The circumcision of the Hebrews (Josh 5:2-5:9)

“At that time Yahweh said to Joshua. ‘Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites a second time.’ So Joshua made flint knives. He circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath-haaraloth. This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them. All the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the warriors, had died during the journey through the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt. Although all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people born on the journey through the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the Israelites traveled forty years in the wilderness, until all of the nation, the warriors who came out of Egypt, perished, not having listened to the voice of Yahweh. To them Yahweh swore that he would not let them see the land that he had sworn to their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place that Joshua circumcised. They were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. When the circumcising of all in the nation was done, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. Yahweh said to Joshua. ‘Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.’ So that place is called Gilgal to this day.”

Yahweh speaks directly to Joshua like he had to Moses. The name of the place Gibeath-haaraloth is uncertain since it is never mentioned again in the Bible, but the literal meaning is the hill of foreskins. However, it was probably at the camp in Gilgal. There is a new circumcision since all the original circumcised people had died in the desert. There is no mention of why the Israelites did not circumcise their male children when they were born in the wilderness. In fact, circumcision had been a common near eastern practice. However, this was a renewal of the covenant in the new land.

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