If someone were to have asked me which Covenant was THE covenant between God and Abraham I would have said this is it! As we have discovered it was not, though as best as I can discern this was the third chazakah God made with Abram. Circumcision is such an Iconic action and a painful one when gifted to an Adult and Abram was 99 years old when he participated in this Rite. It ought not to be something the significance of one forgets. Genesis 17:3-8
Then 17:9-14 God indicated to Abram that Circumcision was the outward sign demonstrating his obedience to the covenant. The outward sign of an inner reality
Name Change – the first of many
God alters the names of these two to indicate what manner of people they are to become. Abram to Abraham “No longer will you be called AbramAbram means exalted father ; your name will be Abraham,Abraham probably means father of many. for I have made you a father of many nations.” “15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.””
Abraham has a good old chuckle not believing the power of God to do whatsoever God Will and asks if only Ishmael might be his heir.
19 Then God said, “No, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.Isaac means ‘ He laughs’ Ishmael, who was 13, Abraham and all those males in the household were circumcised that day.
Why Circumcision? ( Anthropology)
There are 4 different procedures, not to be mentioned on a G rated site, go research
This book at the Gutenberg Press may be of some help in identifying both the History and types of circumcision -The Project Gutenberg EBook of History of Circumcision from the Earliest Times to the Present, by Peter Charles Remondino
For status, health, (antediluvian facts after note 3) manners,customs, phallic worship-(Professor Worman, of Brooklyn in “Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature”)1
Traced by some to the Chaldees of Sumer,though must not have been so in Ur-Kasdim ,because Abraham was uncircumcised. Rather than this event being something novel, it was a common rite in many of the surrounding tribes and clans.This may have been the first time since Phallic worship that such was identified as a Religious rite, I am not yet sure. But we are supposed to believe that this is a novel Rite invented by God to mark the sign of his People, that it existed nowhere else.
Doyle writes-“From an anthropological viewpoint Abraham’s worshipping of one god was highly significant, marking a move from polytheism to monotheism”2 (Ritual Male Circumcision:A Brief History) And this , seems the best answer as to the why.
To distinguish the People of the Promise?
N.B Abraham and his (Males) family and his bond servants and slaves, which he had purchased, were all circumcised that day giving us a Chosen People with a polyglot of a gene pool. Hypothetically not all proto-Jews were Semitic.
Then God sets out for Abraham the protocol for future Circumcisions, boys eight days old were to be circumcised as a perpetuating sign of the chazakah God had made with Abraham and his descendants forever. Again Note well – It was God who again was the active party in this chazakah.
“Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature,” vol. viii, page 58. Article, Phallus.
Doyle, D, 2005. Ritual Male Circumcision:A Brief History. Journal of the Royal College of Physicians., 35:, 279–285.
History of Circumcision in the Bible
All Scripture from Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages. 2018. Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages. [ONLINE] Available at: http://biblehub.com/. [Accessed 26 April 2018].