Covenant of Circumcision
Abram is 99 years old and God appeared and said that they will establish their covenant. He will become a father of a host of nations, and for no real reason, Abram is now named Abraham. Abraham will also be exceedingly fertile, and the covenant will be everlasting, even after Abraham is dead and his descendants are left. All of the land of Canaan will be permanently there.
As a symbol of this covenant, every male from now on (including those already living) must be circumcised. New borns must be circumcised when they are eight years old. If a male is uncircumcised, he will be cut off from his people, since he has broken the covenant.
Then, he re-named Sarai as Sarah, and will give her a son named Isaac, regardless of age. Ishmael, the first son of Abraham and Sarah (technically Hagar), will be made exceedingly fertile and he will multiply. He will be the father of a great nation. Then God left.
“Then Abraham took his own son Ishmael and all his slaves, whether born in his house or acquired with his money… and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins on that same day, as God had told him to do.”
Allow me to break this down piece by piece, as usual.
Firstly, why bother changing names for literally no reason? Abram and Abraham mean the same thing (the father is exalted) so why bother? It seems a hell of a lot like a “because I can” kind of thing. This detail isn’t even remotely significant, but I can’t not question it.
Secondly, how many times has God given Abraham all this land before? I haven’t counted, but this definitely isn’t the first.
But to the important part of this passage… circumcision. Firstly, why is such a symbol necessary? Again, it is something undeniably pointless to have a symbol of the covenant and to shun someone who does not bear the symbol, which is given to newborns who have no control over it. So if a man turns out not to be circumcised, not by his own will, and then wants to not be shunned, he quite literally needs to cut off part of his own penis himself. This is… sickening to say the least. And then, Abraham did it to every male he knew.
Circumcision is proven to be beneficial to one’s health, so it’s not like I’m against it. And it is fairly easy for more primitive civilization to realize this, so I could understand an ancient storyteller trying to convince people to do it for their own good, but to consider it the word of a God is absolutely absurd. If any God didn’t want his people to have foreskin, they wouldn’t be born with it.