Friday, August 13, 2010

Hitting Below the Belt

I guess it is only fair that since God earlier inflicted Eve and all womenkind with painful childbirths, that he would eventually come up with something painful for the menfolk as well. So now in Genesis 17 we have God appearing once again to Abram (now 99 years old) and going on again about how he is going to increase his numbers, blah, blah, blah.
Boy! I bet Abram is getting tired of this old refrain now with Sarai still barren and 90-plus years old.
But this time God wants to “confirm his covenant” with Abram by getting him to sacrifice something a little closer to home than a ram or a goat. He wants him to get circumcised, along with every other male in his household.
Why he wants this is not explained, but Abram readily concedes. This “covenant in the flesh” will then serve as physical proof of obedience to God and uncircumcised males will be cut off from their people for breaking the covenant.
Also, God decides suddenly to change Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s to Sarah. He says this is because he is going to be the father of many nations. But it is unclear why he couldn’t do that and still be called Abram.
God then finally gives a firm date (one year from now) when Sarah will bear this long-awaited child who will be named Isaac.
We will see later on in Genesis when some of Abraham’s great grandchildren use circumcision as a way to weaken their enemies prior to an attack.

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