A Daily Genesis

Genesis 17:9b-14

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 17:9b . . you and your offspring to come throughout the ages shall keep My covenant.[/B]

The word "keep" is from [I]shamar[/I] (shaw-mar') which means, properly: to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard, to protect, attend to. The general meaning in this particular instance is: to preserve.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 17:10 . . Such shall be the covenant between Me and you and your offspring to follow which you shall keep: every male among you shall be circumcised.[/B]

Circumcision didn't begin with Abraham. It was practiced in Egypt as early as 2400 BC.

Circumcision doesn't serve to improve a man's physical appearance. Men were created whole; and after God finished the six days of creation, He inspected everything and graded it all very good. So circumcision doesn't correct design errors; but actually mars a man's natural appearance. It renders him somewhat disfigured so that he no longer bears a precise resemblance to his ancestor Adam-- nor will he ever again. A circumcised man is still a human being; just altered somewhat.

The surgery doesn't impair sexual function so we can rule out the possibility that God imposed circumcision on Abraham and his male progeny for the purpose of discouraging romance. After all if a man's genital nerves were to be disabled, it would be very difficult for men to procreate-- and that would conflict with God's promise to Abraham that he would be fruitful and become very numerous.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 17:11 . .You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.[/B]

The word for "sign" is from [I]'owth[/I] (oth). It's the very same word for the mark upon Cain, and the rainbow of Noah's covenant. An 'owth not only labels things, but also serves as a memory preserver; like the Viet Nam war memorial. Abraham's circumcision, like rainbows and war memorials, is one of those "lest we forget" reminders of important events.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 17:12-13a . . And throughout the generations, every male among you shall be circumcised at the age of eight days. As for the home-born slave and the one bought from an outsider who is not of your offspring, they must be circumcised, home-born, and purchased alike.[/B]

Home-born slaves were those born while Abraham owned its parents. The classification was reckoned Abraham's offspring; viz: his sons; thus indicating that the Hebrew word zera' is ambiguous and doesn't always identify one's biological progeny; for example:

"If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal 3:29)

People sometimes get a little carried away with that verse and insist it means that one's belonging to Christ somehow makes them a so-called "spiritual Jew" but Abraham wasn't a Jew; he was a Gentile who anon became known as an Hebrew. (Gen 14:13). The word "Jew" doesn't show up in the Bible till 2Kgs 16:6.

In Christ there are no Jew and/or Gentile distinctions (Gal 3:28-29) because people in Christ are a new creation. Jew and Gentile are old-creation distinctions. There's a new creation on the horizon, wherein all will be Yhvh's chosen people rather than only a select group.

The Bible doesn't call ritual circumcision a baptism but it sure looks like a species of baptism to me. Take for example the crossing of the Red Sea. The New Testament calls it a baptism (1Cor 10:2) yet none of the people under Moses' command got wet; they never even got damp. So baptisms come in a variety of modes, and for a variety of purposes.

The implication is obvious: all males in Abraham's community (viz: his kingdom) have to resemble Abraham in order to be bona fide registered members; which means that a male Jew's genetics alone are not an eo ipso connection to Abraham. He has to undergo the surgery too.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 17:13b-14 . .Thus shall My covenant be marked in your flesh as an everlasting pact. And if any male who is uncircumcised fails to circumcise the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his kin; he has broken My covenant.[/B]

The "kin" in this regard is primarily Abraham but in later years came to include one's tribal identity. Say a man's biological father was a biological member of the tribe of Issachar, and for one reason or another never got around to circumcising his son.

Well; until the son submits to the ritual, he cannot be counted among Issachar's progeny. In point of fact, he cannot be counted as anybody's progeny; not even Abraham's though Abraham is his biological ancestor.

This may seem a petty issue but in matters of inheritance, can have very serious repercussions for the un-circumcised man. He's not only cut off from his kin, but also from Abraham's covenant guaranteeing his posterity ownership of Palestine and points beyond to the north, the south, the east, and the west. The little piece of turf now occupied by the State of Israel is but a parking lot in comparison to what God promised Abraham back in Gen 13:14-15.

To give an idea of just how serious God is about this ritual: After Moses was commissioned to represent God in the Exodus; Yhvh rendezvoused with him and came within an inch of taking his life over this very issue.

"Now it came about at an inn on the way that Yhvh met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and threw it at Moses' feet, and she said: You are indeed a bloody bridegroom to me. So He let him alone." (Ex 4:24-26)

That should be a sobering warning that anyone representing God is supposed to set the example in all things. It's not do as I say, nor even do as I do; but do as I have done.

Anyway, non-circumcised Jewish males aren't counted among Abraham's community; and that was a law way before it was incorporated into Israel's covenanted law as per Ex 12:48-49 and Lev 12:2-3.

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