Laws on this subject were well considered and well defined, their main object being to prevent estates passing from one family to another. The owners in any one generation had only limited rights. They could let on lease till the next year of Jubilee, but in that year all leases were to terminate, and all land and houses, except in walled towns, were to revert to the family of the original holder. When a man died, his eldest son took a double portion, i.e., twice as much as any other son (Deut. 21: 17
). (See Firstborn
.) In later times a man was allowed to dispose of his property by will in any way he liked; but a will that expressly disinherited any son was invalid. Unmarried daughters, on the death of their father, were entitled to maintenance until married, at their brothers’ expense. A widow kept her dowry and had the right to residence and maintenance in her late husband’s house.