Exodus 22:29 represents the ancient Israelite practice of human sacrifice quite plainly: “Your firstborn sons you shall give to me.”
According to Christian biblical scholar Stark “The demand is unequivocal. The traditional solution is to read the provision for the redemption of the firstborn sons found in Exodus 34:20 back onto the unqualified command in 22:29. This provision reads: “All your firstborn sons you shall ransom. You shall not come before me empty-handed.” In other words, Yahweh demands the blood of the firstborn sons of Israel as satiation, but allows Israel to sacrifice an animal instead of their sons” (1).
hat Yahweh demands Israel to sacrifice an animal instead of their sons seems, for some, to negate the practice of child sacrifice. However, several considerations prove difficult for such an interpretation.
First, nowhere is the requirement of firstborn sacrifice repudiated in 34:20. In fact, Yahweh still demands the blood of…
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