FOOD FOR THOUGHT: "Ignorance does not vanish with schooling, it is an attitude."
YOU ARE IN DARKNESS.
|moses page 1|
WHAT HAPPENED IN JEZREEL AND SHITTIM?Ernst Sellin claims that Moses was attacked and killed at Shittim which is to the east of Yordan (Jordan-Erden). What happened in Shittim? Here is Numbers 25: "..And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their Gods." It is not the attraction of vice that the children of Israel are faced with. It was not the professional prostitutes who led Israel astray. It was the daughters of the Moabites and the Midianites, their own viwes and sweethearts. They enticed and seduced the men of Israel to take part in the rites of Baal (the arch enemy of YHVH), which is the pivotal character in the fertility cult of Canaan. What Israel has encountered, while still on the other side of Jordan, was the voluptuous worship of the Phoenician gods. Leaders of Israel struck hard, did not even spare their own men, offenders were slaughtered and hanged. The people of Moab were spared since they were related to Abraham's nephew Lot who was regarded as their ancestor. But against the Midianites a war of extermination was let loose. This is a possible explanation based on assumption. There are others as well, for example the one proposed by Sigmund Freud. Let us continue with the narration of the Old Testament. First the Numbers14:26-35:
"..And the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me. Say unto them (...) Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness (...) Doubtless you shall not come into the land (...) But your little ones, I will bring them in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcases, shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness for forty years. (...) and you shall know my breach of promise. I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die."
Here you have the supposed reason why these people have wandered in the wilderness, and also the reason why those present at that event were banned from the Promised Land. Could this description be related to that bloody event? Now let us read Deuteronomy 9:6-21:
(Moses is speaking) "..Understand therefore, that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess not because of your righteousness; you are a stiff-necked people. Remember and forget not, how you have provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness: (from the day you departed from Egypt until you came to this place) ..you have been rebellious against the Lord. Also in Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry with you to have destroyed you. (Moses tells them that he went up the Mountain to take the Ten Commandments, and stayed up there forty days and forty nights) ..And the Lord said unto me, Arise get yourself down quickly; for your people which you have brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image. (...) Let me alone that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of yours a nation mightier and greater than they." (Moses goes on telling his people how he came down the mountain, and seeing that they have made a molten image, how he got very angry and broke the tablets, how he has prayed for mercy for his people and Aaron, how he has destroyed the molten image).
Here the Moses addressed (in bold italics) by the god must be Moses the Midianite. Because god wants to destroy the people that has risen against Moses and consequently against himself (god). Those who are said to have risen against Moses must be the ones who were not happy about what this migration has brought in the end. In other words, they must be those yearning for their days in Egypt. Therefore it should not be wrong to say that the nation that god "will make mightier and greater than they", must be the nation of Moses the Midianite. Could this be an account of what happened really?
Furthermore let us assume that the Midianites were made to accept a sole god (god of Moses the Egyptian) and his law. This belief system must have been perceived as very rigid, strict, formal etc., by the Midianites who were happy with their numerous local gods and various religious practices. In that case the Midianites may have rebelled against this sole god and his law, brought by Moses the Egyptian from Egypt. Then, the nation which god "will make mightier and greater than they" would be the nation of Moses the Egyptian. Could this be the truth?
We are not finished yet! There's a third possibility: Those who rebelled against Moses and his law may have been both the Hebrew tribes coming from Egypt and their next of kin, the tribes living in the region of Midian. Then the nation which god "will make mightier and greater than they" has to be the Levites, who have accompanied Moses as his close companions during the Exodus and on the route to the Promised Land. The Old Testament says that Moses, Aaron, and Miriam were all Levites.
MOSES - THE EGYPTIAN OR THE MIDIANITE?
There are two persons,Moses the Egyptian and Moses the Midianite. Let us try to find clues to their different personalities and trace their actions.
Moses the Midianite seems to be shadowed by Moses the Egyptian who has taken people out of Egypt.
The Moses of the Old Testament who is presented often as an autocratic, overruling, nervous character, and even a person who likes brute force must be Moses the Egyptian.
The Moses character who is presented as the world's most gentle and forbearing person must be Moses the Midianite.
The story in Exodus 32:19-22 must be about Moses the Egyptian;
The statement in Numbers 12:3 is clearly about another person, Moses the Midianite: "(Now the man called Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth)."
Clearly there are two different groups of attributes here. They do not fit. The second description does not fit Moses the Egyptian who had to deal with his people while engaged in such challenging and difficult matters. It would not be wrong to assume that the writers of the Old Testament has written about two different persons at different times and maybe in different places. When the two stories were edited to create a single story, Moses the Egyptian and Moses the Midianite have begun their co-existence in the Old Testament. We can safely say that Moses the Egyptian had never been to Kadesh, had never heard of YHVH; and Moses the Midianite had never been to Egypt, and had never known anything about "Aton/Aten."
There is also another very important point :Moses is described as a person experiencing some sort of a difficulty in speaking. In fact he admits this himself in Exodus 4:10: "And Moses said to the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since you have spoken unto your servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." In which language do you think YHVH and Moses were conversing?.. Most certainly in Hebrew. Do you remember how YHVH has declared himself to Moses: "I am that I am" or "Iam what Iam", which is a Hebrew expression, "Ehyeh asher ehyeh" (Karen Armstrong, A History of God). So, god is speaking in Hebrew. Then this complaint by Moses may be taken as having a speech disorder. Since he is a member of the tribe of Levi (as presented in the Old Testament) no one could say that he did not speak Hebrew. If God and Moses were conversing in Hebrew then Moses must have been trying to explain that he was having difficulty in speaking - a speech disorder. That is why he needed Aaron's help. If he had a speech disorder then we must ask the following fundamental questions:
How did he manage to gather all those people around him?
How did he manage to explain to them the rules of his belief system?
How did he motivate them?
How did he become a messenger?
Can you imagine a charismatic person, the 'greatest prophet in the history of mankind' being unable to speak properly because of a disability? We better check the other possibility: God and Moses are conversing in Egyptian and Moses is an Egyptian himself. Then this slowness of speech may again be a speech disorder as in the first supposition. But let us assume that it is an inability to speak the local language. This is strange. These two brothers, Moses and Aaron, are living in Egypt, but only one of them speaks the local language (Aaron) and the other doesn't. That is why god suggests Moses that Aaron would be the go-between, the translator, between Moses and the Pharaoh. There is another possibility: Moses being a follower of the Aten/Aton religion, may have declined meeting the new ruler or entering into conversation with the new ruler, who has toppled Akh-en-aton and his religion were toppled This is a fairy tale for the adults, so anything goes!
Now let us consider the invented myth, where;
Moses was a member of the Levi tribe in Egypt. He disliked the Egyptians. He conversed in Hebrew with his god. He did not want to speak to pharaoh. Eventually took his people out of Egypt.
This is the story written in the Old Testament. If this approach is right, then the efforts seem to be aiming at breaking all the links between Moses and Egypt (him being an Egyptian) and presenting him as a full-blooded Hebrew.
Which is the one we read about in the Old Testament?
How did a man named Moses has come to be presented as the character we know him today - the greatest messenger in the history of mankind?
Anybody venture for an answer?
The belief is that though his life was not short, it was impossible for Moses the Egyptian to have taken part in the events atKadesh. If this proposition is the right one then the second Jezreel that we have been looking for must be the one near Kadesh in southern Palestine, and if any bloody event, which cost Moses the Egyptian his life, had really happened it must have taken place in this Jezreel near Kadesh. In order to integrate Moses the Egyptian and Moses the Midianite into the Moses we know today the Oral tradition or the 'myth' had to move the Egyptian Moses to Midian and implant him into what is said to have happened in Sinai, or Shittim, or Kadesh-Meribah. This literary operation has resulted in the removal of his murder from the records. But he went on existing(!) in the literature until he died(!) and interned supposedly on mount Nebo.
Here is another approach to this riddle. A group of Semitic people may have been held captive in Egypt. So we could assume that at least one single tribe,House of Yosef, had to come out of Egypt, and a tribal chief had led this migration. The geographical location of the land of Midian was a matter of discussion. Some scholars believe that this location is on the Sinai peninsula where the mount Sinai is, but there are also those who say that land of Midian is to the northwest of Arabia. This story about the Midianites is said to have been an addition to the Old Testament at a later period to establish a kinship between the Hebrews that left Egypt, and the Kenites and Midianites they joined later. But the writers of the Old Testament had already established this kinship long long ago(!) with the marriage between Abraham (the patriarch of Israel) and Keturah the Midianite. Therefore various writers of the Old Testament over hundreds of years must have forgotten this section of the story and must have felt the need to establish a relationship again!
The story in Exodus 2:15-22 is about Moses fleeing Egypt, and going to Midian. We are told that Moses had to flee Egypt because he had killed an Egyptian. The reason for the insertion of this story may well have been to show that the fundamental rule of the Mosaic Law (protect the weak against the powerful) is general and practiced in foreign lands as well. Another reason for this story may be to establish a link between Moses the Egypyian and the Midianites. In Midian the daughters of theMidianite priest (here his name is given as Reuel) say that an Egyptian has helped them. Which may be taken as a clue that this Egyptian (If he was Moses) did not look like the people of that region; that his attire was different from the Semitic tribes living in the land of Midian; that his behaviour was different; and that he kept to his traditions etc. If this person was Moses the Egyptian he might have accepted the traditions and attitude of the Midianites after living amongst them for some time. The Moses mentioned in the Old Testament is not like the other Semites who were raised in captivity and slavery; but brought up in the Egyptian palace with all its high life and superior culture. He must have taken up the semi-nomadic life style of the tribe of his father-in-law later, which lasted until Israel had settled in Canaan. This meant also that Moses had taken refuge with his forefathers, because this newly adopted tribal life style, the nomadic order and traditions were supposedly the exact copy of the tribes of Abraham, I'zak and Ya'kub. Of course the whole of the story may not be a myth. The following generations have most probably 'coated' this man called Moses with fiction in order to give him a superior personality. Scholars agree that;
There must have been a person - his name does not matter - who took Israel out of Egypt;
Who put an end to their slavery;
Who gave them freedom;
Who created the nation of Israel;
Who gave their law and founded their religion.
If all these were done by Moses one cannot help but ask: What is left for YHVH to do? What is supposed to have happened at mount Sinai shows the transformation attempt of Israel from polytheism to monotheism. I call it an 'attempt' because this transformation was not successful for a very very long time. The Old Testament is full of stories related to YHVH's fight with his people, their unruly behaviour, and the other Gods. The Old Testament never denies the existence of other supreme beings, but only YHVH, has claimed the ownership of a nation.
LEVITES - WHO WERE THEY AND WHAT ROLE DID THEY PLAY IN THE NEW RELIGION?
The Old Testament tradition is practically unanimous in tracing theLevites to the third son of Ya'kub and Leah. The earliest reference to the tribe is found in Genesis 49:5-7. There seems no real reason to doubt the tradition which makes Moses and Aaron members of this tribe. But ask the right question: Could they have been presented as Levites for the sake of the myth? Tribe's special devotion to YHVH (the god who was supposedly introduced to Israel by Moses) is illustrated by the story of vengeance the Levites took on the calf-worshippers in Sinai (Exodus 32:26-28). Since Moses seems to have derived his knowledge of the cult of YHVH during his stay amongst the tribes of the north of the Sinai peninsula (Midianites, Kenites etc.) it has been suggested that the Levites, as a tribe, have belonged to a group that entered the Promised Land from south, along with the Kenites and Danites, independently of the great invasion of the Israelites under Joshua. The first mention of a Levitical sanctuary in the north that connects its establishment with the migration of the tribe of Dan seems to support this theory.
Let us continue. Here is Numbers 26:59:
"..Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare onto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister."
One can read about the tribe of Levi in Numbers 26:57-65:
"..And those that were numbered of them were twenty and three thousand, all males from a month upward: for they were not numbered among the children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given them among the children of Israel...These are they that were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.. But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai."
Moses is said to have led the enslaved tribe of Levi out of Egypt back to the land of Canaan. What should we understand from this announcement?
That Moses is a Levite himself?
That this is a deliberate attempt to present Moses as one of the members of those Hebrew tribes that went to Egypt earlier?
If it is, then the motive behind it should be to make Moses seen as a genuine Hebrew. Was there another group in addition to the Levites during the Exodus? We do not know. Some say there was only the tribe of Levi, some say they were a larger group with others as well. It is claimed by some that Moses has taken them out of Egypt and led them to the Land of Canaan but has died before they reached it. As the relevant story in the Old Testament tells us they were almost there, in the Promised Land. Moses saw the Land from afar and died. He and his contemporaries were not allowed to step on to this sacred land. Only the children of Israel were allowed. (This flight from Egypt - Exodus - is celebrated and remembered by the annual festival of Pesach, Passover).
The people coming back from Egypt may have been smaller in numbers in comparison with the group they have joined, but they were stronger culturally, and since they brought with them a tradition which the other group lacked, they played a more effective role in the forward evolution of the people. Perhaps these people coming out of Egypt have brought with them something much more concrete than a tradition. Here we must turn to the Levites again. Their origin is one of the major mysteries of history. They are said to be the members of one of the twelve tribes of Israel - the Levi tribe. But these Levites are not mentioned anywhere in the oral tradition. Neither is there a reference to which part of the land of Canaan was given to them. Levites filled all the important religious posts. But they were different from the priests. There was no necessity for a Levite to be a priest. They were neither a caste. Later on in the life of Israel the names of an Egyptian origin could be seen only amongst the Levites. What should we make of this? Who were they?
Let us go back to the hypothesis on the personality of Moses the Egyptian. He was (if he ever existed) most probably an aristocrat, a master. He should not be expected to join this group of foreigners - the Semites - alone. He must have taken with him his closest followers, secretaries, and servants. These people are thought to be the origin of the Levites. It is no surprise that Levites always had a privileged position. They were the closest people to Moses. The fact that only Levites had Egyptian names in later periods is taken as an evidence in support of this assumption. These Levites must have survived the destruction of their religion, grew in numbers, mixed with the society they were living in, but remained loyal to their master all the time, kept his memory alive, and lived according to the traditions established by him. All through the period of integration with the worshippers of YHVH they constituted a culturally superior, and privileged minority. In his theory summarized above Sigmund Freud proposes a period of two generations or a hundred years between the downfall of Moses and the establishment of the new religion in Kadesh, and thinks that the people coming out of Egypt have joined the other tribes of their stock after these tribes accepted the religion of YHVH. What we have today and what is written in the Old Testament lead us to the conclusion that there was an agreement, or better still, a compromise in Kadesh and the people who were with Moses played a great role in it. Circumcision must have been a concession to the followers of Moses or the Levites among them, who have rejected giving up this sign. In return this group must have agreed to adopt the new god - YHVH - and what the Midianite priests say about him.
MOSES IS EGYPTIAN BUT CIRCUMCISION IS DEFINITELY NOT (!)
Egyptians are known to have a contemptuous attitude towards other nations. If Moses was an Egyptian then why did he choose to lead a group of immigrant foreigners who were of a lower level of civilization, and left his country with them? It is extremely likely that the writers of the Old Testament have invented stories to present the founder of their religion as a Hebrew. They must have known that Moses was an Egyptian name, but they had difficulty in accepting that he is an Egyptian. Do you remember the story about Moses being found in a basket in the river Nile (Exodus 2:10). If he is found in a basket in the river Nile, he must have been born there. The additional motifs of this story tells us that the Hebrews there were being oppressed, and asked to kill their first male child, and that was why the mother of Moses did what she did, and so on.. It is clear even at this point that it is impossible to form a coherent picture of the beginning and early days of his life. When you finish reading his story you will see that it is even more difficult to construct the historical personality of Moses. Butlet us go on with an educated guess:
There is a person named Thutmosis-Thutmose among the followers of Akh-en-aton. He has an elevated status. He is a fervent and devoted believer of the Aten/Aton religion. But in contrast with the pharaoh who liked philosophising, Thutmosis is energetic and passionate. Death of Akh-en-aton and the abandoning of his religion means an end to all the expectations of Thutmose. He may have been the governor of one of the border regions. In this capacity he established a relationship with a group of Semitic people who have immigrated there a few generations ago. He tried to make up for what he had lost, and decided to realize his ideals on this group. He chose this group as his people. With his entourage (Levites) he took this chosen people and left Egypt. He blessed his group with the sign of circumcision.
Here let me remind you the interpretation by some scholars, of the Old Testament story that god is angry with Moses because he is not circumcised, and the Midianite wife of Moses Tsippora/Zipporah cutting off the foreskin of Moses with a stone and saving his life - could this be another Moses than the one who came out of Egypt? Because Egyptians attached a great importance to circumcision. In other words, circumcision was the usual practice in Egypt, but it was not compulsory. Moses was not circumcised. Well there are other things which must be considered. Let us start with a basic dilemma:
If Moses was an Egyptian; he should have been circumcised. But he was not.
If he was an Egyptian and if he imposed on his chosen people the belief in sole god, this monotheism should have been the Akh-en-aton's Aten/Aton religion, or a personal variant of this monotheist belief system.
If Moses had declared his faith in the sole creator; and if Moses was accepted as the founder of Judaism, this sole creator of Judaism must have originated in Egypt, or a sequel of the monotheism there.
If circumcision which is the sign of the covenant between god and the children of Israel was the normal practice in Egypt, then what the Jewish people believe in must be a belief system which could be tied to Egypt.
The messenger is Egyptian, the sign is Egyptian, the foundation of the belief system is monotheism, which has originated in Egypt. In other words what the Jews believe in must be a belief system originating from Egypt. This was and still is unacceptable to the children of Israel.
But is this the right conclusion? One should never overlook the story of Bahram the Mandaean, who is known to us under the names Av'ram, Abraham and Ibrahim. Moreover, especially when one thinks about the editorial work done by Ezra the priest in the wake of the Babylonian exile, there could be other possibilities. More of them later.
The first reference to the subject of circumcision in the Old Testament is in Genesis 17:10-14, where Abraham's god makes a covenant with him:
"Every man child among you shall be circumcised...And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin...And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised amongst you...and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant...the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."
According to Genesis 17:24 Abraham did not carry out this basic necessity of the covenant with his god immediately. He must have been negligent, because he was ninety years old when god made the covenant with him, and according to Genesis 17:24 he was "...ninety years old and nine when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin", in other words, nine years later. Genesis 17:27 ends the story by telling us that all the men in the house of Abraham - born in the house and bought with money - were circumcised with him on the same day.
The so called contract between god and Abraham in effect, means the introduction of circumcision to Palestine. If you remember the Mandaean story on Bahram the Mandai (on the pages titled Prophet Abraham) the circumcision was introduced to Palestine long before Moses, by Bahram the Mandai.There may have been circumcision in Egypt but plain calculation tells us that it was introduced to the Hebrews by Bahram the Mandai and not by Moses and his entourage. The codebook makes clear that circumcision was presented as the sign of a covenant between Abraham and his god, a covenant which was allegedly done in Palestine ages before the supposed adventure in Egypt of the sons of Israel. The codebook very conveniently explained that this practice could not have originated from Egypt.
The second event related to the circumcision is told in Joshua 5:2-7: "At the time the Lord said unto Joshua, make yourselves sharp knives, and circumcise the children of Israel the second time." Joshua did as he was told. He circumcised the sons of Israel. But what was the reason for this second circumcision?
They might have known and adopted Bahram the Mandai's (Abraham) faith before entering Egypt, while they were still in Palestine.
This argument raises very serious questions for the history of Judaism.
Now back to the story: Those who were born on the way were not circumcised because they had been on the move for 40 years. Therefore, as ordered(!) by god Joshua circumcised them.
Well, if the elders who came out of Egypt were circumcised, who could refuse to acknowledge that they were the people of the land of Palestine formerly (let us call them Hebrews) who were the followers of Bahram the Mandai's religion? Because we know that circumcision was introduced to Palestine by the Mandaeans.
If the circumcision was not an Egyptian but a Mandaic-Hebraic practice, but as historical records show the Egyptians were practising it, then either the Hebrew tribes of the Mandaean religion that moved to Egypt have introduced it (which is not plausible).
If Egyptians did have circumcision then it was not a 'sign of identification' for this Hebraic stock. Imagine the shock that the chosen people of god had when they found out that they shared their sign of covenant, the sign of identification, circumcision with the Egyptians - their oppressors?
In the story on his journey through Egypt about 450 B.C. Herodotus relates the characteristics of the Egyptian people which amazingly resembles the traditions of the later Judaism that we know: According to which,
They were the first to practice circumcision for hygiene (were they really?);
Pigs were repugnant to them (this undoubtedly is because of Seth wounding Horus in the form of a black boar).
They revered cows, never offered one as sacrifice.
They did not eat beef.
The Egyptians of both sexes never kissed a Greek, never used their knives, skewers and crockery because the Greek ate beef.
An Egyptian would not consume the meat of a cattle if it is killed by a Greek's knife, even if the animal is clean.
They despised other peoples who are not clean or not close to the gods as they are.
Now back to the subject of circumcision, told in Exodus 4:22-26. Where Tsippora/Zipporah enters the scene, takes a sharp stone and performs a circumcision operation.Some interpret this strange story, as god being infuriated because Moses was still uncircumcised. This whole story is just nonsense.
This is the summary:
It was felt that this tradition of circumcision should be kept (because it was turned into a sign of identification for the sons of Israel, but at the same time efforts must be made to separate this tradition from Egypt, because it was supposedly reserved for the 'family of Abraham' (Bahram the Mandai) only.
The Hebrews that entered Egypt (if ever they did that) were the followers of the Bahram the Mandai, who is known to them as Abraham the patriarch, the founder of the religion.
If YHVH is cross with Moses because he was not circumcised, Moses was not one of the Hebrews. Moses had no connection with the people who migrated from Egypt to the Promised Land.
The religion Moses had imposed on the Hebrew tribes was not the religion of YHVH.
Therefore Moses was not a follower of Bahram the Mandai (Abraham). But his wife was a Midianite where circumcision may have been known due to their close relations with the people in Palestine. So Tsippora the Midianite performed the circumcision.
The men in the Hebrew tribes were circumcised when they entered Egypt. They were the followers of Bahram the Mandai, whose personal god was the Great Life, the One, the Almighty, El, El Shadday or Rabb or Alaha or Yurba (choose anyone you like). But certainly not YHVH .
Therefore neither the Hebrew tribes of the Mandaean faith nor Moses the Egyptian knew a supreme being called YHVH.
They were introduced to the volcano god YHVH when they reached the land of Midian.
In order to cover for this 'break' in the continuous(!) history of the Hebrews-Israelites-Jews, stories were invented and written into the Old Testament, which connected incidents at Beth El and Mamre with YHVH, so the god of Beth El and Mamre became YHVH.
But this operation by the writers of the Old Testament necessitated YHVH accepting openly that those people did not know him as YHVH, but he did not give the specific name he was known to those people (Exodus 6:3); he said he was known to them "by the name of god Almighty". If YHVH is the god of Abraham then He and the god of Moses are one; and the origin of the "sign of identification" is the covenant made with Abraham. So covenant is exclusive to Abraham and to his seed (the Sons of Israel) and has nothing to do with Egypt.
Consequently the story about Abraham's stay in Egypt is most probably an invention, with a specific purpose to connect the land of Egypt, and the story of Hebrew tribes of ancient Mandaean faith with the tribes and their history in and around Palestine. Has not god made a contract with Abraham on circumcision? Yes he did (Genesis 17:10-14, 24-27). Abraham was not circumcised before going to and after returning from Egypt. So, again this could not be a tradition originating from Egypt. It has started with the covenant. It is particular to the followers of Abraham and to his seed. Some think that in order to connect this "sign of identification" to Abraham and to his seed, the myths related to the patriarchs - Abraham, I'zak and Ya'kub- were created.
There is another event in time which is related to circumcision: When Cyrus the Great has occupied Babylon, he let the Jewish priests return to their homeland. The first Temple in Jerusalem was in ruins, and 70 years after the destruction of the first one a second temple was built. Rule of the temple priests was re-established. This is the period, especially in times of Ezra and Nehemiah, when the differences between the Jews and non-Jews were established. The main difference between them is the circumcision. Others are the keeping of the Sabbath, the adoption of the Jewish year, obedience to Torah, marriage within the faith, and fulfilling the essential obligations towards the Temple.