 2017