Blood covenant… via circumcision…???


Genesis 34: 13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah (Shechem had raped Dinah, after which Shechem asked for Dinah’s hand in marriage). 14 (Dinah’s father and brothers) said to (Shechem and his father), “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to (Shechem) who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we consent to you: that you will become as we are and every male among you be circumcised. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live among you and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and be gone.” 18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem.

I understand that blood covenants, in which two peoples join together as one, were important in ancient times. There was no meaningful police force in the ancient world, so tribes of people were vulnerable to attack, especially smaller tribes. One way to bolster security was for smaller tribes to join together forming one larger tribe. There was usually a blood component to the covenant.

In some cases tribes would slaughter an animal belonging to each as a sign of covenant. In our passage above, the act of circumcision is the blood sign chosen to establish a covenant. Circumcision. With grown men. Voluntarily.

I don’t think so.

Lord thank you that you were willing to give the blood of your Son Jesus to establish covenant relationship with us. It’s a debt we can never repay, but for which we are eternally grateful. Amen.

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