Easton's Bible Dictionary: M. G. Easton, M.A., D.D.
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requiring a company of men to be exclusively devoted to this ministry, the primitive office of the first-born was superseded by that of the Levites (Num. 3:11-13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 (Dt. 12:6; Ex. 13:12, 34:20; Num. 18:15-17).
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).
Original from The Bible Foundation - bf.org. They claim public domain status for their original text.