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Ancient Egyptian texts: The Loyalist Instruction from the Sehetepibre Stela
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The Sehetepibre Stela: The Loyalist Instructions

Behdety, Lord of the Heavens
Behdety, Lord of the Heavens
Khentamenti, lord of Abydos, may he confer all life, stability and power.
Horus, great of
ba-powers, the perfect god, the lord of the two lands, the lord who performs the rituals, Ni-maat-re, may he live forever.
- -Ni-maat-re: Amenemhet III
The hereditary prince, count, wearer of the royal seal, sole companion in love, magnate of the king of Upper Egypt, great one of the King of Lower Egypt, prince at the head of the people, overseer of horn, hoof and feather, [overseer] of the two pleasure-marshes, whose coming is heeded by the court, to whom the bodies tell their affairs, whose excellence the Lord of the Two Lands sees, whom he hath exalted before the two regions, possessed of silver and gold, mighty in costly stones, a man of truth before the Two Lands, a truthful witness like Thoth, master of secret things in the temples, chief of all works of the king's-house, more accurate than the weight, the likeness of the balances, taking thought, excellent in counsel, speaking that which is good, repeating that which is loved, taking thought, without his like, good at listening, excellent in speaking, a prince who looses the knot, whom his lord exalts before millions, real image of love, free from acting deceit, favorite of the heart of the king, to whom is assigned (the office of) "Pillar of the South" in the king's-house, who follows his lord at his goings, entering into his heart before the court; belonging behind his lord, being the favorite of the Horus, excellent in the palace; real favorite of his lord; to whom secret matters are told, who finds the word of counsel, sweetening misfortune, doing things by good rule, the wearer of the royal seal, overseer of royal property, deputy of the chief treasurer, Sehetepibre; he saith: ........ -Sehetepibre was active under Senusret III
-overseer of horn, hoof and feather: overseer over the live-stock of the royal estate. At times, the post included fisheries as well: Kheti, serving under Mentuhotep II (c.2040-2010), was overseer of horn, hoof, scale, and feather (mr ab wHmw nSmt Sw) [4]
-master of secret things in the temples: according to Breasted this was just an administrative position being in charge of treasures hidden away in secret chambers and had nothing to do with esoteric knowledge.
-more accurate than the weight, the likeness of the balances: Weighing and justice have been connected in the human mind probably ever since weighing was invented. The Egyptian gods decided upon the fate of a deceased person by weighing his heart. Whatever its justness in the next world, the accuracy of the weighing procedure in real life left much to be desired.
-........ A mortuary prayer not translated by Breasted.
Now, I made this excellent tomb, and beautified its place. I gave contracts for the remuneration of the prophets of Abydos. I acted as "Son-Whom-He-Loves" in the conduct pf the house of gold, in the secrets of the lord of Abydos. I conducted the work on the sacred barge, I fashioned its colors, I acted as Hakro (hAkrA [4]) of his Lord (at) every procession of Upwawet, making for him all the festal offerings, which the prophet read. I clothed the god at his procession by virtue of my office as master of secret things, and by my duty as [/// ///]. I was one whose two hands wer [///] in adorning the god, a (sm-)priest with pure fingers. May I be a follower of the god, in order that I may be glorious and mighty at the stairway of the lord of Abydos.
The beginning of the teaching which he composed before his children.

J.H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part One, § 745ff.

 
-procession of Upwawet: There were occasions when the statues of the gods (identified in the minds of the Egyptians with the gods themselves) were specially dressed and decorated, and paraded through the town.
    I have something important to say; I shall have you hear it, and I shall let you know it: the design for eternity, a way of life as it should be and of passing a lifetime at peace.
    Adore the king, Nimaatre, living forever, in your innermost parts. Place His Majesty in friendly fashion in your thoughts. He is perception, which is in (all) hearts, and his eyes piece through every being.
    He is Re, by whose rays one sees, for he is one who illumines the Two Lands more than the sun disk. He is one who makes (the land) green, even more than a high inundation: he has filled the Two Lands with victory and life. Nostrils are cool when he starts to rage, but when he sets in peace, one can breathe the air (again). He gives nourishment to those in his circle, and he feeds the one who sticks to his path.
    The king is Ka. His utterance is Abundance. The one whom he brought up is one who will be somebody.
    His is Khnum for all limbs, the Begetter of the begotten.
    He is Bastet, who protects the Two Lands. The one who praises him will be protected by his arm.
    He is Sakhmet, against those who disobey his orders, and the one with whom he disagrees will be laden with sorrow.
    Fight on behalf of his name: be obeisant to his life. Be free and clear of any instance of negligence. The one whom the king loves shall be a well provided spirit; there is no tomb for anyone who rebels against His Majesty, and his corpse shall be cast to the waters. Do this, and your body will flourish, and you will find it (excellent) for eternity.
-Nimaatre: Amenemhet III (c. 1841-1796 BCE)
-The king was dual in nature: divine as the heir of Osiris and Horus, ruler over Egypt, and human as a man and - albeit first - servant of the gods and defender of Maat. These two natures can be most clearly seen in a stela depicting the divine son of Horus, represented by the king's ka, the statue "Ramses II, Monthu in both lands", being adored by the human king Ramses II [1].
 
  To the ordinary mortal the king was divine. If he was touched, even by accident, death would befall the trespasser unless the king used his own powers to avert this fate.
  As a god the king was owed absolute obedience. Those wo transgressed against him had to fear eternal death. Those who were loyal to him could expect to be rewarded with eternal life.
  To make sure of their salvation the king's servants covered the walls of their tombs with descriptions of how they had served their master faithfully and how he had been satisfied with them, sometimes nullifying their own achievements completely and attributing all their successes to the king
 [2].

W. K. Simpson, ed., The Literature of Ancient Egypt
Source of this text: [3]

 


[4] A few words about the transliteration and pronunciation of ancient Egyptian.

- -Index of Texts
-[2] An ideal autobiography
 
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Offsite links   (Opening in a new window)
These are just suggestions for further reading. I do not assume any responsibility for the content of these sites
 
-[1] Zwei neue Denkmäler des Königskults in der ramessidischen Militärkolonie Horbeit by Torgny Säve-Söderbergh
-[3] The Loyalist Instruction from the Sehetepibre Stela
-Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Religion, Lecture notes (Ogden Goelet )
 

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© June 2003
Update: May 2005

 

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