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English Bible Dictionary

Heir

 

The Hebrew institutions relative to inheritance were of a very simple character. Under the patriarchal system the property was divided among the sons of the legitimate wives, (Genesis 21:10; 24:36; 25:5) a larger portion being assigned to one, generally the eldest, on whom devolved the duty of maintaining the females of the family. The sons of concubines were portioned off with presents, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. (Genesis 25:6) At a later period the exclusion of the sons of concubines was rigidly enforced. (Judges 11:1) ff. Daughters had no share in the patrimony, (Genesis 21:14) but received a marriage portion. The Mosaic law regulated the succession to real property thus: it has to be divided among the sons, the eldest receiving a double portion, (21:17) the others equal shares; if there were no sons, it went to the daughters, (Numbers 27:8) on the condition that they did not marry out of their own tribe, (Numbers 36:6) ff.; otherwise the patrimony was forfeited. If there were no daughters it went to the brother of the deceased; if no brother, to the paternal uncle; and, failing these to the next of kin. (Numbers 27:9-11)

 

* See also: Will.

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