Genesis 17:14

Genesis 17:14

And the uncircumcised man child, whose flesh of his foreskin
is not circumcised
Whose circumcision was neglected by his father, or by his mother, or by the civil magistrate, or by himself; for each of these, according to the Jewish canons, were obliged to see this performed;

``the commandment lies upon a father to circumcise his son, and upon a master to circumcise his servants born in his house, or bought with money F13:''

and it is elsewhere said F14,

``if a father does not circumcise his son, the sanhedrim are bound to circumcise him; and if they do not circumcise him, he is obliged when he is grown up to circumcise himself; and if he does not circumcise himself, he is guilty of cutting off,''

as it here follows:

that soul shall be cut off from his people;
which Jarchi interprets of his being childless, and dying before his time; and which, according to some in Aben Ezra, is, when a man dies before he is fifty two years of age; and some erroneous persons, as the same writer calls them, thought that if a child died, and was not circumcised, it had no part in the world to come. The simplest and plainest meaning of the phrase seems to be, that such should be cut off, and deprived of all civil and religious privileges with the Israelites in the land of Canaan, and be reckoned as Heathens. Concerning this matter, Maimonides F15 thus writes;

``a father or a mother that transgress, and circumcise not, make void the affirmative commandment, but are not guilty of cutting off; for no cutting off depends but upon the uncircumcised person himself; and the sanhedrim are commanded to circumcise a son or a servant in its time, that they may not leave an uncircumcised person in Israel, nor among their servants; if the thing is hid from the sanhedrim, and they do not circumcise him, when he is grown up, he is bound to circumcise himself; and every day that passes over him, after he is grown up, and he does not circumcise himself, lo, he maketh the commandment to cease; but he is not guilty of cutting off until he dies, and he is a presumptuous uncircumcised person;''

and so, according to him, this must respect his punishment after death in another world:

he hath broken my covenant;
made it null and void, neglecting the token of it, circumcision.


F13 Maimon. ut supra, (Hilchot Milah) c. 1. sect. 1.
F14 Schulchan Aruch, ib. c. 361. sect. 1.
F15 Maimon. Hilchot. Milah, c. 1. sect. 1, 2.