The covenant of circumcision
Circumcision, from the male perspective, is the surgical removal of the foreskin. The covenant of circumcision is a covenant that Christians and Jews believe that God instructed Abraham to do as a sign between Him and Abraham and his descendants. Abraham circumcised all the male members of his household. He was ninety-nine years old then and his son Ishmael was thirteen years old (Genesis 17:24-25). They were both circumcised the same.
The above verse has brought a lot of controversy among the Bible scholars of today. This is because of the Bible translation that says any male person who has not been circumcised on the eighth day has broken God’s covenant and, therefore, will be cut off His people (Wyatt 408). Bible scholars continue to argue if a person must be circumcised on the eighth day and the significance of the eighth day in the Bible. Some scholars have claimed that the early Greek manuscripts, giving an example of the LXX, which is an old Latin witness to Genesis 17:14, it is affirmed that the day was clearly mentioned to be the eighth day from the day the child was born and if the child is not circumcised, the child is cut from his people. Wevers, however, claim that the LXX is a secondary material, given its proximity to the eighth day (Wyatt 410). Other scholars also argue that the LXX has a freer translation of Genesis than any other Pentateuch and therefore it could have been possible that the translators might have added some words to their Hebrew.
The same evidence was found in another old translation called Samaritan Pentateuch (SP). This SP is one of the oldest codexes known. Earlier evidence is found in a reading known as ‘Kitab al-Kafi’ which says that circumcision must not be postponed for even a day after the eight days. This is also supported by another old book called Jubilee, which also mentions in Genesis 17:14 that the child must be circumcised on the eighth day and failure of doing that the child is separated from his people (Martin 112). In another version MT (Masouretic Text), the concept of the eighth day is a bit different from the other mentioned versions. Bible scholars have also found out that the text in Genesis 17:14 have been shortened (Martin 113). This shows that there could have been an unintentional error made by the scribe.
As discussed by John (3), we see the significance of circumcision in the Bible. In the present generation, we happen to wonder why God would make the Israelites to undergo circumcision at a young age and not other physical activity such as cutting of hair or piercing of any body part such as nose or ears. We also see from Exodus that after God had sent Moses to Egypt, he sought and tried to kill him, until when Zipporah his wife took a sharp stone and circumcised his son and threw the foreskin in Moses’ feet that YHWH stopped pursuing them (John 6).
This story shows us that circumcision shows that one belongs to the people of God. Moses having being sent by God and his son not being circumcised was like Moses going to speak with his mouth, not being cleansed and this also showed that he was unholy and unclean and that is why God sought after him and tried to kill him.
God put circumcision to apply only to the male and not to the female. This is to remind every male person of the kingdom of God and to be careful not to break their promises to God. In the book of Ezekiel 44:7, 9 Yahweh urged the people of Israel that a gentile must be circumcised both physically and spiritually so that he may enter the kingdom of God. However, this sign applies only to men and not women.
In the time of Jesus, we see that he chooses the twelve male disciples who represented every tribe of Israel though he had other female disciples too. During His betrayal, we find out that all the twelve chosen disciples disappear and others betray him. On his way to Calvary, he is followed by a large crowd of mainly women…