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In Joshua 5:2 (NASB)

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.”

What's the reason behind a second circumcision? Notice the usage of the word "again".

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  • I would have thought that the reason would be perfectly clear when the following verses are read. Please edit to add more context as to what remains unclear when the whole passage is read as a unit.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 13:16
  • @curiousdannii it's not as easy as it might look. For example, the current answer draws attention to the ones being born in the wilderness. Yet, verse 9 might imply another kind of circumcision (the Egyptian one) was involved. Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 13:28
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    Up-voted +1. Agreed that there is a question needs answering. YLT is even more emphatic At that time said Jehovah unto Joshua, `Make for thee knives of flint, and turn back, circumcise the sons of Israel a second time;'
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 15:18

3 Answers 3

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Joshua 5:2 Berean Study Bible

At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel once again.”

once again.”
וְשׁ֛וּב (wə·šūḇ)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7725: To turn back, in, to retreat, again

Brown-Driver-Briggs

1 turn back ...
2 return, come or go back ...
3 especially return unto: ...
4. a. bring back

Let's see the context.

6The 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. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.

Joshua was addressing the new generation who had never been circumcised.

In Joshua 5:2, why is Joshua commanded to conduct a second circumcision?

According to the literal interpretation of the word וְשׁ֛וּב and the context, it is not really a second circumcision. Joshua ordered a return to the circumcision ritual. So once again, the sons of Israel were being circumcised after a suspension of the ritual in the wilderness.

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I believe he was referring to those who were born during their wanderings in the wilderness

Joshua 5:3-6 NASB

3 So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at [b]Gibeath-haaraloth. 4 This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt. 5 For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised. 6 For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, that is, the men of war who came out of Egypt, [c]perished because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord, to whom the Lord had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.

All those that had come from Egypt who had been circumcised there had perished in the wilderness during the forty years.The second time does not refer to the same group being circumcised for the second time but those that had been born in the wilderness underwent the second circumcision that was carried out by Israel.

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  • I'm not sure this sits right with me though. Why would the Lord (infallible) deliver incomplete work that required completion by fallible humans? Isn't that assuming a lot of risk?
    – DaveDev
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 23:14
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    @DaveDev when hasn’t the Lord completed His work though humans? The Bible is literally the story of God using (very) fallible people! (See: Moses, David, Jonah, Peter, Paul, etc etc)...
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 0:05
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He said circumcise the second time because that’s exactly what he meant. The men of war had died is to say the large penis is arrayed for battle with Yahweh within it or in their midst. The going out and coming in speaks of this in many passages. Men of war are men arrayed for battle with the god like penis outwardly instead of inwardly. Horsemen riding on horses is another term that speaks of this. Alive means God is in your midst, midst always speaks of the penis. Sin would bring death or should i say God vacating the penis and it going to the inside. Spear,!glistening sword refers to the same thing. They would come to face giants and they say “they will slay us and take our women and children”. Slay refers to S-lay or more so a spiritual death and their fear was there women leaving them of their free accord. God punished people in this fashion or should I say men. Goes back to the garden, the fall of man brought death and the going in of GOD. Punishment was enmity and grief in child birth but not just labor pain it was the shame of the man not able to fulfill his duties. That’s why we got those scars from the private to the anus. That was when the fall came and his made adjustments but not for the good. The serpent had been the help meet created and it convinced eve to take of the forbidden fruit. Now they assumed that the serpent was not GOD but God has seven spirits but anyway by their faith they divided god and man keeps doing that and you notice GODS NAMES changing many times. Every one does this, we break GOD apart by our own disbelief and here is a key. Put God back together amd God will put you together and make you whole and complete. But back to circumcising-Notice the name of the place they were to be re-circumcised and use each letter to represent an entire word and as it really does. You will learn quickly that whom ever has God in their midst would be victories. Re-circumcising was to make way for their rebirth or the coming out of the man of war or God penis. The same thing should take place today because dr.s circumcise immediately after birth yet GOD said to do it on the 8th day and for a reason, 8 represents totality and perfection. The body is perfectly aligned on the 8th day and circumcision then insures perfect body alignment throughout your life. Circumcise right after birth when the body is contorted and very much out of line guarantees lots of health issues for you as you will never be able to align as you are locked down and that’s the best you’ll ever be. Sad people don’t do like GOD instructs because everything is for a reason. Open your minds to the truth of the Bible and come out of the tiny box the world puts God in because the truth will unfold and God will show these things and much more. He has tried many times but you most likely convince yourself it must be the devil tricking you but know this, the word speaks the truth no matter what code you want to apply, it tells more parts to the story and there is no contradictions anyway you look. You will soon have the answers everyone has searched for and you’ll understand how Cain went to another land and took a wife when you thought there was no more people. All things open up, crisp and clear. The Bible is a circle though and it meets in the middle, don’t think the Old Testament is only old as it it unfolding as we speak and the word is Alive and still writing though people can’t see that, I see the word changing day by day as you will too as you break your mind free from the strong hold of the world. Don’t be afraid, to over come you will have to admit to yourself you have served false gods and done all the evil HE speaks of because you didn’t understand nothing really but if you seek the truth with an earnest heart GOD will take you into his true fold. Find humility because it a must if you are to overcome because people and things you judged as being silly or dumb you will realize they were for a reason and you was the fool. You will see the world at this point have been turned and do not know what they serve. The closer to perfection you get the powers of hell will pour out on you to try and bring you into submission, many will deceive themselves into turning back but if you hunger for truth you will hold steady as hell fire rains on you trying to stop you. Only one has to prevail, only one. So when every bad thing you can imagine comes your way just know your Getting close cause when you turn from the truth satan knows you belong to him and he pulls away from you and the natural blessings God promised before to flow on you, it’s that simple cause people think they are safe and God is blessing g but it is a trick. Like lambs led to the slaughter, Jesus says fo away I never knew you. First will be last and last first. The ones you think are evil with bad things happening, well guess what? They are the only ones fighting for grace. Grace means you follow your heart, no law. So how could anybody be saved since man writes laws daily. Thus nobody practicing real grace could mean God sent his son for nothing. Insulting f to say the least, the church is defiled and speaks of things they do not know and if it were not for drug addicts and other Ruff and tuff humans that refuse to be brought under law then God would have destroyed us already and those words HE spoke to me many years before I understood why it be. It’s so simple but the world is decieved as it says in revelations “the deceiver of the entire world”, that means everybody. I have never written any of these things but there must be one amoung hall whom God seeks to draw out. Don’t get scared cause you will face hard facts and new things scare people but be bold in the LORD and stand for GOD. Seek ue the kingdom of GOD

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