Is any man called being circumcised?
&c.] That is, if any man that is a Jew, who has been circumcised in his infancy, is called by the grace of God, as there were many in those days, and many of them in the church at Corinth:
let him not become uncircumcised;
or "draw on" the foreskin; as some did in the times of Antiochus, for fear of him, and to curry favour with him, who, it is said, 1 Maccab. 1:15, "made themselves uncircumcised", and forsook the holy covenant; and so did Menelaus, and the sons of Tobias, as Josephus reports F2; and there were many, in the days of Ben Cozba, who became uncircumcised by force, (Nykwvm) , they had their foreskins drawn on by the Gentiles against their wills, and when he came to reign were circumcised again F3; for, according to the Jews, circumcision must be repeated, and not only four or five times F4, but a hundred times, if a man becomes so often uncircumcised F5 They make mention of several particular persons who voluntarily became uncircumcised, or, to use their phrase, and which exactly answers to the word used by the apostle, (wtlreb Kvwm) "that drew over his foreskin"; as Jehoiachin F6, Achan F7, yea even the first Adam F8; one guilty of this, they say, makes void the covenant F9; it was accounted a very great sin, so great that he that committed it was reckoned F11 among them that shall have no part in the world to come, but shall be cut off and perish; physicians say, this may be done by the use of an instrument they call spaster, which has its name from the word used in the text. The apostle's sense is, that such as had been circumcised, and had now embraced the faith of Christ, had no reason to be uneasy, or take any methods to remove this mark from their flesh, because it was abolished by Christ, and now of no significance; since as it did them no good, it did them no hurt:
is any called in uncircumcision? let him not become circumcised?;
that is, if a Gentile who was never circumcised is called by grace, let him not submit to circumcision, which is now abrogated, and is altogether unnecessary and unprofitable in the business of salvation; yea, hurtful and pernicious if done on that account, since it makes men debtors to do the whole law, and Christ of none effect unto them.
F2 Antiqu. l. 12. c. 5. sect. 1.
F3 Hieros. Yebamot, fol. 9. 1. & Sabbat, fol. 17. 1. T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 72. 1. & Gloss. in ib.
F4 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 46. fol. 41. 4.
F5 T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 72. 1.
F6 Vajikra Rabba, sect. 19. fol. 161. 1.
F7 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 44. 1.
F8 Ib. fol. 38. 2. Zohar in Gen. fol. 27. 1. & 40. 4.
F9 Hieros, Peah, fol. 16. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 27. 3. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 41. 4.
F11 Maimon. Hilch. Teshuba, c. 3. sect. 6. & Milah, c. 3. sect. 8.