Should an Uncircumcised man Remain Uncircumcised?

SHOULD AN UNCIRCUMCISED MAN REMAIN UNCIRCUMCISED?

Paul also writes:

18 If a man was called while circumcised, he should not return to un-circumcision: and if he was called in un-circumcision, he should not be circumcised.
19 For circumcision is not anything, neither un-circumcision: but the observances of the commandments of Eloah.
(1Cor. 7:18-19 HRV)

Many have isolated this passage out of context in an effor to prove that anyone who is uncircumcised should not become circumcised.

In order to understand what Paul is saying here, we must understand the context of his statement. 1Cor. Chapter 7 is a very confusing section of scripture. To begin with this section unusually delineated Paul’s opinions from YHWH’s commands.

7:6 But this I say as to the weak (or sickly) not by commandment.

7:10 It is not from me but from the Master.

7:12 I say–I, not the Master.

7:17 The rule *I* lay down.

7:25 I do not have a command from the Master, but I offer an opinion.

7:40 In my opinion

Among the personal opinions Paul lays out in this chapter are a controversial call to remain unmarried (7:8) and uncircumcised (7:18-19).

In order to understand this passage we must understand some things about the Torah. During the forty years in the wilderness none of the newborn were being circumcised, as we read in the Book of Joshua:

2 At that time YHWH said unto Yahushua: Make you knives of flint, and circumcise again the children of Yisra’el, the second time.
3 And Yahushua made him knives of flint, and circumcised the children of Yisra’el at Giv’at-ha-araloth.
4 And this is the cause, why Yahushua did circumcise all the people that came forth out of Egypt that were males: even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came forth out of Egypt.
5 For all the people that came out were circumcised, but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way, as they came forth out of Egypt, had not been circumcised.
6 For the children of Yisra’el walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the nation– even the men of war that came forth out of Egypt–were consumed: because they hearkened not unto the voice of YHWH, unto whom YHWH swore that He would not let them see the land, which YHWH swore unto their fathers that He would give us–a land flowing with milk and honey.
7 And He raised up their children in their stead; them did Yahushua circumcise, for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised by the way.
8 And it came to pass, when all the nation were circumcised, every one of them, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.
(Joshua 5:2-8 HRV)

Now you might ask whe were these circumcisions not taking place during the forty years in wilderness. The Talmud poses this same question and records the following tradition:

Why were they not circumcised in the wilderness? If you wish I might
say: Because of the fatigue of the journey; and if you prefer I might
say: Because the North wind1 did not blow upon them. For it was
taught: In all the forty years during which Israel was in the
wilderness the North wind did not blow upon them. What was the reason?
If you wish I might say: Because they were under divine displeasure.
And if you prefer I might say: In order that the clouds of glory might
not be scattered.

Rabbi Papa said: Hence, no circumcision may be performed on a cloudy day or on a day when the South wind blows; nor may one be bled on such a
day. At the present time, however, since many people are in the habit
of disregarding these precautions, The Lord preserves the simple.

The Pharisaic Rabbis taught: In all the forty years during which Israel was in the wilderness there was not a day on which the North wind did not
blow at the midnight hour; for it is said, And it came to pass at
midnight, that the Lord smote all the firstborn etc. How is the
deduction arrived at?” By this we were taught that an acceptable time
is an essential.
(b.Yeb. 71b-72a)

Earlier in this chapter of 1Corinthians Paul also gives the opinion:

But I speak to those who do not have wives and to widows,
that it is profitable for them to remain like me…
(1Cor. 7:8)

Now we read in the Book of Jasher:

And Noah… refrained from taking a wife in those days,
to beget children, for he said, Surely now Elohim will destroy the earth,
wherefore then shall I beget children.
(Jasher 5:12)

So what was the basis of Paul’s opinion in 1Corinthians 7?

Paul wites:

If a man was called while circumcised, he should not return to uncircumcision. And if he was called in un-circumcision, he should not be circumcised.

…because of the urgency of the time…
…[because] the time is now shortened…
…[and because] the fashion of this world passes away.
(1Cor. 7:18-19, 26, 29, 31)

And likewise Paul said:

But I speak to those who do not have wives and to widows,
that it is profitable for them to remain like me.
(1Cor. 7:8)

Likewise Paul says this was
…because of the urgency of the time…
…[because] the time is now shortened…
…[and because] the fashion of this world passes away.
(1Cor. 7:26, 29, 31)

Paul’s opinion here is not against physical circumcision, but that because of dangers they were living in at that particular time and place, conditions were no more suitable for circumcsion than they had been in the wilderness, nor
for marriage in the days before the flood. However the people in the wilderness did eventually get circumcised before
entering the promised land, and Noah eventually received instruction to get married and had children inspite the danger
of the times. Regardless of whether or not we agree with Paul’s opinion in this passage, it was no more anti-Torah than the abstinence form circumcision during the forty years in the wilderness. Moreover we do not live in the same time and place as the situation Paul was addressing in Corinth at that time. Anyone who argues that believers should not get circumcised based on Paul’s “opinion” in 1Cor. 7:18-19 must also argue that believers should not get married based on Paul’s Parallel opinion in 1Cor. 7:8. Likewise if believers should still get married in spite od 1Cor. 7:8 then they should also get circumcised in spite of 1Cor. 7:18-19.

Click here to sign up for our free email updates.

This information is provided free.  It is paid for by those who support the WNAE with their tithes and offerings. Donations can be made via the Pay Pal box in the upper right hand corner, or mailed to Nazarene Judaism; PO Box 471; Hurst, TX 76053; USA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>