In the Hebrew Bible, circumcision terminology is often used figuratively for anything that is opposed to Israel's God. Because Israel alone among all the peoples of the ancient world amputated the foreskin during the rite, prophetic rhetoric could characterize any hostility to the Lord with "foreskin" language. In rendering the Hebrew, the official targums were quick to substitute nonliteral, more concrete equivalents for the metaphorical circumcision terminology. Consequently, while the targums generally capture the voice and perspective of their parent text, they at times miss the full theological substance and cutting rhetorical jab contained therein.

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