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Ancient Egyptian texts: The Instruction of Merikare
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The Instruction of Merikare

    [Here begins the teaching which King /// made] for his son Merikare [///].
    As for [///] his kinsfolk [///] the citizens [///] him, and his partisans are many in sum [///] enter [///] he is pleasing in the sight of his serfs, being firmly established in [///].
    A talker is a mischief-maker, suppress him, kill [him], erase his name, [destroy] his kinsfolk, suppress the remembrance of him and his partisans who love him.
    A violent man is a confuser of the citizens who always makes partisans of the younger generation. If now you find someone belonging to the citizenry [///] and his deeds have passed beyond you, accuse him before the entourage and suppress [him], for he is a rebel indeed; a talker is a mischief-maker. Bend the multitude and drive out hot temper from it; [///] will not rise [in] rebellion by means of the poor man when he is made to rebel.
-   The Teachings have been attributed to a Herakleopolitan FIP king, Kheti III (Wahkare Akhtoy III). The Leningrad Papyrus, which is translated here, was written by a scribe called Khamwese during the Middle Kingdom.
-Merikare: c. 2100 BCE, possibly the son of Wahkare Akhtoy III (Kheti III)
Headless pyramid
The Headless Pyramid at Saqqara
Attributed by J.Malek to Merikare, while others date it to the Old Kingdom.
Picture source [1]
-confuser: Lichtheim [2]: inciter
-you find someone ... the entourage: Lichtheim: If you find that citizens adhere to him, ------ Denounce him before the councillors
-bend: Lichtheim: curb
    [The mind] of the underling is confused; the army [///]; put an end to it by mixing [///]. Many are angry, for men are put in the labour establishment.
    Be lenient [///] when you oppose; when you fatten [herds, the people] are in joy. Justify yourself in the presence of God; then men will say [///] you [plan]. You shall contend against wrong [///] a good disposition is a man's heaven, but vilification by the ill-disposed man is dangerous.
    Be skillful in speech, that you may be strong; [///] it is the strength of [///] the tongue, and words are braver than all fighting; none can circumvent the clever man [///] on the mat; a wise man is a [school] for the magnates, and those who are aware of his knowledge do not attack him. [Falsehood] does not exist near him, but truth comes to him in full essence, after the manner of what the ancestors said.
-Justify yourself ... man is dangerous.: Lichtheim: May you be justified before the god, that a man may say [even in] your [absence] that you punish in accordance [with the crime]. Good nature is a man's heaven, the cursing of the [furious] is painful.
-be strong: Lichtheim: win
-braver: Lichtheim: stronger
-circumvent: Lichtheim: overcome
-magnates: sr.w high officials. Lichtheim: nobles
-[falsehood]: Lichtheim: crime
-truth: maA.t, Maat, also meaning justice, the right, divine order of things.
    Copy your forefathers, for [work] is carried out through knowledge; see, their words endure in writing. Open, that you may read and copy knowledge; (even) the expert will become one who is instructed.
    Do not be evil, for patience is good; make your lasting monument in the love of you. Multiply [the people] whom the city has enfolded; then will God be praised because of rewards; men will watch over your [///] and give thanks for your goodness, and your health will be prayed for [///].
-Copy your forefathers, for [work] is carried out through knowledge: In the absence of formal schooling the direct transmission of knowledge from father to son was crucial.
-patience: Lichtheim: kindness
-Multiply [the people] whom the city has enfolded: Lichtheim: Increase the [people], befriend the town
    Respect the great; keep your people safe; consolidate your frontier and your patrolled area, for it is good to work for the future. Show respect [///] life for the clear-sighted, but the trusting man will suffer pain. Let men be sent [///] through your kindly disposition. Wretched is he who has bound the land to himself [///], a fool is he who is greedy when others possess. [Life] on earth passes away, it is not long; he is fortunate who [has a good] remembrance in it. No man goes straight forward, (even though) a million belong to the Lord of the Two Lands. [///] shall live forever; he who comes from the hand of Osiris shall depart, just as he who is self-indulgent shall be lost.
-Respect the great: in a conservative society like ancient Egypt preserving the social fabric with all its inequalities was part of upholding Maat.
-keep your people safe: Lichtheim: sustain your people. Whatever the exact meaning of this sentence, privilege went hand in hand with obligations to ones social inferiors.
-your patrolled area: Lichtheim: strengthen ... your frontier patrols.
-will suffer pain: Lichtheim: fails
-Let men be sent [///]: Lichtheim: Make people come to you
-has bound the land to himself [///]: Lichtheim: desires the land [of his neighbor
-is greedy when: Lichtheim: covets what
-[has a good] remembrance in it: Lichtheim: is remembered
-No man goes straight forward, (even though) a million belong to the Lord: Lichtheim: A million men do riot avail the Lord . Dils [3]: Millionen von Menschen können dem Herrn der beiden Länder nicht gerecht werden (?)
-shall be lost: Lichtheim: leaves
    Make your magnates great, that they may execute your laws; one who is rich in his house will not be one-sided, for he who does not lack is an owner of property; a poor man does not speak truly, and one who says, "Would that I had," is not straightforward; he is one-sided toward the possessor of rewards. Great is the great one whose great ones are great; valiant is a king who owns an entourage; and august is he who is rich in magnates. Speak truth in your house, so that the magnates who are on earth may respect you, for a sovereign's renown (lies in) straightforwardness; it is the front room of a house that inspires the back room with respect.
-Make your magnates great: Lichtheim: Advance your officials. The prevention of corruption was of concern to many pharaohs, cf. Horemheb's edict, but often it pervaded all levels of society (cf. The petition by Pediese)
-execute your laws: There was no separation of powers, as we would define it. The executive and the judicial branch of government were essentially the same. cf Law and Order
-straightforward: Lichtheim: righteous
-owns an entourage: Snw.t, court. Lichtheim: has councillors
-who are on earth: Lichtheim: of the land
-it is the front room of a house that inspires the back room with respect: the publicly accessible rooms of a house were dominated by the master of the domain, dependants lived towards the back of the house, but see the ground plan of a mansion at Kahun and Petrie's interpretation.
    Do justice, that you may live long upon earth. Calm the weeper, do not oppress the widow, do not oust a man from his father's property, do not degrade magnates from their seats. Beware of punishing wrongfully; do not kill, for it will not profit you, but punish with beatings and with imprisonment, for thus the land will be set in order, excepting only the rebel who has conspired, for God knows those who are disaffected, and God will smite down his evil doing with blood. It is the lenient man who [///] lifetime; so do not kill a man of whose ability you are aware, and with whom you once recited writings, but read in the account [///] because of God, and stride forward freely in a difficult place. The soul comes to the place which it knows, and it will not overstep the ways of the past; no magic can oppose it, and it will reach those who will give it water.
-live long upon earth: and in the next world. Being free of sin was essential for the survival of the "soul", cf. The negative confessions
-his father's property: It was part of the proper ways of the world, of Maat, that a man should follow in his father's footsteps, inheriting his social position, profession and property.
-degrade magnates from their seats: Lichtheim: reduce the nobles in their possessions
-do not kill: Death sentences were generally imposed only for murder and crimes against the state (cf. Law and Order).
-with beatings: physical punishment and coercion, from beatings to mutilation was often applied.
-with imprisonment: m zA.w[tj (?)] lit. with a guardian. Lichtheim: with detention. It is generally thought today that imprisonment as a punishment was not the norm.
-who has conspired: Lichtheim: whose plans are found out
-but read ... a difficult place: Lichtheim: Who was brought up . . . --- before god, who strode freely in the secret place.
-it will reach those who will give it water: Libations were of crucial importance to the deceased.
    As for the tribunal which judges the needy, you know that they will not be lenient on that day of judging the poor; in the hour of exercising (their) function, wretched is he who is accused as a wise man. Do not put your trust in length of years, for they regard a lifetime as an hour; a man survives after death, and his deeds are laid before him in a heap. Existence yonder is eternal, and he who complains of it is a fool, but as for him who attains it, he will be like a god yonder, striding forward like the lords of eternity. -tribunal: DADA.t In ancient Egypt, cases, when they were not simple administrative matters, were often heard by tribunals (kenbet) rather than by single judges.
The gods too were thought to convene as tribunals (cf. the Ennead in the Contendings of Horus and Seth)
-poor: Lichtheim: miserable
-wretched is he who is accused as a wise man: Lichtheim: It is painful when the accuser has knowledge
-regard a lifetime as an hour: Lichtheim: They view a lifetime in an hour!
-he who complains of it is a fool: Lichtheim: A fool is who does what they reprove!
    Raise up your young troops, that the Residence may love you. Multiply your partisans as neighbours; see, your towns are full of newly settled folk. It is for twenty years that the rising generation is happy in following its desire, and neighbours come forth again; he who is caused to enter goes in for himself by means of children [///]. Ancient times have fought for us, and I raised (troops) from them at my accession.
    Make your magnates great, promote your [warriors], increase the rising generation of your retainers, they being equipped with knowledge, established with lands, and endowed with cattle. Do not distinguish the son of a man of rank from a commoner, but take a man to yourself because of his actions, so that every craft may be carried on [///] for the possessor of strength.
-Multiply your partisans as neighbours: Lichtheim: Increase your subjects with recruits (?)
-It is for twenty years ... its desire: Lichtheim: Twenty years the youths indulge their wishes
-neighbours: Lichtheim: recruits (?)
-he who is caused ... means of children. Ancient times have fought for us Lichtheim: ... Veterans return to their children . Lichtheim describes this as One obscure sentence.
-increase: Lichtheim: enrich
-they being equipped ... with cattle: Lichtheim: Provide with goods, endow with fields, reward them with herds
-Do not distinguish the son of a man of rank from a commoner: Lichtheim: Do not prefer... Pharaohs would be surrounded mostly by people belonging to the same social class, i.e. noblemen, and the temptation to appoint those one is familiar with is great, above all when they have political influence. Some servants frequently in the presence of the king, like butlers and sandal-bearers, had at times extraordinarily successful careers (cf. The autobiography of Weni)
    Guard your frontier, marshal your fortresses, for troops are profitable to their master.
    Construct [fine] monuments to God, for it means the perpetuation of the name of whoever does it, and a man should do what is profitable to his soul, (namely) monthly service as priest and the wearing of white sandals. Enrich the temple, be discreet concerning the mysteries, enter into the sanctuary, eat bread in the temple, richly provide the altars, increase the revenues, add to the daily offerings, for it is a profitable matter for whoever does it; maintain your monuments in proportion to your wealth, for a single day gives to eternity, an hour does good for the future, and God is aware of him who serves him. Dispatch your statues to a distant land of which they shall not render an inventory, for he who destroys the goods of an enemy will suffer.
    The enemy cannot be quiet (even) within Egypt
, but troops shall subdue troops, in accordance with the prophecy of the ancestors about it, and men fight against Egypt (even) in the necropolis.
-profitable: Lichtheim: useful
-it means the perpetuation of the name: and thus immortality (cf. Body and Soul)
-Enrich the temple: By the time of the Ramessides, the temples had grown so wealthy and powerful that they could no more be challenged (cf. The Priests of Amen and the Theban Kings). Lichtheim has here: Visit the temple
-be discreet concerning: Lichtheim: Observe (?). Dils: Unveil what is hidden (?).
-revenues: Lichtheim: loaves. 'Loaves of bread' was often synonymous with income. Workers were given a certain number of loaves a day as wages.
-maintain: Lichtheim: Endow
-Dispatch ... within Egypt: Lichtheim did not translate this passage, considering it to obscure.
    Do not destroy ancient buildings with a destruction through action; I acted thus and so it happened, just as he who had transgressed likewise did against God.
    Do not deal ill with the Southern Region, for you know the prophecy of the Residence about it, and it has happened [even as] this shall happen; they shall not transgress as they said [///]. I turned back [to] Thinis [///] its southern boundary at Tawer, and I captured it like a cloudburst, though King Mer-[///]re did not do it. Be lenient about it ///. [///] renew contracts. There is no pure reason who is caused to be hidden, and it is good to act on behalf of posterity.
    You stand well with the Southern Region, for the bearers of loads come to you with produce; I did the same as the ancestors, and there was none who had corn who gave it. Be kindly to those who are weak toward you, and satisfy yourself with your own bread and beer.
-Do not destroy ... through action: according to Lichtheim this is part of the previous sentence: Destroying tombs in vengeful destruction
-Residence: Memphis
-Tawer: Lichtheim: Taut
-cloudburst: lit. a cloud of water. Lichtheim: flood
-Mer-[///]re: Lichtheim: Meriyebre
-There is no pure reason who is caused to: Lichtheim: No river lets itself . Dils speaks of wab.t waters.
-with produce: Lichtheim: with tribute, with gifts. The Egyptian jn.w seems to correspond to all these interpretations.
-there was none who had corn who gave it. Be kindly to those who are weak toward you: Lichtheim: If one has no grain to give, be kind, since they are humble before you
    Granite comes to you without hindrance, so do not destroy someone else's monuments. Hew stone in Tura, but do not build your tomb of what has been thrown down, (or of) what has been made for what is to be made.
    See, the king is a possessor of joy; you can be drowsy and you can sleep through your strength of arm; follow your desire through what I have done, for there is no enemy within your frontier.
-do not destroy someone else's monuments: an injunction ignored by most pharaohs. Ramses II, the most prolific builder, was also a ruthless destroyer of old buildings.
-Tura: limestone quarry about 15 km from Giza on the eastern bank of the Nile.
-possessor of joy: Lichtheim: Lord of joy
    I rose as ruler in my city, but I was anxious about the Delta from Het-shenu to Sembaka, its southern boundary being at the Canal of the Two Fishes. I pacified the west as far as the sand dunes of the Fayum; it labors and yields meru-wood; men see wan-wood (once again) and yield it to us. But the east is rich in foreigners, and their taxes are [withheld]; the Middle Island is turned about, (and also) everyone in it. (yet) the temples say of me: O Great One, men salute you.
    See, [the land] which they destroyed is made into districts and every great city [is restored]. The governance of (each) one is in the hands of ten men, a magistrate is appointed who will levy [///] the amount of all taxes. The priest is provided with a farm, and men work for you like a single gang.
    How is it that disaffection does not occur? (Because) you will not suffer from a Nile which fails to come, and the revenues of the Delta are in your hand. See, the mooring post which I have made in the east is driven in from the limits of Hebnu to Road-of-Horus, settled with towns and full of people of the pick of the entire land, to repel enemies from them. May I see a brave man who will imitate it and who will do more than I have done [///] by the hand of a cowardly heir.
-Canal of the Two Fishes: According to Lichtheim it appears to be the name for the Nile branch in the nome of Letopolis, i.e. i the southernmost part of the Canopic branch.
-as far as the sand dunes of the Fayum: Lichtheim: as far as the coast of the sea
-meru-wood /// wan-wood: According to Lichtheim cedar and juniper
-foreigners: Lichtheim: bowmen -O Great One, men salute you: Lichtheim: you are greater than I
-The governance of (each) one is in the hands of ten men: Apparently, at this time cities were governed by councils.
-The priest is provided with a farm and men work for you like a single gang: Lichtheim: When free men are given land they work for you like a single team.
-Hebnu: There was a town by this name in Middle Egypt, but this site seems to have been located in the eastern Delta.
-Road-of-Horus: alt. Horus Road, Ways of Horus, Way of Horus (Old Kingdom), a region in the eastern Delta with fortifications and a road connecting Egypt with southern Canaan through the northern Sinai desert.
-settled with towns and full of people: Fortified border towns like Sile protected the Delta from Asiatic incursions
-do more than: Lichtheim: add to what
    Speak thus concerning the barbarian: As for the wretched Asiatic, unpleasant is the place where he is (with) trouble from water, difficulty from many trees, and the roads thereof awkward by reason of mountains. He does not dwell in one place, being driven hither and yon through want, going about [the desert] on foot. He has been fighting since the time of Horus; he never conquers, yet he is not conquered, and he does not announce a day of fighting, like a thief whom a community has driven out. -trouble from water, difficulty from many trees: Lichtheim: Short of water, bare of wood
-He does not dwell in one place: Many of the inhabitants of Canaan were still semi-nomadic at the turn of the second millennium BCE and migrated to Egypt in times of severe drought. The Egyptians had a very low opinion of foreigners.
-he does not announce a day of fighting: in ancient times time and location of battles were often agreed upon. Surprise attacks were considered bad form.
-whom a community has driven out: Lichtheim: who darts about a group
    But I lived, and while I existed the barbarians were as though in the walls of a fortress; [my troops] broke open [///]. I caused the Delta to smite them, I carried off their people, I took away their cattle, until the detestation of the Asiatics was against Egypt. Do not worry about him, for the Asiatic is a crocodile on his riverbank; he snatches a lonely serf, but he will never rob in the vicinity of a populous town.
    Dig a moat against [///] and flood the half of it at the Bitter Lakes, for see, it is the navel-string of the desert dwellers; its walls and its soldiers are many and the partisans in it know how to take up arms, apart from the freemen of the camp; the region of Djed-esut totals ten thousand men consisting of free untaxed commoners, and magnates have been in it since the time of the Residence. <its> boundary is established, its garrison is brave, and many northerners irrigate it to the limits of the Delta, they being taxed in corn like freemen; it is/// the face of him who made it, and see, it is the door of the Delta. They made a moat for Ninsu, for a populous city is/// Beware of being surrounded by the partisans of an enemy; watchfulness is what renews years.
-But I lived, and while I existed: Lichtheim: But as I live and shall be what I am
-I carried off their people: the enslavement of defeated foreigners began during the Old Kingdom mostly in Nubia, though Pepi I campaigned in Canaan.
-the detestation of the Asiatics was against Egypt: Lichtheim: Until the Asiatics abhorred Egypt.
-he snatches a lonely serf: This may have been true prior to the take over of Lower Egypt by the Hyksos. Lichtheim has It snatches from a lonely road
-Dig a moat against [///]: Lichtheim: Medenyt has been restored to its nome. Medenyt was on the eastern border of the Delta.
-flood the half of it at the Bitter Lakes, for see, it is the navel-string of the desert dwellers: Lichtheim: Its one side is irrigated as far as Kem-wer, It is the [defense] against the Bowmen.
-the partisans: Lichtheim: the serfs
-Djed-esut: Memphis
-untaxed commoners: they apparently served in the military in lieu of paying taxes
-Ninsu: Heracleopolis
-a populous city is ///: Lichtheim: Abundant citizens are the heart's support
    When your frontier to the Southern Region is troubled, it is the barbarians who have taken the belt. Build castles in the Delta, for a man's name will not be diminished by what he has done, and a well-founded city cannot be harmed. Build castles [///], for an enemy loves disturbance, and his actions are mean.
    The late King Akhtoy ordained in a teaching: "Be inactive about the violent man who destroys altars, for God will attack him who rebels against the temples. men will come about it according as he does it; he will be satisfied with what is ordained for him, (namely) a trap for him; no one will use loyalty toward him on that day of coming.
Protect the altars, worship God, and do not say: "It is weakness of mind;" do not let your arms be loose. As for him who makes rebellion against you, it is to destroy the sky. Prosperity means a year of monuments; even if an enemy knows, he will not destroy them, through the desire that what he has done may be embellished by another who comes after. There is not one devoid of an enemy, but the ruler of the Two Banks is a wise man, and a king who possesses an entourage cannot act stupidly. He is wise from birth, and God will distinguish him above millions of men.
-Build castles: The Egyptians protected the southern and eastern approaches to their country with major fortifications only during the Middle Kingdom. cf The subjugation of Nubia
-disturbance, and his actions are mean: Lichtheim: destruction and misery
-Akhtoy: a number of pharaohs belonging to the ninth and tenth dynasties
-Be inactive about the violent man who destroys altars: Lichtheim: He who is silent toward violence diminishes the offerings
-what is ordained for him: Lichtheim: with what he planned to gain
-no one will use loyalty toward him on that day of coming: Lichtheim: He will find no favor on the day of woe
-Protect the altars: Lichtheim: Supply the offerings
-weakness of mind: Lichtheim: trouble
-Prosperity means a year of monuments: Lichtheim: A monument is sound for a hundred years
-if an enemy knows, he will not destroy them: Lichtheim: If the foe understood, he would not attack them
-ruler of the Two Banks: the king of Egypt
-God will distinguish him above millions of men: Lichtheim: From a million men god singled him out
    The kingship is a goodly office; it has no son and it has no brother who shall make its monuments endure, yet it is the one person who ennobles the other; a man works for his predecessor, through the desire that what he has done may be embellished by another who shall come after him. A mean act was committed in my reign; the territory of Thinis was devastated. It indeed happened, but not through what I had done; I knew of it only after it was done. See, the consequences exceeded what I had done, for what is damaged is spoiled, and there is no benefit for him who restores what he (himself) has ruined, who demolishes what he has built and embellished what he has defaced; beware of it! A blow is repaid by the like of it, and all that is achieved is a hitting. -yet it is the one person who ennobles the other: Lichtheim: But one man provides for the other;
-a man works for his predecessor: among commoners it was generally the eldest son who provided his deceased father with the necessities for the after-life. Among kings successors took over this function instead of a bodily son.
-what I had done: the king had a personal responsibility for the actions of his troops.
-A blow is repaid by the like of it: the Egyptian version of 'an eye for an eye'
-all that is achieved is a hitting: Lichtheim: To every action there is a response
    One generation of men passes to another, and God, who knows character, has hidden Himself. There is none who will oppose the possessor of a hand, and he is an attacker of what the eyes see, so worship God upon his way. Things are made of costly stone and fashioned in copper; the mud flat is replaced with water; there is no stream that can be made to hide, for it means that the dike in which it hid itself is destroyed. The soul goes to the place it knows and does not stray on yesterday's road. Beautify your mansion in the West, embellish your place in the necropolis with straightforwardness and just dealing, for it is on that which their hearts rely; more acceptable is the character of the straightforward man than the ox of the wrongdoer. -the possessor of a hand Lichtheim: the lord of the hand who was The sun-god in his aspect as creator. In the Heliopolitan mythology Atem created Shu and Tefnut by masturbation. His hand represents the female aspect of this essentially male god. Atem and his hand are represented on a number of coffins dating to the First Intermediate Period.
-he is an attacker of the eyes see: Lichtheim: He reaches all that the eyes can see. Dils: What is seen by both eyes (of a man) are those who are attacked.
-made of costly stone and fashioned in copper: Lichtheim: Apparently a reference to the cult statues of the gods carried in procession during festivals
-the mud flat is replaced with water: Lichtheim: As watercourse is replaced by watercourse. Dils: As one wave is replaced by another wave.
-character: Lichtheim: loaf. Dils loaf of bread (or behaviour)
    Serve God, that he may do the like for you, with offerings for replenishing the altars and with carving; it is that which will show forth your name, and God is aware of whoever serves Him. Provide for men, the cattle of God, for He made heaven and earth at their desire. He suppressed the greed of the waters, He gave the breath of life to their noses, for they are likenesses of Him which issued from His flesh. He shines in the sky for the benefit of their hearts; He has made herbs, cattle, and fish to nourish them. He has killed His enemies and destroyed His own children, because they had planned to make rebellion; He makes daylight for the benefit of their hearts, and he sails around in order to see them. He has raised up a shrine behind them, and when they weep, He hears. He has made them rulers even from the egg, a lifter to lift (the load) from the back of the weak man. He has made for them magic to be weapons to ward off what may happen. Be watchful over it by night as by day. How has He killed the disaffected! Even as a man strikes his son for his brother's sake, for God knows every name. -God: the creator and sun god Re
-name: on the significance of names see Body and Soul
-at their desire: Lichtheim: for their sake
-waters: Lichtheim: water monster. The world emerged from the primordial waters of chaos and will be swallowed by these waters again at the end of time. Divine and human existence is an ultimately doomed struggle between order and chaos, but, unlike in the Germanic mythology where the world ends in a titanic struggle, the Egyptians who envisaged a distant ending in a whimper rather than a bang, did not stress this aspect of their world view.
-and fish: Lichtheim, Dils: fowl and fish
-destroyed His own children: According to a myth Re sent Hathor to destroy mankind, but regretted his decision and prevented her from fulfilling his original bidding.
-he sails around: Egyptian life was dominated by the Nile, the sun god therefore travelled in a barque. The Greeks, who travelled around in their own country mostly by land, imagined their sun god Apollo driving a chariot.
-from the egg: from birth
-when they weep, He hears: Egyptian religion was not centred on the direct contact between the gods and men. Yet a number of deities had shrines where the uninitiated could appeal to them directly. (cf. The Religion of the People)
-magic: cf. Heka: The magic of ancient Egypt.
    Do not be distressed (at) my utterance even when it gives laws concerning the king. Instruct yourself, that you may rise up as a man; then you will attain to my repute without anyone who accuses you.
    Do not kill anyone who approaches you, but favour him, for God knows him. He who flourishes on earth is one of them, and they who serve the king are gods. Instill the love of you into all the world, for a good character is what is remembered /// is perished, and it is said of you: "He who will destroy the time of suffering by those who are at the back in the House of Akhtoy, in praying for him who will come today".
    See, I have told you the best of my inmost thoughts, which you should set steadfastly before your face.
-Do not be distressed: Lichtheim: Do not neglect. Dils: Du sollst nichts Kümmerliches unternehmen
-Instruct yourself... who accuses you: Lichtheim: Which instructs you, that you may rule the land, and may you reach me with none to accuse you! Dils: which instructs you that you may emerge as a man. Then you may reach me (in the beyond) without there being an accuser against you.
-who approaches you, but favour him: Lichtheim: who is close to you whom you have favored
-He who will destroy the time of suffering by those who are at the back in the House of Akhtoy, in praying for him who will come today: Lichtheim: he who ended the time of trouble, by those who come after in the House of Kheti, in thinking of what has come today
-which you should set steadfastly before your face: Lichtheim: Act by what is set before you!
Translation by R. O. Faulkner
William Kelly Simpson (ed.), The Literature of Ancient Egypt, New Haven and London, 1973, pp. 180-192


[2] M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.1, pp.99ff
[3] P. Dils ed., Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae web site, Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Leipzig => 3. Weisheitslehren => Die Lehre für Merikare => pPetersburg 1116 A, Verso

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-[1] The Necropolis of Deir el-Medina on the West Bank at Luxor

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August 2003
Update: February 2007