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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
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.

 

 

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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