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- The Book of the Dead - 3/6 -


by Thoth, who proved to the gods that the charges brought against Osiris by Set were unfounded, that the statements of Set were lies, and that therefore Set was a liar. The gods accepted Thoth's proof of the innocence of Osiris and the guilt of Set, and ordered that Osiris was to be considered a Great God and to have rule over the Kingdom of the Under World, and that Set was to be punished. Thoth convinced them that Osiris was "MAA KHERU," "true of word," i.e., that he had spoken the truth when he gave his evidence, and in texts of all periods Thoth is frequently described as S-MAA KHERU ASAR, i.e., he who proved Osiris to be "true of word." As for Set the Liar, he was seized by the ministers of the Great Gods, who threw him down on his hands and face and made Osiris mount upon his back as a mark of his victory and superiority. After this Set was bound with cords like a beast for sacrifice, and in the presence of Thoth was hacked in pieces.

CHAPTER VI

Osiris as Judge of the Dead and King of the Under World.

When Set was destroyed Osiris departed from this world to the kingdom which the gods had given him and began to reign over the dead. He was absolute king of this realm, just as Ra the Sun-god was absolute king of the sky. This region of the dead, or Dead-land, is called "Tat," or "Tuat," but where the Egyptians thought it was situated is not quite clear. The original home of the cult of Osiris was in the Delta, in a city which in historic times was called Tetu by the Egyptians and Busiris by the Greeks, and it is reasonable to assume that the Tuat, over which Osiris ruled, was situated near this place. Wherever it was it was not underground, and it was not originally in the sky or even on its confines; but it was located on the borders of the visible world, in the Outer Darkness. The Tuat was not a place of happiness, judging from the description of it in the PER-T EM HRU, or Book of the Dead. When Ani the scribe arrived there he said, "What is this to which I have come? There is neither water nor air here, its depth is unfathomable, it is as dark as the darkest night, and men wander about here helplessly. A man cannot live here and be satisfied, and he cannot gratify the cravings of affection" (Chapter CLXXV). In the Tuat there was neither tree nor plant, for it was the "land where nothing grew"; and in primitive times it was a region of destruction and death, a place where the dead rotted and decayed, a place of abomination, and horror and terror, and annihilation. But in very early times, certainly in the Neolithic Period, the Egyptians believed in some kind of a future life, and they dimly conceived that the attainment of that life might possibly depend upon the manner of life which those who hoped to enjoy it led here. The Egyptians "hated death and loved life," and when the belief gained ground among them that Osiris, the God of the Dead, had himself risen from the dead, and had been acquitted by the gods of heaven after a searching trial, and had the power to "make men and women to be born again," and "to renew life" because of his truth and righteousness, they came to regard him as the Judge as well as the God of the Dead. As time went on, and moral and religious ideas developed among the Egyptians, it became certain to them that only those who had satisfied Osiris as to their truth-speaking and honest dealing upon earth could hope for admission into his kingdom.

When the power of Osiris became predominant in the Under World, and his fame as a just and righteous judge became well established among the natives of Lower and Upper Egypt, it was universally believed that after death all men would appear before him in his dread Hall of Judgment to receive their reward or their sentence of doom. The writers of the Pyramid Texts, more than fifty-five centuries ago, dreamed of a time when heaven and earth and men did not exist, when the gods had not yet been born, when death had not been created, and when anger, speech (?), cursing and rebellion were unknown. [5] But that time was very remote, and long before the great fight took place between Horus and Set, when the former lost his eye and the latter was wounded in a vital part of his body. Meanwhile death had come into the world, and since the religion of Osiris gave man a hope of escape from death, and the promise of everlasting life of the peculiar kind that appealed to the great mass of the Egyptian people, the spread of the cult of Osiris and its ultimate triumph over all forms of religion in Egypt were assured. Under the early dynasties the priesthood of Anu (the On of the Bible) strove to make their Sun-god Ra pre-eminent in Egypt, but the cult of this god never appealed to the people as a whole. It was embraced by the Pharaohs, and their high officials, and some of the nobles, and the official priesthood, but the reward which its doctrine offered was not popular with the materialistic Egyptians. A life passed in the Boat of Ra with the gods, being arrayed in light and fed upon light, made no appeal to the ordinary folk since Osiris offered them as a reward a life in the Field of Reeds, and the Field of Offerings of Food, and the Field of the Grasshoppers, and everlasting existence in a transmuted and beautified body among the resurrected bodies of father and mother, wife and children, kinsfolk and friends.

But, as according to the cult of Ra, the wicked, the rebels, and the blasphemers of the Sun-god suffered swift and final punishment, so also all those who had sinned against the stern moral Law of Osiris, and who had failed to satisfy its demands, paid the penalty without delay. The Judgment of Ra was held at sunrise, and the wicked were thrown into deep pits filled with fire, and their bodies, souls, shadows and hearts were consumed forthwith. The Judgment of Osiris took place near Abydos, probably at midnight, and a decree of swift annihilation was passed by him on the damned. Their heads were cut off by the headsman of Osiris, who was called Shesmu, and their bodies dismembered and destroyed in pits of fire. There was no eternal punishment for men, for the wicked were annihilated quickly and completely; but inasmuch as Osiris sat in judgment and doomed the wicked to destruction daily, the infliction of punishment never ceased.

CHAPTER VII

The Judgment of Osiris.

The oldest religious texts suggest that the Egyptians always associated the Last Judgment with the weighing of the heart in a pair of scales, and in the illustrated papyri of the Book of the Dead great prominence is always given to the vignettes in which this weighing is being carried out. The heart, ab, was taken as the symbol of all the emotions, desires, and passions, both good and evil, and out of it proceeded the issues of life. It was intimately connected with the ka, i.e., the double or personality of a man, and several short spells in the Book PER-T EM HRU were composed to ensure its preservation (Chapters XXVI-XXXB*). The great Chapter of the Judgment of Osiris, the CXXVth, is divided into three parts, which are sometimes (as in the Papyrus of Ani) prefaced by a Hymn to Osiris. The first part contains the following, which was said by the deceased when he entered the Hall of Maati, in which Osiris sat in judgment:

"Homage to thee, O Great God, Lord of Maati, [6] I have come to thee, O my Lord, that I may behold thy beneficence. I know thee, and I know thy name, and the names of the Forty-Two who live with thee in the Hall of Maati, who keep ward over sinners, and feed upon their blood on the day of estimating characters before Un-Nefer [7] ... Behold, I have come to thee, and I have brought maat (i.e., truth, integrity) to thee. I have destroyed sin for thee. I have not sinned against men. I have not oppressed [my] kinsfolk. I have done no wrong in the place of truth. I have not known worthless folk. I have not wrought evil. I have not defrauded the oppressed one of his goods. I have not done the things that the gods abominate. I have not vilified a servant to his master. I have not caused pain. I have not let any man hunger. I have made no one to weep. I have not committed murder. I have not commanded any to commit murder for me. I have inflicted pain on no man. I have not defrauded the temples of their oblations. I have not purloined the cakes of the gods. I have not stolen the offerings to the spirits (i.e., the dead). I have not committed fornication. I have not polluted myself in the holy places of the god of my city. I have not diminished from the bushel. I did not take from or add to the acre-measure. I did not encroach on the fields [of others]. I have not added to the weights of the scales. I have not misread the pointer of the scales. I have not taken milk from the mouths of children. I have not driven cattle from their pastures. I have not snared the birds of the gods. I have not caught fish with fish of their kind. I have not stopped water [when it should flow]. I have not cut the dam of a canal. I have not extinguished a fire when it should burn. I have not altered the times of the chosen meat offerings. I have not turned away the cattle [intended for] offerings. I have not repulsed the god at his appearances. I am pure. I am pure. I am pure. I am pure...."

In the second part of Chapter CXXV Osiris is seen seated at one end of the Hall of Maati accompanied by the two goddesses of Law and Truth, and the Forty-Two gods who are there to assist him. Each of the Forty-Two gods represents one of the nomes of Egypt and has a symbolic name. When the deceased had repeated the magical names of the doors of the Hall, he entered it and saw these gods arranged in two rows, twenty-one on each side of the Hall. At the end, near Osiris, were the Great Scales, under the charge of Anpu (Anubis), and the monster Amemit, the Eater of the Dead, i.e., of the hearts of the wicked who were condemned in the Judgment of Osiris. The deceased advanced along the Hall and, addressing each of the Forty-Two gods by his name, declared that he had not committed a certain sin, thus:

"O Usekh-nemmit, comer forth from Anu, I have not committed sin.

"O Fenti, comer forth from Khemenu, I have not robbed.

"O Neha-hau, comer forth from Re-stau, I have not killed men.

"O Neba, comer forth in retreating, I have not plundered the property of God.

"O Set-qesu, comer forth from Hensu, I have not lied.

"O Uammti, comer forth from Khebt, I have not defiled any man's wife.

"O Maa-anuf, comer forth from Per-Menu, I have not defiled myself.

"O Tem-Sep, comer forth from Tetu, I have not cursed the king.

"O Nefer-Tem, comer forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have not acted deceitfully; I have not committed wickedness.

"O Nekhen, comer forth from Heqat, I have not turned a deaf ear to the words of the Law (or Truth)."

The names of most of the Forty-Two gods are not ancient, but were invented by the priests probably about the same time as the names in the Book of Him that is in the Tuat and the Book of Gates, i.e., between the XIIth and the XVIIIth dynasties. Their artificial character is shown by their meanings. Thus Usekh-nemmit means "He of the long strides"; Fenti means "He of the Nose"; Neha-hau means "Stinking-members"; Set-qesu means "Breaker of bones," etc. The early Egyptologists called the second part of the CXXVth Chapter the "Negative Confession," and it is generally known by this somewhat inexact title to this day.

In the third part of the CXXVth Chapter comes the address which the


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