Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh
The firstborn of every creature:
which they bring unto the Lord;
as they were obliged, he claiming it as his own, ( Exodus 13:2 ) ;
[whether it be] of men or beasts, shall be thine;
every firstborn of either, being the Lord's, became the priest's by his gift:
nevertheless, the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem;
that is, take the redemption price for it, which was five shekels, as in ( Numbers 18:16 ) ; for the original proprietor was, strictly speaking, the redeemer, and paid the money, and the priest was the receiver, to whom it was paid; see ( Exodus 13:13 ) ;
and the firstlings of unclean beasts shall thou redeem;
with lambs, as an ass, which is put for unclean beasts, is ordered to be redeemed with a lamb, or its neck to be broken, ( Exodus 13:13 ) ; the Africans, the shepherds among them, as Herodotus relates F11, of their firstlings they cut off the ear of the beast and throw it over a house, and then turn its neck back, for they worship only the sun and moon; which seems to be an imitation of this law.
F11 Melpomene, sive, l. 4. c. 188.