In Joshua 5:2-6 we read:

2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.

4 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt—all the men of military age—died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not. 6 The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord.

Since their parents were dead, who performed the circumcision?


John Gill in commenting on Josh 5:3, gives this answer:

Not that Joshua circumcised them himself, any more than he made the knives himself, but he ordered both to be done, and took care that they were done. And as any that had skill might make the knives, so might any circumcise; circumcision was not restrained to any order of men, not to the priests and Levites, but any might perform it; so that though the number to be circumcised was great, it might soon be finished: and this was done

Anyone who was competent in circumcision could do it.


In Num 14:29 we read:

Your bodies will fall in this wilderness—all who were numbered in the census, everyone twenty years of age or older—because you have grumbled against Me.

40 years later, everyone that was 20 years and older was dead. This means that the oldest person was now 60 years old. There were plenty of people to do circumcision.

Since the Torah does not specify any particular person was required to perform circumcision, it was usually done by one of the parents or relative or even a family friend.

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