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The taking of one as a son who is not so by birth.

(I) Natural: As Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses; Mordecai Esther; Abraham Eliezer (as a slave is often in the East adopted as son) (Genesis 15:2‑3);

(2) Sarai the son to be born by Hagar, whom she gave to her husband;

(30 Leah and Rachel the children to be born of Zilpah and Bilhah, their handmaids respectively, whom they gave to Jacob their husband.

The handmaid at the birth brought forth the child on the knees of the adoptive mother (Genesis 30:3); an act representative of the complete appropriation of the sons as equal in rights to those by the legitimate wife.


Thereby he was able to give Joseph his favorite son more than his single share, with his brothers, of the paternal heritage. The tribes thus were 13, only that Levi had no land division; or Ephraim and Manasseh were regarded as two halves making up but one whole tribe.

In 1 Chronicles 2 Machir gives his daughter to Hezron of Judah; she bore Segub, father of Jair. Jair inherited 23 cities of Gilead in right of his grandmother.

Though of Judah by his grandfather, he is (Numbers 32:41) counted as of Manasseh on account of his inheritance through his grandmother.

So Mary, being daughter of Heli, and Joseph her husband being adopted by him on marrying his daughter, an heiress (as appears from her going to Bethlehem to be registered in her pregnancy), Joseph is called in Luke's genealogy son of Heli. (from Fausset's Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1998 by Biblesoft)

ADOPTION (Grk. huiothesia, the "placing" as a "son"). The admission of a person to some or all of the privileges of natural kinship. As the practice of adoption was confined almost exclusively to sons‑the case of Esther being an exception‑it probably had its origin in the natural desire for male offspring. This would be especially true where force, rather than well‑observed laws, decided the possession of estates.

Hebrew. Abraham speaks of Eliezer (Gen 15:3), a house‑born slave, as his heir, having probably adopted him as his son. JACOB ADOPTED HIS GRANDSONS EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH, AND COUNTED THEM AS HIS SONS (Genesis 48:6), THUS ENABLING HIM TO BESTOW THROUGH THEM A DOUBLE PORTION UPON HIS FAVORITE SON JOSEPH.

Sometimes a man without a son would marry his daughter to a freed slave, the children then being accounted her father's; or the husband himself would be adopted as a son (1 Chronicles 2:34). Most of the early instances of adoption mentioned in the Bible were the acts of women who, because of barrenness, gave their female slaves to their husbands with the intention of adopting any children they might have.

Thus Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham, and the son (Ishmael) was considered the child of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 16:1‑15). The childless Rachel gave her maid, Bilhah, to her husband (Genesis 30:1‑7) and was imitated by Leah (Genesis 30:9‑13). In such cases the sons were regarded as fully equal in the right of heritage with those by the legitimate wife.

ADOPTION (Theological). This term as used in a theological sense commonly denotes that act of God by which He restores penitent and believing men to their privileges as members of the divine family and makes them heirs of heaven.

1. Theology owes its use of the word adoption in this way to the apostle Paul. He is the only Scripture writer who employs the term thus translated. The passages in Paul's writings in which the doctrine of adoption is stated in connection with the use of that term are Romans 8:15‑17; Galatians 4:4‑6; Ephesians 1:5. These are not by any means, however, the only passages in his writings in which the essential thought is plainly declared (2 Corinthians 6:18).

And more generally speaking this may be said to be one of the doctrines upon which the NT lays special stress. That we who have forfeited and lost our place and privileges as children of God may be fully reinstated therein was one of the great teachings of Jesus Christ. For that the parable of the prodigal son was spoken.

Taking the Scripture teachings as a whole, adoption, it appears, while not the same as our justification, is necessarily connected with it, as forgiveness would be empty without restoration to the privileges forfeited by sin. Adoption and regeneration are two phases of the same fact, regeneration meaning the reproduction of the filial character, and adoption the restoration of the filial privilege. See Justification;

Regeneration. Adoption is a word of position rather than relationship. The believer's relation to God as a child results from the new birth (John 1:12‑13), whereas adoption is the divine act whereby one who is already a child is, through redemption from the law, placed in the position of an adult son (Galatians 4:1‑5).

2. The word adoption is also used by the apostle Paul with reference to the full and final outcome of salvation, the complete "revealing of the sons of God" and perfect investiture with all their heavenly privileges, for which Christians must wait. So he writes of waiting "for the revealing of the sons of God" and "waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:19,23).

3. Another use of this word by the same apostle is in Romans 9:4, where he speaks of the Israelites "TO WHOM BELONGS THE ADOPTION." By this is meant the special place that was given to Israel among the nations as the chosen people of God.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology (1907), p. 857; L. S. Chafer, Systematic Theology (1948), 3:242, 243; 7:9‑11; J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (1966), pp. 168‑69; C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, International Critical Commentary (1975), 1:396‑98; F. F. Bruce, Epistle to the Galatians, New International Greek Testament Commentary (1982), pp. 196‑98.

(From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

Genesis 48:5: And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

[Thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.] IT WAS THE INTENTION OF THE AGED PATRIARCH TO ADOPT JOSEPH’S OLDEST SONS AS HIS OWN, THUS GIVING HIM A DOUBLE PORTION. The reasons of this procedure are stated (1 Chronicles 5:1‑2).

[Are mine.] Though their connections might have attached them to Egypt, and opened to them brilliant prospects in the land of their nativity, THEY WILLINGLY ACCEPTED THE ADOPTION (Hebrews 11:25). (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.” (1 Chronicles 5:1)


A name given to the descendants of Jacob, a nation .Also called ISRAELITES, and HEBREWS Genesis 43:32; Exodus 1:15; 9:7; 10:3; 21:2; Leviticul 23:42; Josuha 13:6 . Etc 1Sa 4:6; 13:3,19; 14:11,21; Php 3:5

(TRIBES OF ISRAEL were named after the sons of Jacob) ‑(Usually, in lists, the names of Levi and Joseph, two sons of Jacob, do not appear) .The descendants of Levi were consecrated to the rites of religion, and THE TWO SONS OF JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH, WERE ADOPTED BY JACOB IN JOSEPH’S PLACE Genesis 48:5; Joshua 14:4. And their names appear in the catalogues of tribes instead of those of Levi and Joseph, as follows, ASHER, BENJAMIN, DAN, EPHRAIM, GAD, ISSACHAR, JUDAH, MANASSEH, NAPHTALI, REUBEN, SIMEON, ZEBULUN .

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