Deuteronomy 14:22ff—Doesn’t this contradict Moses’ other command not to redeem animals with money?

Problem: In Numbers 18:17, the law commands, “The firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem; they are holy.” However, in Deuteronomy 14:25 they were instructed to “exchange it for money” if they desired. This is in direct conflict with the other instructions.

Solution: Contrary to what some infer, the Deuteronomy passage does not actually allow them to buy a firstborn sheep or goat for their consumption, rather than give it to the Lord. On the contrary, it simply allows them to “exchange it for money,” which would be more convenient for traveling, so they could “go to the place which the Lord your God chooses” (Deut. 14:25). In short, it was simply a divinely appointed accommodation to make it easier for the offerer. The money they received for it had to be taken to the divinely prescribed place and spent for the prescribed purpose.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.