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Ancient Egyptian Parallels in the Bible

 

 

Ancient Egyptian Text

 

 

 Biblical Text

 

At the moment of creation, Atum spoke: I alone am the creator.  When I came into being, all life began to develop.  When the almighty speaks, all else comes to life.  There were no heavens and no earth, There was no dry land and there were no reptiles in the land…” – Hymn to Atum, Old Kingdom (2575-2134 BCE)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…” – Genesis 1: 1-2
 

“The ka-souls of all the living were created in the image of Ptah.  All formed in his heart and by his tongue.”  – The Hymn to Ptah, 19th Dynasty (1307 – 1196 BCE)

“So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
 “Having done all these things, Ptah rested and was content with his work.” – The Hymn to Ptah  

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good… By the seventh day God had finished… so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” – Genesis 1:31-2:1

 

“He let me choose my own land from among his holdings within the Land of Yaa. It was a land overflowing with figs and grapes. It had more wine than water, honey and oil in abundance.” – Stories of Sinuhe, (1991 – 1962 BCE)

 “to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” – Exodus 3:8; 13: 5
 

“To: Pharoah, Ruler of the Heavens and Earth

From: Biridiya, Governor of Megiddo”  – El-Amarna Letters, (1391 – 1353 BCE), letters were addressed to Amenophis III and Akenaten by their govenors in Syria-Palestine

 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” – Acts 17: 24
 

“Divine plans are one thing. Human desires are another.” – Teachings of Ankhsheshonq, Egypt (c. 4th century BCE)

 “In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” – Proverbs 16: 9
“One day a strong man from Syria-Palestine pushed his way into my tent and challenged me to a duel. He was a warrior without equal. He had never lost a duel… Every heart embraced me as the underdog… He was armed with a shield, an ax, and a whole armful of javelins. One after another, I dodged his javelins and sidestepped his arrows. I waited finally the strong man rushed me, then I shot him in the neck with an arrow. With a loud cry he fell on his face, mortally wounded. I finished him off with his own ax, and then stood on his back and let out my battle cry while all the people of Syria-Palestine thundered their applause.” – Stories of Sinuhe, (c. 1991 – 1962 BCE)  

“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp…He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze…, on his legs he bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back…Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, [David] slung it and struck the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground… David ran and stood over him.  He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it … After he killed him, he cut off his head with a sword… Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines…” – 1 Samuel 17: 4 – 10, 49 – 52

“You are human, not divine.  Your task is to live life to its fullest.”  

“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” – Ecclesiastes 3: 12

 

 

“Surely, whoever goes to the land of the dead will be wise, will have a hearing before Re the creator.

A Sufferer and a Soul in Egypt, (2050 – 1800 BCE)

 “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” – Matthew 12: 36
 

“I, Khnum, say to Hatshepsut, The divine potter says to the child of Amun-Re: ‘I have created you from the divine patron of Karnak. I have made you a divine child.’” – Annals of Hatshepsut, (1473-1458 BCE)

 “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
 

I will extol your name throughout the land…” – A Farmer and the Courts in Egypt, (2134 – 2040 BCE)

 

I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.” – Psalm 22: 22
 

I am you servant. Do with me what you will.” “I, Amun-Re, promise Ahmose, The divine patron of Thebes says to the queen: ‘I have given you a child, You will name her Hatshepsut… She will reign over the land of Egypt…” – Annals of Hatshepsut

 

 

“The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, ‘You are… going to become pregnant and give birth to a son… the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” – Judges 13: 3 – 5

 

Hatshepsut, like many rulers in the world of the Bible was celebrated as a child of a human mother and a divine father.  

 

“But the angel said to her, … ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God… he will reign over the house of Jacob forever…’”  “I am the Lord’s servant ,” Mary answered. “May it be to me according to your word.” – Luke 1: 31 – 38

“Her breasts are mandrake blossoms. Her arms are vines, Her eyes are shaded like berries. Her head is a trap built from the branches… and I am the goose. Her hair is the bait in the trap… to ensnare me.” – Egyptian Love Song #3, time of Ramses II (1290 – 1224 BCE) “The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my beloved.” – Song of Songs 7: 13

Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses.” – Song of Songs 7: 5

 

Do unto others, As you would have others do unto you.” – A Farmer and the Courts in Egypt, Egypt, (2134-2040 BCE)

 

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” – Matthew 7: 12
Birds fly to their nests, They spread their wings to praise our ka.”  

The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.” – Psalm 104: 12

 

You massage the fetus in its mother’s womb.”  

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139: 13

 

You count out to each the days of life.”- Hymn to the Aten, (1353 – 1335 BCE)  

The days of mortals are determined; you have decreed the number of their months…” – Job 14: 5

“Finally, my students, remember, the wise follow their teachers’ advice, Consequently, their projects do not fail.”  

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, … and applying your hear to understanding… He holds success in store for the upright.” – Proverbs 2: 1 – 2, 7

 

 

Stay away from the women of another’s houseKeep our mind on business, your eyes off pretty faces. Foolish dreamers become causalities of unwise actions.  Succumb to love sickness and lust, and nothing you do will succeed.”

“Teachings of Ptah-Hotep, (2575 – 2134 BCE)

“This teaching is a light…keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.  Do not lust in your heart after her beauty.” – Proverbs 6: 23, 24 – 25
 

Do not go to bed worrying, Wondering: ‘What will tomorrow bring?’ No one knows what tomorrow brings…”  – Teaching 18

 

 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6: 34

 

“Control your temper… Do not let your tongue steer your life.  Your tongue may be the rudder of your boat, But Amen-Re, your divine patron, must be its pilot.” – Teaching 18  

 

“Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large… they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts…no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” – James 3: 4 – 5, 8

 

Do not bear false witness against your neighbor…” – Teaching 19 You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” – Exodus 20: 16
 

 

Fill your soul with these teachings, Put them in your heart.”

Thirty Teachings of Amen-em-ope (3000 – 2000 BCE)

 

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.” – Deuteronomy 6: 6

 

Source:

Matthews, Victor H. and Don C. Benjamin. Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East, Fully Revised and Expanded Third Edition. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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