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Genesis 17: Circumcision for All You Boys


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God said to Abram, “Down on your knees, boy!” so Abram dropped.  “I want to talk to you about something.  I got big things in mind.”

“What’s that, my Lord?” asked Abram.

“What I’m thinking is that I want to put you in charge of everyone in Canaan, so sooner or later you’re going to have to drive all the locals out, I guess.  I want to make you fertile and have a whopping number of children.  You’re going to be the ancestor of kings and nations and the like.  Sound good?”

“Sounds good so far, yes.”

“All I ask is that you get circumcised…”

“I knew there was a catch in there somewhere—“

“Quiet!  Now I’m asking you to get circumcised, and get all your friends to get circumcised, and that you make sure every male who’s eight days old get circumcised.  Otherwise, they’re out.  Get it?”

“Sure.  But do You really think the guys are going to go for this circumcision?”

“Tell them that I said to do it, and they’ll do anything.  You’d be surprised.  Also: you and the missus are going to have to change your names.  Abraham and Sarah just sounds better, don’t you think?”

“Anything You say, Lord.”

“Cool.  This Sarah’s going to have a son, too.  By you.  I’ll see to that.  Call him Isaac.”

“Why do You keep insisting on naming and renaming everyone?  With all due respect, Lord, this kind of sounds like a cult…”

“Watch it, Abram… I mean Abraham,” said God.  “Or I’ll ask for more than just the foreskins…”

So Abraham went out and told Ishmael and all the free men and all the slaves that they had to get circumcised, and they all did it, including the slaves who, up until that point, didn’t think life could get any worse.

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