The firstborn child is the one that the parents expect will take over the family business. The first male prince becomes king, and the bloodline follow suit. This is quite typical over different generations – and would be hard to change. Trust fund babies exist because parents want their children to have what they leave behind. They don’t want it to be left behind for the public good even if it is better overall, but they want THEIR blood, and THEIR child to succeed.
We see God here throw away this standard and give the family legacy to a child who is not the firstborn:
- And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
- And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
In one way this is beautiful because God is saying that being born first does not give you full rights over everything, and that you still have to be successful in your own right.
However it also breaks my heart because god continues to decree how autonomy does not matter, and that fate dictates what the child is going to do in life, and what opportunities that they will be given. For God not saying that Ephraim is going to have to work to become successful. Instead God is saying that Manasseh just has it instead. Point blank.