1. Ransom of the Firstborn
During the Exodus, God instructs the nation of Israel to consecrate their firstborn sons and
animals when they enter the Promised Land (Ex 13:1-16;
Num 18:15-17). These firstborns were obligated to God, because
they, having marked their doorposts with the blood of a lamb, were protected from Egypt’s tenth plague.
Thereafter, God placed a special claim on the Hebrews’ first born male son. Presented as God’s
property to the temple when one month old, the first born son was redeemed by the father who paid the priest a
redemption price (Num 18:15-16). This ransom served as a reminder
of deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
2. Atonement Money
Taking a census for purposes of taxation or preparation for war is a punishable offense by God.
When it occurs, each person counted had to be covered or atoned for with atonement money
(Ex 30:11-16; 38:26;
Num 3:47; 31:44-54).