Leviticus 26:41

Hebrew Bible

39 “‘As for the ones who remain among you, they will rot away because of their iniquity in the lands of your enemies, and they will also rot away because of their ancestors’ iniquities which are with them. 40 However, when they confess their iniquity and their ancestors’ iniquities which they committed by trespassing against me, by which they also walked in hostility against me 41 (and I myself will walk in hostility against them and bring them into the land of their enemies), and then their uncircumcised hearts become humbled and they make up for their iniquities, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 The land will be abandoned by them in order that it may make up for its Sabbaths while it is made desolate without them, and they will make up for their iniquity because they have rejected my regulations and have abhorred my statutes.

Jeremiah 9:26

Hebrew Bible

24 If people want to boast, they should boast about this: They should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,” says the Lord. 25 The Lord says, “Watch out! The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh. 26 That is, I will punish the Egyptians, the Judeans, the Edomites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, and all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples. I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in the Lord’s sight. Moreover, none of the people of Israel are circumcised when it comes to their hearts.

 Notes and References

"... In addition to all of the negative connotations associated with the status “uncircumcised,” this status also refers, specifically, to one’s inability to translate the divine word into proper behavior, which is a threat to the security of the promises YHWH made to Abraham. Those who live as if they are outsiders to YHWH’s covenant community, while bearing the mark on their flesh, are said to be “uncircumcised of heart” (Leviticus 26:41; Jeremiah 9:26; compare Ezekiel 44:7, 9) or “uncircumcised of ear” (Jeremiah 6:10). In order to affect the desired response, the biblical authors impart blame, insult, their own personal disgust, and connotations of impurity through the use of uncircumcision language. This is the underlying force of the metaphor, with each author adding his own nuance. The Uncircumcised Heart At the most simplistic level of interpretation, the uncircumcised heart is one characterized by obstinance toward YHWH and his word. Leviticus 26:41 describes the uncircumcised heart as one that commits treachery against YHWH and walks opposite of his ways, forcing YHWH to displace Israel from its land and thus revoke his own covenant. “If then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity …” then YHWH will remember his covenant with the patriarchs and also the land. Before YHWH restores Israel to its land, he will give it the Sabbath rest it deserves (Leviticus 26:41–45). In this scenario, the uncircumcised state of Israel’s heart leads to YHWH’s amnesia in regard to his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in which he promised the Promised Land. The only way to remind YHWH is to “circumcise” one’s heart by applying humility and making amends ..."

Balogh, Amy L. Moses among the Idols: Mediators of the Divine in the Ancient Near East (p. 127) Fortress Academic, 2018

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