Circumcision before Abraham
Circumcision before Abraham

Circumcision before Abraham

​Circumcision in Ancient Egypt – Circumcision before Abraham

Many are surprised to learn that some form of this rite was practiced by various Ancient Near Eastern cultures, including the Egyptians and many tribes in Africa. Josephus, following Herodotus, notes that the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, the Syrians, and the Phoenicians, all practiced circumcision (Antiquities 8:262).
In the case of the Egyptians we have some fascinating illustrations of the process that began long before the time of Moses. In Saqqara, in Ankhmahon’s tomb, Visir of the Pharaoh Teti Dynasty (c. 2345 BCE) there is a bas-relief with a representation of circumcision. Below is a papyrus illustrating the operation in vivid color.

The hieroglyphics illustrate the dialogue:
“Hold it, quickly, don’t let it fall”
he answers
“I’ll do as you want”.
On the right, instead, the patient says:
“Rub it well, to make it efficacious”
and the operator answers:
“I’ll make it painless, pleasant”.
These last sentences let us suppose that the object in the operator’s hands, on the right, had an anesthetic use, others affirm that it is a sharp tool and that the word “rub” refers to the sharpening. Apparently circumcision was some kind of ritual marker connected to puberty and perhaps participation in priestly or royal levels of the society.

Egyptian Circumcision Before the Time of Abraham


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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