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Biblical parallels with texts from ancient Egypt [Kemet (km.t)]

Exodus 3:14 & Book of the Heavenly Cow
Exodus 20 (Ten Commandments) & Papyrus of Ani
Genesis 41:42 & Amenhotep son of Hapu
Luke + Matthew & Great Hymn to the Aten
Proverbs & Amenemope's instruction
Proverbs & Ptah-Hotep's wisdom
Psalm 104 & Great Hymn to the Aten

 

The Papyrus of Ani is located in the British Museum (reference EA 10470) and dated circa 1250 BCE. Below is a table comparing this ancient Egyptian text with the biblical book of Exodus chapter 20 verse 1-17 also known as the "Ten commandments" (Bible Gateway, NIV).
The translation is from Raymond O. Faulkner, from the book "Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day: The Complete Papyrus of Ani Featuring Integrated Text and Full-Color Images" (twentieth anniversary edition, 2015, ISBN: 978-1-4521-4438-2).


The Great Hymn to the Aten's authorship is attributed to Akhenaten (1353-36 BCE, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012). Here's a comparison of the Biblical Book of Psalm 104 (King James Version) and the Great Hymn to the Aten's translation found in Miriam Lichtheim's "Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume II: The New Kingdom".


Great Hymn to Aten:
When you set in western light land,
Earth is in darkness as if in death;
Psalm 104 verse 20:
Thou makest darkness, and it is night [...]

Great Hymn to Aten:
Every lion comes from its den
Psalm 104 verse 21:
The young lions roar after their prey [...]

Great Hymn to Aten:
When you shine as Aten of daytime;
As you dispel the dark,
As you cast your rays
Psalm 104 verse 22:

The sun ariseth [...]

Great Hymn to Aten:
The entire land sets out to work
Psalm 104 verse 23:
Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

Great Hymn to Aten:
Trees, herbs are sprouting
Psalm 104 verse 16:
The trees of the Lord are full of sap [...]

Great Hymn to Aten:
Birds fly from their nests
Psalm 104 verse 12:
By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

Great Hymn to Aten:
Ships fare north, fare south as well
Psalm 104 verse 26:
There go the ships [...]

Great Hymn to Aten:
Giver of breath,
To nourish all that he made.
Psalm 104 verse 29:
Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die [...]

Great Hymn to Aten:
You supply his needs.
To nourish all that he made.
Psalm 104 verse 28:
That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

Great Hymn to Aten:
How many are your deeds
Psalm 104 verse 24:
O Lord , how manifold are thy works! [...]

Great Hymn to Aten:
You made a heavenly Hapy* descend for them;
He makes waves on the mountains like the sea
*Hapi is the word for "Nile Flood" (Obsomer, "Middle Egyptian" p. 274)
Psalm 104 verse 13:
He watereth the hills from his chambers [...]

Great Hymn to Aten:
You made the seasons to foster all that you made,
Winter to cool them, heat that they taste you.
Psalm 104 verse 19:
He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

 

The Great Hymn to the Aten's translation found in Miriam Lichtheim's
"Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume II: The New Kingdom".

Great Hymn to Aten:

There is no other who knows you,
Only your son, Neferkheprure, Sole-one-of-Re,
Whom you have taught your ways and your might.
Matthew 11:27
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Luke 10:22
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

 

The Instruction of Amenemope is a text "probably composed during the late New Kingdom (13001075 BCE )" according to the Encyclopædia Britannica. In the book "Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume II: The New Kingdom", Miriam Lichtheim wrote:

It can hardly be doubted that the author of Proverbs was acquainted with the Egyptian work and borrowed from it, for in addition to the similarities in thought and expression—especially close and striking in Proverbs xxii and xxiii—the line in xxii, 20: “Have I not written for you thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge” derives its meaning from the author’s acquaintance with the “thirty” chapters of Amenemope. Ever since Adolf Erman pointed this out there has been a consensus among scholars on a literary relationship, although some scholars have tried to interpret it in reverse by claiming priority for the Hebrew text, or have proposed to derive both works from a lost Semitic original. The Instruction of Amenemope is completely preserved in the British Museum Papyrus 10474.


Papyrus of the Teaching of Amenemope, Museum Number EA10474,1


Screen capture from"Bible Gateway" (see the next link), after verse 16 of Proverbs 22, it says:
"Thirty Sayings of the Wise", the first saying starts at the verse 17

Here's a comparison of the Biblical Book of Proverbs (New International Version) and the Instruction of Amenemope as translated in Lichtheim's aforementioned book.

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 1)
Give your ears, hear the sayings
Proverbs 22:17
Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 1)
Give your heart to understand them;
It profits to put them in your heart
Proverbs 22:17
apply your heart to what I teach

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 6)
Do not move the markers on the borders of fields,
Nor shift the position of the measuring-cord.
Do not be greedy for a cubit of land,
Nor encroach on the boundaries of a widow.
Proverbs 23:10
Do not move an ancient boundary stone
or encroach on the fields of the fatherless

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 7)
If riches come to you by theft,
They will not stay the night with you.
Comes day they are not in your house,
Their place is seen but they’re not there;
Earth opened its mouth, leveled them, swallowed them,
And made them sink into dat.
They made a hole as big as their size,
And sank into the netherworld;
They made themselves wings like geese,
Proverbs 23:4-5
Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 9)
Do not befriend the heated man,
Nor approach him for conversation.
Proverbs 22:24
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
do not associate with one easily angered

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 10)
God hates the falsifier of words,
He greatly abhors the dissembler.
Proverbs 12:22
The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 11)
Do not covet a poor man’s goods,
Nor hunger for his bread;
A poor man’s goods are a block in the throat,
It makes the gullet vomit.
He who makes gain by lying oaths
Proverbs 22:22
Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
and do not crush the needy in court

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 13)
Better is praise with the love of men
Than wealth in the storehouse;
Proverbs 22:1
A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 17)
Beware of disguising the measure,
[...]
Measure according to its true size,
[...]
Do not make a bushel of twice its size,
[...]
It abhors him who trims;
A measurer who indulges in cheating
Proverbs 20:23
The Lord detests differing weights,
and dishonest scales do not please him.

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 21)
Broadcast not your words to others,
Nor join with one who bares his heart.
Better is one whose speech is in his belly
Than he who tells it to cause harm.
Proverbs 20:19
A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much.

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 23)
Do not eat in the presence of an official
And then set your mouth before him ;
If you are sated pretend to chew,
Content yourself with your saliva.
Look at the bowl that is before you,
And let it serve your needs.
Proverbs 23:1
When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies,
for that food is deceptive.

Instruction of Amenemope (Chapter 30)
The scribe who is skilled in his office,
He is found worthy to be a courtier.
Proverbs 22:29
Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings;
they will not serve before officials of low rank.

 

Ptah-Hotep's wisdom, also known as "The Maxims of Ptah-Hotep" and "The Instruction of Ptah-Hotep" is a text written by the ancient Egyptian vizier named Ptah-Hotep (circa 2400 BCE) during the rule of king Djedkare Isesi.


Ptah-Hotep (Encyclopædia Britannica)

In "The Wisdom of Ptah-Hotep" by Christian Jacq, the author wrote:
"Jéquier, along with Dévaud, who considered The Wisdom of Ptah-Hotep to be
the 'the oldest book in the world' [...]"

In "Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms", Miriam Lichtheim wrote:

This long work has survived in four copies, three of which are written on papyrus rolls while the fourth, containing only the beginning, is on a wooden tablet.
The only complete version is that of Papyrus Prisse of the Bibliothèque Nationale, which dates from the Middle Kingdom. The other two papyri, both in the British Museum, are from the Middle and New Kingdoms, respectively. The wooden tablet, Carnarvon Tablet I in the Cairo Museum, also dates from the New Kingdom. The version of P. Prisse differs considerably from that of the other three copies. The translation here given reproduces the text of P. Prisse only. The work consists of thirty-seven maxims framed by a prologue and an epilogue.

Here's a comparison of the Biblical Book of Proverbs (New International Version) and "The Wisdom of Ptah-Hotep" as translated in Miriam Lichtheim "Ancient Egyptian Literature" Volume I:

Ptah-Hotep wisdom (Maxim 1)
Don't be proud of your knowledge,
Consult the ignorant and the wise
Proverbs 1:5
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance

Ptah-Hotep wisdom (Maxim 3)
If you meet a disputant in action
Who is your equal, on your level,
You will make your worth exceed by silence
Proverbs 17:14
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

Ptah-Hotep wisdom (Maxim 7)
If you are one among guests
At the table of one greater than you,
Take what he gives as it is set before you;
Look at what is before you
Proverbs 23:1
When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,

Ptah-Hotep wisdom (Maxim 9)
Do not boast at your neighbors' side,
One has great respect for the silent man
Proverbs 17:28
Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
and discerning if they hold their tongues.

 

Amenhotep son of Hapu: "A necklace of pure gold and all kind of material was put around his neck"
Genesis ch. 41 v. 42: "and put a gold chain about his neck"
Amenhotep son of Hapu: "His body was dressed with delicate fabric and first quality linen..."
Genesis ch. 41 v. 42: "and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen"

A report of excavations was published by the French Institute in Cairo (Institut Français du Caire) under the direction of M. P. JOUGUET. This institute was under the French Ministry (Department) of National Education (Minstère de l'Éducation Nationale).
Here he have "part 11" (TOME XI) of the excavations in the Temple of the Royal Scribe AMENHOTEP, son of HAPU (Le Temple du Scribe Royal AMENHOTEP, fils de HAPU) by Clément Robichon and Alexandre Varille, Volume I (1936). This report is hosted on the website of the French national library (Bibliothèque nationale de France): https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k853167p
A download link is also provided in the menu located on the right hand side, you can click on the "download" icon:

On page 148 of the PDF, there is a picture showing fragments of a mural painting of the "third right lateral chapel" (Fragments de peinture murale de la troisième chapelle latérale droite). On the top right hand corner, it says "Plate 35" (Pl. XXXV.):

Alexandre Varille provided the hieroglyphic transcript and a translation in his "Inscriptions concerning the architect Amenhotep son of Hapu" (Inscriptions conernant l'architecte Amenhotep fils de Hapou) in the publication referenced "Library of Study, T. 44" (Bibliothèque d'Étude, T. XLIV) of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, printed in 1968.
It is available on the Internet Archive website: https://archive.org/details/BdE-44

On Chapter 3 "Inscriptions of the funerary temple of Amenhotep" (CHAPITRE III. Inscriptions du Temple Funéraire d'Amenhotep), page 90 (PDF page 56), there is part D. - JUBILEE REWARDS (D. - RÉCOMPENSES JUBILAIRES.) with a drawing (by M. Jacquemin) of the wall painting labelled "figure 14 (FIG. 14):

We are informed that this group of fragments carry the number A. 1208 of their excavation's inventory (Ce groupe de fragments porte le numéro A. 1208 de notre inventaire de fouille). Then on the next page (91) the hieroglyphic transcript is presented in six columns, under the reference "Text N° 30" (TEXTE N° 30. Inscription en six colonnes):

On the following page (92), we have the translation (in French):
1 An XXX, troisième mois de l'Été, deuxième jour. Le juste scribe du roi qui l'aime 2 Amenhotep, creuseur de canaux, s'est incliné (devant le souverain) à l'issue de la célébration 3 du premier jubilé de Sa Majesté. Il a reçu des ornements en or et en toutes sortes de matières précieuses. 4 Un collier en or pur et en toutes sortes de matières a été passé à son cou. Il s'est assis 5 sur un carreau doré en face de l'estrade 6 (royale). Son corps a été habillé d'étoffe délicate et de lin de première qualité...

In English, that gives us:
1 Year XXX, third month of summer, second day. The just scribe of the king who loves him 2 Amenhotep, canal digger, bowed (in front of the sovereign) at the end of the celebration 3 of the first jubilee of His Majesty. He received ornaments in gold and all kind of precious material. 4 A necklace of pure gold and all kind of material was put around his neck. He sat 5 on a golden square in front of the (royal) platform 6. His body was dressed with delicate fabric and first quality linen...

Now let us compare the last part of this translation with the Bible in the book of Genesis chapter 41 verse 42:
"And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck" (Bible Gateway, King James Version).

Amenhotep son of Hapu: "A necklace of pure gold and all kind of material was put around his neck"
Genesis ch. 41 v. 42: "and put a gold chain about his neck"
Amenhotep son of Hapu: "His body was dressed with delicate fabric and first quality linen..."
Genesis ch. 41 v. 42: "and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen"

 

Book of the Heavenly Cow: "I am who I am" (Tomb of Seti I)
Exodus 3:14: "I am who I am"

Eugène Lefébure published hieroglyphic transcripts from the Tomb of Seti I (KV17) with the collaboration of Urbain Bouriant, Victor Loret and Édouard Naville in a publication by the French Archaeological Mission in Cairo 1882-1884, Second Volume, The Royal Hypogeum of Thebes (Mission Archéologique Française au Caire 1882-1884, Tome Second, Les Hypogées Royaux de Thèbes) under the Ministry (Department) of Public Instruction and Fine Arts (Ministère de l'Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts). This report is hosted on the website of the French national library (Bibliothèque nationale de France): https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5110719
A download link is also provided in the menu located on the right hand side, you can click on the "download" icon:

On page 140 of the PDF, we have plate 16 (PL. XVI). On the culumn 49 (the numbering is at the bottom) the text of interest begins from the 8th glyph starting from the top, which is the reed leaf (Gardiner reference M17) followed by the quail chick (Gardiner reference G43), then a seated man (Gardiner reference A1) and right after we have another reed leaf, an owl (Gardiner reference G17) then a seated man.

The phonetic value for the reed leaf is the sound "ee" transliterated with the letter "i" or "j".
The phonetic value for the quail chick is the sound "oo" transliterated with the letter "w".
The phonetic value for the owl is the sound "m" transliterated with the letter "m".
The transliteration of the passage is therefore: iw.i im.i.
The combination "iw.i" means "I am", the seated man serves as the 1st singular person suffix pronoun:

"Egyptian Grammar" by Alan Gardiner page 247


"Hieroglyphic Egyptian" by Claude Obsomer, page 151

"Middle Egyptian" by James P. Allen, page 281

"Egyptian Grammar" by Alan Gardiner, page 550

The combination "im" can have several meaning, Faulkner gives us the following definition:
"there", "therein", "therewith", "therefrom". Gardiner has similar vocabulary:

"A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian" by Raymond O. Faulkner, page 17

"Egyptian Grammar" by Alan Gardiner, page 553

But in certain cases, some construction will give "im" different translations, knowing that from one language to another we can not always translate word for word. For instance, James P. Allen translated "bw ntj ntrw jm" as follows: "the place in which the gods are".

"Middle Egyptian" by James P. Allen, page 353

On the next page, James P. Allen translated "bw ntj.f jm" as follows: "the place that he is in",
later on the same page, Allen translated "`t tn ntt wi im.s" as "this room that I am in".

"Middle Egyptian" by James P. Allen, page 354

"Middle Egyptian" by James P. Allen, page 354

So the text "iw.i im.i" from the tomb of Seti I was translated as "I am who I am" by the Egyptologist Edward F. Wente on page 294 of the book "The Literature of Ancient Egypt An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry" edited by William Kelley Simpson with translations by Robert K. Ritner, Vincent A. Tobin, Edward F. Wente, Jr. (2003, Yale University Press).


Hieroglyphic transcript of "iw.i im.i" in the tomb of Seti I (see references above)

"iw.i im.i" translated as "I am who I am" by Edward F. Wente

In the Bible, book of Exodus chapter 3 verse 14 (Moses and the Burning Bush), it says:
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Bible Gateway, New International Version).
A footnote after "I am who I am" informs us: "Or I will be what I will be".

Once we click on Exodus 3:14 in all English translations,
we have the translation "I am who I am" 38 times,
we have the translation "I am that I am" 11 times.





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