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Source:Roper:Review of Books on the Book of Mormon:While apparently not used for the burnt offering, firstlings could and frequently were used along with other animals in the sacrificial peace offering
Matthew Roper: "While apparently not used for the burnt offering, firstlings could and frequently were used along with other animals in the sacrificial peace offering"
First, while firstlings, as we currently understand their use in ancient Israel, were probably not offered as the olah or burnt offering in ancient Israel, as Anderson notes, "It would not be accurate to say that the requirements for the burnt offering, peace offering, and reparation offering were rigidly fixed; there was room for variability"; "for the burnt offering one had to offer a male animal from the herd or flock. . . . The peace offering could be either a male or a female from the herd or flock."29 There is no question, however, that the firstlings of clean domesticated animals were sacrificed in the peace offering, as were other animals. "In early Palestinian experience the firstlings of the flock and herd were sacrificed at the local sanctuary."30 In fact, "Any domesticated animal from the herd or flock, male or female (Leviticus 3:1, 6, 12), was permissible" for the peace offering.31 Under Mosaic law the firstlings (i.e. firstborn animals) of flocks and herds were dedicated to the Lord (Exodus 13:12, 15) and were given to the Levites. The Israelites were forbidden from using them for work or gain (Deuteronomy 15:19-20) and were required to bring them to the temple during their pilgrimage festivals, where they would be sacrificed (Deuteronomy 12:5-6). Their blood was sprinkled upon the altar and their fat was burned (Numbers 18:17-18). What was left then was given to the individual and his family to eat that same day (Deuteronomy 15:19-20). Thus Lamb and the Tanners grossly misunderstand the sacrificial role of firstlings when they claim that the firstlings were not sacrificed. While apparently not used for the burnt offering, firstlings could and frequently were used along with other animals in the sacrificial peace offering. The Book of Mormon correctly states that the Nephites brought their firstlings to the temple to be sacrificed, for firstlings clearly were sacrificed at the temple.
- Matthew Roper, "A Black Hole That's Not So Black," Review of Books on the Book of Mormon Vol. 6, No. 1 (1994)