Ancient Egyptian Scriptural Wisdom & Precepts of Ptah-Hotep, the Wise.
Ptah-Hotep (a.k.a. Ptahhotep) was a man of great wisdom and calm understanding, a high officer-official to King Izezi (2380-2342 BCE) of Dynasty five, and the author of the oldest morally instructive text to survive complete from Ancient Egypt (Kemet), thus in the world. The precepts of Ptah-Hotep represents the beginning of the arrangement of the good sayings spoken by the noble Lord, the divine father, the beloved of Ptah, and the son of the King to the first-born of Ptah-Hotep, to instruct the ignorant in the knowledge of the arguments of good sayings. The scriptural wisdom herein are organized based on the idea that it is profitable for the person who hears them, and a loss to those that transgress them.
1. Be not arrogant because of what you know, and deal with the ignorant as with the learned….good words are more difficult to find than an emerald….If you as a leader decide on the conduct of a great number of people, seek the most perfect manner of making your decisions so that your conduct may be without blame or fault.
2. Justice is great, invariable, and assured….To throw obstacles in the way of the law is to open the way for violence. The limitations of justice are invariable… provide sustenance for those in the lap of peace….one who perverts trustfulness in order to repeat only what produce pleasure in the words of every person, great or small, is detestable. Do not boast in the house of your neighbors…Be active during the time of your existence, and do no more than is commanded.
3. Do not lose the daily opportunity of increasing the qualities of your house. Activity produces riches, and riches do not endure when it slackens. If you are wise, bring up a son who will be pleasing to Aten-Re. If he conforms his conduct to your way and occupies himself with your affairs, as is right, do to him all the good you can; he is your son, a person attached to you whom your own self has begotten. Give orders without hesitation to those who do wrong….Keep an eye on those who enter announcing a secret….Declare your line of conduct without hesitation.
4. If you are a leader setting forward your plans … perform perfect actions that posterity may remember…If you are a leader of peace, listen to the discourse of the petitioner. The way to obtain a clear explanation is to listen with kindness. If you desire to excite respect within the house you enter…keep yourself from making advances to a woman, for there is nothing good in so doing. If you desire your conduct to be good and preserved from all evil, keep yourself from every attack of bad humor. Be not of an irritable temper in regard to your neighbors; better is a compliment that displeases, than rudeness.
5. If you are wise, look after your house; love your wife without alloy. Fill her stomach, clothe her back; these are the gifts to be bestowed on her person. Caress her, fulfill her desires during the time of her existence; it is a kindness that does honor to its possessor. Be not brutal; tact will influence her better than violence; . . . behold to what she aspires, what she aims, and what she regards. Open your arms for her, respond to her arms; call her, and display to her, your love. If you are wise, sitting in the council of your Lord, direct your thought toward the wise. To speak in the council is an art, and speech is criticized more than any other labor….If you are powerful, respect knowledge and the calmness of language. Command only to direct….
6. Let not your heart be proud and vain to the point of arrogance, nor let it be mean…the gift of affection is worth more than the provisions that cover your back. Let your love pass into the heart of those who love you….If you have become great after having been little …know how not to take advantage of the fact….Do not plunder the house of your neighbors, or seize goods beside you. If you aim at polished manners, call not one whom you accost. Converse with a person, but don’t annoy the person.
7. Enter a discussion only after leaving time to saturate the mind with the subject of conversation. If ignorance displays itself, and gives you all opportunity to disgrace, treat the person with courtesy, and proceed not to drive one into a corner….Let your appearance be cheerful during the time of your existence. Know those who are faithful to you when you are in low estate. The wise is satisfied by knowledge….The son who accepts the instruction of his father will grow old…When a son receives the instruction of his father there is no error in his plans. Train your son to be a teachable man…teach according to the words of the wise. Let your thoughts be abundant. Amen (Imn).
These Ancient Egyptian Scriptural Wisdom was translated and punlished by the Amarna Research and Publication Society, under the authority of Nysut Nebkheperure Yashu’a Akhenaton II, resurrected Living image of Aten, beloved of Neterets Auset and Nefertiti, protected by Sekmet, nursed of HetHeru, the Living Heru that defeats Setekhy, restorer of Ma’at in his time, upright and true to his father Neter Akhenaten, chosen of Re, the Son of the Sun, Living on Truth, great in prosperity, good heath, and wisdom, who is forever Living in Truth. Unto Aten-Re be all power, thanks, homage, wisdom, and glory, Forever, and ever.