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In the first biblical mention of circumcision God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants God said to Abram I am God Almighty walk before me and be blameless God then explained his part of the covenant --- he would be the God of Abrahams descendants and give them the land of Canaan Genesis 171-8 God then further explained Abrahams part of the covenant verses 10-14 This isthe covenant you are to keep Every male was to be circumcised and this physical rite was to be the sign of the covenant with God and it was an everlasting covenant Every male in Abrahams household was to be circumcised immediately and from then on every new baby boy was to be circumcised on the eighth day Whether they were Hebrews or whether they were purchased as slaves the men had to be circumcised If they were not they would be cut off they had broken the covenant Abraham did what God told him to do verses 23-27 214 The practice of circumcision became the defining characteristic of the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob clan Many years later the sons of Jacob used this custom to get revenge on Shechem Genesis 3414-29 As they said they could cohabitate and intermarry only with people who were circumcised verse 16 The custom was probably continued when the Israelites lived in Goshen But Moses reared in the court of Pharaoh and later a refugee in Sinai did not circumcise his own son Zipporah had to do it Exodus 424-25 Under the leadership of Moses the entire nation of Israel did not circumcise their male infants in the wilderness Joshua had to reinstitute it Joshua 52-8 It is not clear why these lapses under Moses occurred but it is clear that the omission had to be corrected before the plan of God proceeded God could call Moses even when he was a covenant-breaker but his son had to be circumcised before Moses could
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