PRWTOTOKOS, Partitive Words and listing of LXX use (64 verses)

From: Wes Williams (
Date: Sat Nov 07 1998 - 21:08:13 EST

Tom asked:
> Is ktisews really a partitive genitive. Is there
> really a scientific way to determine if it is. I suspect not.

Certain words in language constructs carry an intrinsic partitive force.
Whenever you see such a word, the normal use of it is partitive. Examples
are: "each," "one," "half," "part," "first," etc. To assert that such a word
is not partitive when used in a genitive construction is to make an
unnatural assertion and must be backed by plenty of justification.

_A Dictionary of Modern English Usage_, by H.W. Fowler, 1994, p. 613, says:

partitive (Gram.) ...
P[artitive] words are such nouns & pronouns as by their nature imply the
separating or distinguishing of a part of some whole from the rest, such as
part, portion, half, much, superlatives, some, any, each ; the p[artitive]
genitive is that of the word denoting the whole, which is made to depend on
a p[artitive] word by being put in the genitive in fully inflected
languages, but in English attached to it by of.

The word "firstborn" (PRWTOTOKOS) is intrinsically such a partitive word.

So that you and all can objectively evaluate this statement, I compiled a
list of all uses of PRWTOTOKOS followed by a genitive in the LXX that I
wrote last July. Here is a summary of my findings. I plan to expand the list
and demonstrate usage of PRWTOTOKOS that is not followed by a genitive
construction and show distinctions and similarities between the two uses. As
always, feedback is welcome.

Wes Williams

<b>Determining the Meaning of FIRSTBORN in Septuagint Use</b>
By Wes Williams
July 30, 1998

<b>A list of all Instances of PRWTOTOKOS (firstborn) followed by a genitive
in the LXX Septuaginta, edited by Alfred Rahlfs. There are 72 occurrences in
64 verses. </b>

<b><u>Purpose of This Study</u></b>
There is much confusion among bible students over what the meaning of the
word firstborn in the bible. This is due in large part to commentaries
including theological views and statements of faith with their exegesis
rather than showing normal and abnormal usage. I compiled this list WITHOUT
COMMENTARY to help bible readers to discern the actual use of firstborn
(PRWTOTOKOS) in the scriptures.

<b><u>Interpreting Meaning</u></b>
Our goal is to interpret and evaluate the lexical partitive force inherent
in the word firstborn (PRWTOTOKOS) and afterwards, its relationship to the
group. As you examine each verse, note that the firstborn is (1) the first
in time [note the contrast between "firstborn" and "youngest son" in Joshua
6:26 and 1 Kings 16:34], and (2) <I>part of the group</I> that follows.
Exceptional word usage that does not fit this <I>usual</I> word use, such as
a „nationš figuratively being called a firstborn is, in the field of
linguistics, called „markedš language. Thus, language where the firstborn is
a composite entity, such as a nation, is „markedš language. An example in
the list below that fits this description is Exodus 4:22, which is
figuratively comparing his nation Israel to the firstborn of Egypt. You will
note such use of marked language as you examine the verses. When the one
born first in time loses the privileges that belong to firstborn, this is
highly unusual and is always noted in scripture with explanation. However,
the point to note is that both the firstborn and the one who received the
privileges were both part of the group of sons. Neither were external to the

Another point to note is that the firstborn of a person means the firstborn
of the „sons ofš that person. Whereas the "firstborn of the sons of" a
person (Ex. 22:29 LXX) is one who is a son himself.

Although many of the genitives following PRWTOTOKOS are possessive, I
included them because although possessive, the lexical nature of the word
still retains an intrinsic partitive force, as the reader can examine. So,
"my firstborn" implies one who is part of a larger group, whose other
members cannot also be called "firstborn."

<b><u>Determining Meaning in the New Testament</u></b>
When attempting to determine meaning of „firstbornš in the New Testament,
apply the usual meaning of „firstbornš from the LXX. Avoid using „markedš
language since, remember, this is unusual. You may consider applying marked
usage from the LXX with authority <b>only</b> when N.T. use corresponds to
LXX use, such as if the N.T. example is talking about a nation as a
firstborn or other metaphorical use.

If you choose to use marked, or exceptional language to apply meaning to
your verse in the New Testament, then the burden of proof falls on you to
justify your use of marked language. After all, you chose the exceptional
use rather than the usual use, and you must justify it. The burden of proof
does not fall on the one who chooses the normal use, or „unmarkedš language.

Like the Beroeans, may you and I carefully examine the scriptures as to
őwhether these things are so.‚ (Acts 17:10) Verses I provide are from
English Translation of The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament by Sir
Lancelot C. L. Brenton, 1844, 1851.

LXX Genesis 4:4 And Abel also brought of the<b> first born of his sheep
</b>and of his fatlings, and God looked upon Abel and his gifts,

LXX Genesis 25:13 And these are the names of the sons of Ismael, according
to the names of their generations. The <b>firstborn of Ismael</b>, Nabaioth,
and Kedar, and Nabdeel, and Massam,

LXX Genesis 27:19 And Jacob said to his father, I, Esau <b>thy
first-born</b>, have done as thou toldest me; rise, sit, and eat of my
venison, that they soul may bless me.

LXX Genesis 35:23 The sons of Lea, the <b>first-born of Jacob</b>; Ruben,
Symeon, Levi, Judas, Issachar, Zabulon.

LXX Genesis 36:15 These are the chiefs of the son of Esau, even the sons of
Eliphas, the <b>first-born of Esau</b>; chief Thaeman, chief Omar, chief
Sophar, chief Kenez,

LXX Genesis 38:6 And Judas took a wife for Er <b>his first-born</b>, whose
name was Thamar.

LXX Genesis 38:7 And Er, the <b>first-born of Judas</b>, was wicked before
the Lord; and God killed him.

LXX Genesis 46:8 And these are the names of the sons of Israel that went
into Egypt with their father Jacob-- Jacob and his sons. The <b>first-born
of Jacob</b>, Ruben.

LXX Genesis 49:3 Ruben, thou art <b>my first-born</b>, thou my strength, and
the first of my children, hard to be endured, hard and self-willed.

LXX Exodus 4:22 And thou shalt say to Pharao, These things saith the Lord,
Israel is <b>my first-born</b>.

LXX Exodus 6:14 And these are the heads of the houses of their families: the
sons of Ruben the <b>first-born of Israel</b>; Enoch and Phallus, Asron, and
Charmi, this is the kindred of Ruben.

LXX Exodus 11:5 And every first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from
the <b>first-born of Pharao</b> that sits on the throne, even to the
<b>first-born of the woman-servant </b>that is by the mill, and to the
first-born of all cattle.

LXX Exodus 12:29 And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord smote all the
first-born in the land of Egypt, from the <b>first-born of Pharao </b>that
sat on the throne, to the <b>first-born of the captive-maid i</b>n the
dungeon, and the <b>first-born of all cattle.

</b>LXX Exodus 13:13 Every offspring opening the womb of the ass thou shalt
change for a sheep; and if thou wilt not change it, thou shalt redeem it:
every <b>first-born of man </b>of thy sons shalt thou redeem.

LXX Exodus 13:15 And when Pharao hardened his heart so as not to send us
away, he slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, both the <b>first-born
of man </b>and the <b>first-born of beast</b>; therefore do I sacrifice
every offspring that opens the womb, the males to the Lord, and every
first-born of my sons I will redeem.

LXX Exodus 22:29 Thou shalt not keep back the first-fruits of thy threshing
floor and press. The <b>first-born of thy sons</b> thou shalt give to me.

LXX Exodus 34:19 The males are mine, everything that opens the womb; every
<b>first-born of oxen</b>, and every <b>first-born of sheep</b>.

LXX Exodus 34:20 And the <b>first-born of an ass </b>thou shalt redeem with
a sheep, and if thou wilt not redeem it thou shalt pay a price: every
<b>first-born of thy sons </b>shalt thou redeem: thou shalt not appear
before me empty.

LXX Numbers 1:20 And the sons of Ruben the <b>first-born of Israel</b>
according to their kindreds, according to their divisions, according to the
houses of their families, according to the number of their names, according
to their heads, were-- all males from twenty years old and upward, every one
that went out with the host--

LXX Numbers 3:40 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Count every<b>
first-born male of the children of Israel</b> from a month old and upwards,
and take the number by name.

LXX Numbers 3:41 And thou shalt take the Levites for me-- I am the Lord--
instead of all the <b>first-born of the sons of Israel,</b> and the cattle
of the Levites instead of all the first-born among the cattle of the
children of Israel.

LXX Numbers 3:45 Take the Levites instead of all the <b>first-born of the
sons of Israel</b>, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle,
and the Levites shall be mine; I am the Lord.

LXX Numbers 3:46 And for the ransoms of the two hundred and seventy-three
which exceed the Levites in number of the <b>first-born of the sons of

LXX Numbers 3:50 He took the silver from the <b>first-born of the sons of
Israel</b>, a thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels, according to
the holy shekel.

LXX Numbers 8:16 For these are given to me for a present out of the midst of
the children of Israel: I have taken them to myself instead of all the
f<b>irst-born of the sons of Israel</b> that open every womb.

LXX Numbers 8:17 For every <b>first-born </b>among the children of Israel is
mine, whether <b>of man or beast</b>: in the day in which I smote every
first-born in the land of Egypt, I sanctified them to myself.

LXX Numbers 18:15 And every thing that opens the womb of all flesh,
whatsoever they bring to the Lord, whether man or beast, shall be thine:
only the <b>first-born of men </b>shall be surely redeemed, and thou shalt
redeem the <b>first-born of unclean cattle</b>.

LXX Numbers 18:17 But thou shalt not redeem the <b>first-born of calves
</b>and the <b>first-born of sheep</b> and the <b>first-born of goats</b>;
they are holy: and thou shalt pour their blood upon the altar, and thou
shalt offer the fat as a burnt-offering for a smell of sweet savour to the

LXX Numbers 26:5 Ruben was the <b>first-born of Israel</b>: and the sons of
ruben, Enoch, and the family of Enoch; to Phallu belongs the family of the

LXX Deuteronomy 12:6 And ye shall carry thither your whole-burnt-offerings,
and your sacrifices, and your first-fruits, and your vowed-offerings, and
your freewill-offerings, and your offerings of thanksgiving, the
<b>first-born of your herds</b>, and <b>of your flocks</b>.

LXX Deuteronomy 12:17 Thou shalt not be able to eat in thy cities the tithe
of thy corn, and of thy wine, and of thine oil, the <b>first-born of thine
herd </b>and <b>of thy flock</b>, and all your vows as many as ye shall have
vowed, and your thank-offerings, and the first-fruits of thine hands.

LXX Deuteronomy 14:23 And thou shalt eat it in the place which the Lord thy
God shall choose to have his name called there; ye shall bring the tithe of
thy corn and of thy wine, and of thine oil, the <b>first-born of thy herd
</b>and <b>of thy flock</b>, that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God

LXX Deuteronomy 15:19 Every first-born that shall be born among thy kine and
thy sheep, thou shalt sanctify the males to the Lord thy God; thou shalt not
work with thy first-born calf, and thou shalt not shear the <b>first-born of
thy sheep</b>.

LXX Deuteronomy 33:17 His beauty is as <b>the firstling of his bull</b>, his
horns are the horns of a unicorn; with them he shall thrust the nations at
once, even from the end of the earth: these are the ten thousands of
Ephraim, and these are the thousands of Manasse.

LXX Joshua 6:26 And Joshua adjured them on that day before the Lord, saying,
Cursed be the man who shall build that city: he shall lay the foundation of
it in <b>his first-born</b>, and he shall set up the gates of it in his
youngest son. And so did Hozan of Baethel; he laid the foundation in Abiron
his first-born, and set up the gates of it in his youngest surviving son.

LXX Joshua 17:1 And the borders of the tribe of the children of Manasse,
(for he was the <b>first-born of Joseph</b>) assigned to Machir the
<b>firstborn of Manasse </b>the father of Galaad, for he was a warrior, were
in the land of Galaad and of Basan.

LXX 2 Samuel 3:2 And sons were born to David in Chebron: and <b>his
first-born</b> was Ammon the son of Achinoom the Jezraelitess.

LXX 2 Samuel 13:21 And king David heard of all these things, and was very
angry; but he did not grieve the spirit of his son Amnon, because be loved
him, for he was <b>his first-born</b>.

LXX 1 Kings 16:34 And in his days Achiel the Baethelite built Jericho; he
laid the foundation of it in Abiron <b>his first-born</b>, and he set up the
doors of it in Segub his younger son, according to the word of the Lord
which he spoke by Joshua the son of Naue.

LXX 1 Chronicles 1:29 And these are their generations: the <b>first-born of
Ismael</b>, Nabaeoth, and Kedar, Nabdeel, Massam,

LXX 1 Chronicles 2:3 The sons of Juda; Er, Aunan, Selom. These three were
born to him of the daughter of Sava the Chananitish woman: and Er, the
<b>first-born of Juda</b>, was wicked before the Lord, and he slew him.

LXX 1 Chronicles 2:13 And Jessae begot <b>his first-born</b> Eliab, Aminadab
was the second, Samaa the third,

LXX 1 Chronicles 2:25 And the sons of Jerameel the <b>first-born of Esron
</b>were, the first-born Ram, and Banaa, and Aram, and Asan his brother.

LXX 1 Chronicles 2:27 And the sons of Ram the <b>first-born of Jerameel
</b>were Maas, and Jamin, and Acor.

LXX 1 Chronicles 2:42 And the sons of Chaleb the brother of Jerameel were,
Marisa <b>his first-born</b>, he is the father of Ziph:-- and the sons of
Marisa the father of Chebron.

LXX 1 Chronicles 2:50 These were the sons of Chaleb: the sons of Or the<b>
first-born of Ephratha</b>; Sobal the father of Cariathiarim,

LXX 1 Chronicles 3:15 And the sons of Josia; the <b>first-born Joanan</b>,
the second Joakim, the third Sedekias, the fourth Salum.

LXX 1 Chronicles 4:4 And Phanuel the father of Gedor, and Jazer the father
of Osan: these are the sons of Or, the<b> first-born of Ephratha</b>, the
father of Baethalaen.

LXX 1 Chronicles 5:1 And the sons of Ruben the <b>first-born of Israel
</b>(for he was the first-born; but because of his going up to his father's
couch, his father gave his blessing to his son Joseph, even the son Israel;
and he was not reckoned as first-born;

LXX 1 Chronicles 5:3 The sons of Ruben the <b>first-born of Israel</b>;
Enoch, and Phallus, Asrom, and Charmi.

LXX 1 Chronicles 6:28 The sons of Samuel; the <b>first-born Sani</b>, and

LXX 1 Chronicles 8:1 Now Benjamin begot Bale <b>his first-born</b>, and
Asbel his second son, Aara the third, Noa the fourth,

LXX 1 Chronicles 8:30 And her <b>first-born son was Abdon</b>, and Sur, and
Kis, and Baal, and Nadab, and Ner,

LXX 1 Chronicles 8:38 And Esel had six sons, and these were their name;
Ezricam <b>his first-born</b>, and Ismael, and Saraia, and Abdia, and Anan,
and Asa: all these were the sons of Esel.

LXX 1 Chronicles 8:39 And the sons of Asel his brother; AElam <b>his
first-born</b>, and Jas the second, and Eliphalet the third.

LXX 1 Chronicles 9:5 And of the Selonites; Asaia <b>his first-born</b>, and
his sons.

LXX 1 Chronicles 9:36 And <b>his first-born </b>son was Abdon, and he had
Sur, and Kis, and Baal, and Ner, and Nadab,

LXX 1 Chronicles 9:44 And Esel had six sons, and these were their names;
Esricam <b>his first-born</b>, and Ismael, and Saraia, and Abdia, and Anan,
and Asa: these were the sons of Esel.

LXX 1 Chronicles 26:6 And to Samaias his son were born the sons of <b>his
first-born</b>, chiefs over the house of their father, for they were mighty.

LXX Nehemiah 10:36 the <b>first-born of our sons</b>, and <b>of our
cattle</b>, as it is written in the law, and the <b>first-born of our herds
</b>and <b>of our flocks</b>, to bring to the house of our God, for the
priests that minister in the house of our God.

LXX Psalm 135:8 Who smote the <b>first-born of Egypt</b>, both man and

LXX Psalm 136:10 To him who smote Egypt with <b>their first-born</b>; for
his mercy endures for ever.

LXX Jeremiah 31:9 (38:9) They went forth with weeping, and I will bring them
back with consolation, causing them to lodge by the channels of waters in a
straight way, and they shall not err in it: for I am become a father to
Israel, and Ephraim is <b>my first-born</b>.

LXX Micah 6:7 Will the Lord accept thousands of rams, or ten thousands of
fat goats? should I give <b>my first-born </b>for ungodliness, the fruit of
my body for the sin of my soul?

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