Circumcision (Gen 17:1-27)

When Abram was ninety-nine years old Yahweh God appeared to him and said, ‘I am El Shaddai. Bear myself blameless in my presence, and I will make a Covenant between myself and you, and increase your numbers greatly. (Gen 17: 1-2)

Note: As a Covenant was made between Noah and Yahweh God similar promise or Covenant is now been inaugurated between Abram and God Almighty. The Covenant was, God set a bow in the clouds and said “this shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and earth. I will recall the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind. And so the waters shall never again become a flood and destroy all things of flesh. When the bow is in the clouds I shall see it and call to mind the lasting Covenant between God and every living creature of every kind that is found on the earth.” This was the Covenant or promise made by Yahweh God with Noah. (Gen 9:12-16)

But now it was all a different Covenant that was made to Abram Yahweh God promises “that Abram will become the father of a multitude of nations. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations. (Gen 17:4-6) Now this is my covenant which you are to maintain between myself and you and your descendants after you: all your males must be circumcised. You shall circumcise your foreskin, and this shall be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” (Gen 17:10-12)

Criteria: All the male children aged 8 days old must be circumcised whether they are born within the household or bought from a foreigner. (Gen 17:12-13)

Perpetuity: Yahweh God again promises that Abraham at the age of 100 years and Sarah at the age of 90 will bear a son who will be named Isaac and with whom he will establish a Covenant, a Covenant in perpetuity. (Gen 17:18-19).

Covenant with Ishmael: Yahweh God then promises: “I will bless Ishmael and make him fruitful and greatly increase in numbers. He shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But my Covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear in the coming year. (Gen 17:20-22)

Note: Ishmael will be father of twelve princes. Why 12? Because as promised by God Almighty, he will make his Covenant with Isaac who will be father of twelve sons, so conclusion even when it comes in bearing children Isaac supersedes Ishmael.

Oath is obeyed: Abraham was 99 years when his foreskin was circumcised while Ishmael was circumcised at the age of 13 years. All the men along with born male of the household of Abraham were circumcised. (Gen 17:2-27)

Moses Says

Circumcise your heart then and be obstinate God, triumphant and terrible, never partial, never to be bribed. (Deut 10:16)

Was Moses circumcised?

The text is not so clear of Moses’s circumcision and sounds unfairly because of the law given by Yahweh God to Abraham. (Gen 17) But a reference emerges where one night when Yahweh God comes to meet and tries to kill Moses. This is when Zipporah Moses’s wife takes a flint and cuts of her son’s foreskin and with it she touched the genitals of Moses. ‘Truly, you are a bridegroom of blood to me!’ she said. By saying so the account of circumcision was fulfilled and Yahweh God let him lived. (Ex 4:24-26)

Note: Just touching Moses’s organ with her son’s foreskin the act or the oath was fulfilled hence once again proving that circumcision was a covenant made between Yahweh God and his children believing in one and only true living God. Hence, circumcision was nothing only proving one’s faith in believing in one God.

Significance of Circumcision?

Circumcision signifies membership in God’s people, (Gen 17:10). But this membership brought spiritual obligations with it: ‘circumcision of the heart.’


The prophet said ‘circumcise yourselves for Yahweh; off with the foreskin of your hearts’. (Jr 4:4)

St Paul

He taught what Moses proclaimed true circumcision is the mark of the true Israel which is of heart. (Rm 2:25-29, 1Co 7:19, Ga 5:6, 6:15, Ph 3:3, Col 2:11, 3:11)


2 thoughts on “Circumcision (Gen 17:1-27)

  1. Pingback: YESHUA-AL-AKBAR

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