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Gilgal is the name of the location in the hill country of Israel, west of the River Jordan, and about ten miles north of the city of Jericho. The Israelites camped here after crossing the River Jordan in 1406 B.C.[1]

The Israelites, led by Moses, who apparently was not circumcised and seems to have placed little importance on the practice, did not practice circumcision while they trekked in the wilderness for forty years.[2] All of the circumcised warrior class who had left Egypt had died, and no warriors remained alive.[3]

After the death of Moses, Joshua assumed command of the Israelites. Joshua was faced with the conquest of Canaan,[4] so he needed warriors. Lloyd deMause (1996) reports that childhood trauma (including circumcision) makes the subject more angry, aggressive, and violent.[5] Joshua must have known of the traumatic effects of child circumcision, because he caused all of the male children born during the forty years in the wilderness to be circumcised in a mass circumcision at Gilgal in preparation for the conquest of Canaan.[6] Gilgal came to be known as "the hill of the foreskins."[6]

Name adoption

The name "Gilgal" was adopted as the name of an infamous British circumcision fetish society.


  1. REFweb (1611). Joshua 5:10, Bible Gateway, KJV. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  2. REFweb (1611). Joshua 5:5, Bible Gateway, KJV. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  3. REFweb (1611). Joshua 5:4, Bible Gateway, KJV. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  4. REFweb (1611). Joshua 6-12, Bible Gateway, KJV. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  5. REFjournal deMause L. Restaging Fetal Traumas in War and Social Violence - Part 4. J Psychohist. May 1996; 23(4): 344-92. PMID. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  6. a b REFweb (1611). Joshua 5:3, Bible Gateway, KJV. Retrieved 29 February 2020.