Most of us have lived our lives with the belief that circumcision is a Jewish practice. A practice which was introduced to the world when Yahweh promised to establish a covenant with Abraham. However, circumcision existed long before Abraham or the Jews.
Abraham’s Covenant With God
In Genesis chapter 17 we have, what is deemed to be, the introduction of circumcision. Here God promises Abraham that if he abides by the covenant he seeks to establish with him, not only will he possess the land of Canaan. But he will also produce a great nation out of him, and kings will rise from his descendants.
6 …I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you…
The Ancient Egyptian Practice of Circumcision
But is that really the first time that circumcision is introduced to the world? Well, the Greek historian Herodotus tells us otherwise. In fact, he informs us that circumcision began with the Egyptians as a form of cleanliness. He further states that they were obsessed with cleanliness and it was one of their cleansing rituals.
They are the only people in the world, and such as have learnt the practice from them, who use circumcision…They practice circumcision for the sake of cleanliness, considering it better to be cleanly than comely…
Herodotus (Greek Historian)
The main difference between the Jews and the Egyptians was, the Jews were mandated to perform it on all male babies. While the Egyptians did it voluntarily as adults. There were indeed other nations who were involved in the practice prior to the Jews adopting it. The one thing they have in common is ~ they all inherited it from the Egyptians.
If you would like to read the other article in this series click on the link Passover/Easter – Could You Be Celebrating A Goddess Fertility Festival?