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The phrase חֶרְפֵת מִצְרַיִם refers generally to the fact that some Jews up until that point had retained some Egyptian customs (see Ralbag to Joshua 5:9), but more specifically, it refers to the shame of the Israelites for having gone 40 years in the desert without having performed circumcision on the males, young and old. The mass circumcision that took ...


During the forty year wilderness wanderings, the Israelites who escaped Egypt were disobedient and therefore refused to circumcise their children (Joshua 5:5-6). After these children (the second generation of Israelites) finally crossed the Jordan River with Joshua, they "caused twelve stones to carry over" (literal rendering of the Hiphil causative of ...

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