THE STORY OF AHIKAR
WE HAVE in The Story of Ahikar (Haiqar) one of the most ancient sources of human thought and wisdom. Its influence can be traced through the legends of many people, including the Koran, and the Old and New Testaments.
Amosaic found in Treves, Germany, pictured among the wise men of the world the
character of Ahikar. Here is his colorful tale.
Ahikar, Grand Vizier of Assyria, has 60 wives but is fated to have no son. Therefore he adopts his nephew. He crams him full of wisdom and knowledge more than of bread and water.
THE story of Haiqar the Wise, Vizier of Sennacherib the King, and of Nadan, sister's son to Haiqar the Sage.
2 There was a Vizier in the days of King Sennacherib, son of Sarhadum, King of Assyria and Nineveh, a wise man named Haiqar, and he was Vizier of the king Sennacherib.
3 He had a fine fortune and much goods, and he was skilful, wise, a philosopher, in knowledge, in opinion and in government, and he had married sixty women, and had built a castle for each of them.
4 But with it all he had no child by any of these women, who might be his heir.
5And he was very sad on account of this, and one day he assembled the astrologers and
the learned men and
6And they said to him, 'Go, sacrifice to the gods and beseech them that perchance they may provide thee with a boy.'
7And he did as they told him and offered sacrifices to the idols, and besought them and
implored them with
8And they answered him not one word. And he went away sorrowful and dejected, departing with a pain at his heart.
9And he returned, and implored the Most High God, and believed, beseeching Him with a burning in his heart, saying, '0 Most High God, 0 Creator of the Heavens and of the earth, o Creator of all created things!
10 I beseech Thee to give me a boy, that I may be consoled by him, that he may be
present at my death, that
11 Then there came to him a voice saying, 'Inasmuch as thou hast relied first of all on
graven images, and hast
12 But take Nadan thy sister's son, and make him thy child and teach him thy learning and thy good breeding, and at thy death he shall bury thee.'
13 Thereupon he took Nadan his sister's son, who was a little suckling. And he handed him over to eight wet-nurses, that they might suckle him and bring him up.
14 And they brought him up with good food and gentle training and silken clothing, and
purple and crimson.
15 And when Nadan grew big and walked, shooting up like a tall cedar, he taught him good manners and writing and science and philosophy.
16 And after many days King Sennacherib looked at Haiqar and saw that he had grown very old, and moreover he said to him.
17 '0 my honoured friend, the skilful, the trusty, the wise, the governor, my
secretary, my vizier, my Chancellor and director; verily thou art grown very old and
weighted with years; and thy departure from
18 Tell me who shall have a place in my service after thee.' And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord, may thy head live for ever! There is Nadan my sister's son, I have made him my child.
19 And I have brought him up and taught him my wisdom and my knowledge.'
20 And the king said to him, '0 Haiqar ! bring him to my presence, that I may see him, and if I find him suitable, put him in thy place; and thou shalt go thy way, to take a rest and to live the remainder of thy life in sweet repose.'
21 Then Haiqar went and presented Nadan his sister's son. And he did homage and wished him power and honour.
22 And he looked at him and admired him and rejoiced in him and said to Haiqar: 'Is
this thy son, 0 Haiqar? I pray
23 And Haiqar did obeisance to the king and said to him 'May thy head live, 0 my lord the king, for ever! I seek from thee that thou mayst be patient with my boy Nadan and forgive his mistakes that he may serve thee as it is fitting.'
24 Then the king swore to him that he would make him the greatest of his favourites, and the most powerful of his friends, and that he should be with him in all honour and respect. And he kissed his hands and bade him farewell.
25 And he took Nadan his sister's son with him and seated him in a parlour and set about teaching him night and day till he had crammed him with wisdom and knowledge more than with bread and water.
A "Poor Richard's Almanac" of ancient days. Immortal precepts of human conduct concerning money, women, dress, business, friends. Especially interesting proverbs are found in Verses 12, 17, 23, 37, 45, 47 Compare Verse 63 with some oj the cynicism of today.
THUS he taught him, saying: '0 my son! hear my speech and follow my advice and remember what I say.
2 O my son! if thou hearest a word, let it die in thy heart, and reveal it not to another, lest it become a live coal and burn thy tongue and cause a pain in thy body, and thou gain a reproach, and art shamed before God and man.
3 0 my son! if thou hast heard a report, spread it not; and if thou hast seen something, tell it not.
4 0 my son! make thy eloquence easy to the listener, and be not hasty to return an answer.
5 0 my son! when thou hast heard anything, hide it not.
6 0 my son! loose not a sealed knot, nor untie it, and seal not a loosened knot.
7 0 my son! covet not outward beauty, for it wanes and passes away, but an honourable remembrance lasts for aye.
8 0 my son! let not a silly woman deceive thee with her speech, lest thou die the most
miserable of deaths, and she
9 0 my son! desire not a woman bedizened with dress and with ointments, who is
despicable and silly in her soul.
10 0 my son! be not like the almond-tree, for it brings forth leaves before all the trees, and edible fruit after them all, but be like the mulberry - tree, which brings forth edible fruit before all the trees, and leaves after them all.
11 0 my son! bend thy head low down, and soften thy voice, and be courteous, and walk
in the straight path,
12 0 my son! the removing of stones with a wise man is better than the drinking of wine with a sorry man.
13 0 my son! pour out thy wine on the tombs of the just, and drink not with ignorant, contemptible people.
14 0 my son! cleave to wise men who fear God and be like them, and go not near the ignorant, lest thou become like him and learn his ways.
15 0 my son! when thou hast got thee a comrade or a friend, try him, and afterwards make him a comrade and a friend; and do not praise him without a trial; and do not spoil thy speech with a man who lacks wisdom.
16 0 my son! while a shoe stays on thy foot, walk with it on the thorns, and make a road for thy son, and for thy household and thy children, and make thy ship taut before she goes on the sea and its waves and sinks and cannot be saved.
17 0 my son! if the rich man eat a snake, they say, "It is by his wisdom," and if a poor man eat it, the people say, "From his hunger."
18 0 my son! be content with thy daily bread and thy goods, and covet not what is another's.
19 0 my son! be not neighbour to the fool, and eat not bread with him, and rejoice not in the calamities of thy neighbours. (Psalms CXLI. 4) If thine enemy wrong thee, show him kindness.
20 0 my son! a man who fears God do thou fear him and honour him.
21 0 my son! the ignorant man falls and stumbles, and the wise man, even if he stumbles, he is not shaken, and even if he falls he gets up quickly, and if he is sick, he can take care of his life. But as for the ignorant, stupid man, for his disease there is no drug.
22 0 my son! if a man approach thee who is inferior to thyself, go forward to meet him, and remain standing, and if he cannot recompense thee, his Lord will recompense thee for him.
23 0 my son! spare not to beat thy son, for the drubbing of thy son is like manure to the garden, and like tying the mouth of a purse, and like the tethering of beasts, and like the bolting of the door.
24 0 my son! restrain thy son from wickedness, and teach him manners before he rebels against thee and brings thee into contempt amongst the people and thou hang thy head in the streets and the assemblies and thou be punished for the evil of his wicked deeds.
25 0 my son! get thee a fat ox with a foreskin, and an ass great with its hoofs, and get not an ox with large horns, nor make friends with a tricky man, nor get a quarrelsome slave, nor a thievish handmaid, for everything which thou committest to them they will ruin.
26 0 my son! let not thy parents curse thee, and the Lord be pleased with them; for it hath been said, "He who despiseth his father or his mother let him die the death (I mean the death of sin); and he who honoureth his parents shall prolong his days and his life and shall see all that is good."
27 0 my son! walk not on the road without weapons, for thou knowest not when the foe may meet thee, so that thou mayst be ready for him.
28 0 my son! be not like a bare, leafless tree that doth not grow, but be like a tree
covered with its leaves and its
29 0 my son! be like a fruitful tree on the roadside, whost fruit is eaten by all who pass by, and the beasts of the desert rest under its shade and eat of its leaves.
30 0 my son! every sheep that wanders from its path and its companions becomes food for the wolf.
31 0 my son! say not, "My lord is a fool and I am wise,' and relate not the speech
of ignorance and folly, lest thou
32 0 my son! be not one of those servants, to whom their lords say, "Get away from us," but be one of those to whom they say, "Approach and come near to us."
33 0 my son! caress not thy slave in the presence of his companion, for thou knowest not which of them shall be of most value to thee in the end.
34 0 my son! be not afraid of thy Lord who created thee, lest He be silent to thee.
35 0 my son! make thy speech fair and sweeten thy tongue; and permit not thy companion
to tread on thy
36 0 my son! if thou beat a wise man with a word of wisdom, it will lurk in his breast like a subtle sense of shame; but if thou drub the ignorant with a stick he will neither understand nor hear,
37 0 my son! if thou send a wise man for thy needs, do not give him many orders, for he will do thy business as thou desirest: and if thou send a fool, do not order him, but go thyself and do thy business, for if thou order him, he, will not do what thou desirest. If they send thee on business, hasten to fulfil it quickly,
38 0 my son! make not an enemy of a man stronger than thyself, for he will take thy
39 0 my son! make trial of thy son, and of thy servant, before thou committest thy
belongings to them, lest they
40 0 my son! I have eaten a colocynth, and swallowed aloes, and I have found nothing more bitter than poverty and scarcity.
41 0 my son! teach thy son frugality and hunger, that he may do well in the management of his household.
42 0 my son! teach not to the ignorant the language of wise men, for it will be burdensome to him.
43 0 my son! display not thy condition to thy friend, lest thou be despised by him.
44 0 my son! the blindness of the heart is more grievous than the blindness of the eyes, for the blindness of the eyes may be guided little by little, but the blindness of the heart is not guided, and it leaves the straight path, and goes in a crooked way.
45 0 my son! the stumbling of a man with his foot is better than the stumbling of a man with his tongue.
46 0 my son! a friend who is near is better than a more excellent brother who is far away.
47 0 my son! beauty fades but learning lasts, and the world wanes and becomes vain, but a good name neither becomes vain nor wanes.
48 0 my son! the man who hath no rest, his death were better than his life; and the
sound of weeping is better than
49 0 my child! the thigh of a frog in thy hand is better than a goose in the pot of thy
neighbour; and a sheep near thee is better than an ox far away; and a sparrow in thy hand
is better than a thousand sparrows flying; and
50 0 my son! a small fortune is better than a scattered fortune.
51 0 my son! a living dog is better than a dead poor man.
52 0 my son! a poor man who does right is better than a rich man who is dead in sins.
53 0 my son! keep a word in thy heart, and it shall be much to thee, and beware lest thou reveal the secret of thy friend.
54 0 my son! let not a word issue from thy mouth till thou hast taken counsel with thy
heart. And stand not betwixt
55 0 my son! withstand not a man stronger than thyself, but get thee a patient spirit,
and endurance and an upright
56 0 my son! hate not thy first friend, for the second one may not last.
57 0 my son! visit the poor in his affliction, and speak of him in the Sultan's
58 0 my son! rejoice not in the death of thine enemy, for after a little while thou
shalt be his neighbour, and him
59 0 my son! if water would stand still in heaven, and a black crow become white, and
myrrh grow sweet as honey,
60 0 my son! if thou desire to be wise, restrain thy tongue from lying, and thy hand
from stealing, and thine eyes
61 0 my son! let the wise man beat thee with a rod, but let not the fool anoint thee
with sweet salve.
62 0 my son! withstand not a man in the days of his power, nor a river in the days of its flood.
63 0 my son! be not hasty in the wedding of a wife, for if it turns out well, she will
64 0 my son! whosoever is elegant in his dress, he is the same in his speech; and he
who has a mean
65 0 my son! if thou hast committcd a theft, make it known to the Sultan, and give him
a share of it,
66 0 my son! make a friend of the man whose hand is satisfied and filled, and make no
67 There are four things in which neither the king nor his army can be secure:
Ahikar retires from active participation in affairs of state. He turns over his possessions to his treacherous nephew. Here is the amazing story of how a thankless profligate turns forgerer. A clever plot to entangle Ahikar results in his being condemned to death. Apparently the end of Ahikar.
THUS spake Haiqar, and when he had finished these injunctions and proverbs to Nadan, his sister's son,
he imagined that he would keep them all, and he knew not that instead of that he was
2 Thereafter Haiqar sat still in his house and delivered over to Nadan all his goods,
and the slaves,
3 And Haiqar sat at rest is his house, and every now and then Haiqar went and paid his
4 Now when Nadan perceived that the power of bidding and of forbidding was in his own
5 And he began to beat the slaves and the handmaidens, and to sell the horses and the
6 And when Haiqar saw that he had no compassion on his servants nor on his household,
7 And the king arose and called Nadan and said to him:
8 And the hand of Nadan was lifted off from his uncle Haiqar and from all his goods,
and in the
9 Thereupon Haiqar repented him of his toil with Nadan his sister's son, and he continued to be very sorrowful.
10 And Nadan had a younger brother named Benuzardan, so Haiqar took him to himself in
place of Nadan,
11 Now when Nadan perceived what had happened he was seized with envy and jealousy, and
12 And Nadan continued to meditate as to the stumblingblock he might contrive for him.
13 'Peace and health and might and honour from Sennacherib king of Assyria and Nineveh,
14 And when this letter reaches thee, if thou wilt arise and go quickly to the plain of
15 And he wrote also another letter in the name of Haiqar to Pharaoh king of Egypt.
16 If at the time of this letter reaching thee thou wilt arise and go to Assyria and
Nineveh to the plain of Nisrin,
17 And the writing of Nadan was like to the writing of his uncle Haiqar.
18 Then he folded the two letters, and sealed them with the seal of his uncle Haiqar; they were nevertheless in the king's palace.
19 Then he went and wrote a letter likewise from the king to his uncle Haiqar: 'Peace
and health to my Vizier,
20 0 Haiqar, when this letter reaches thee, assemble all the soldiers who are with thee, and let them be perfect in clothing and in numbers, and bring them to me on the fifth day in the plain of Nisrin.
21 And when thou shalt see me there coming towards thee, haste and make the army move against me as an enemy who would fight with me, for I have with me the ambassadors of Pharaoh king of Egypt, that they may see the strength of our army and may fear us, for they are our enemies and they hate us.'
22 Then he sealed the letter and sent it to Haiqar by one of the king's servants. And he took the other letter which he had written and spread it before the king and read it to him and showed him the seal.
23 And when the king heard what was in the letter he was perplexed with a great perplexity and was wroth with a great and fierce wrath, and said, 'Ah, I have shown my wisdom! what have I done to Haiqar that he has written these letters to my enemies? Is this my recompense from him for my benefits to him?'
24 And Nadan said to him, 'Be not grieved, 0 king! nor be wroth, but let us go to the plain of Nisrin and see if the tale be true or not.'
25 Then Nadan arose on the fifth day and took the king and the soldiers and the vizier, and they went to the desert to the plain of Nisrin. And the king looked, and lo! Haiqar and the army were set in array.
26 And when Haiqar saw that the king was there, he approached and signalled to the army to move as in war and to fight in array against the king as it had been found in the letter, he not knowing what a pit Nadan had digged for him.
27 And when the king saw the act of Haiqar he was seized with anxiety and terror and perplexity, and was wroth with a great wrath.
28 And Nadan said to him, 'Hast thou seen, 0 my lord the king! what this wretch has
29 And the king returned to his throne, being provoked about Haiqar, and did nothing
30 And now he hath sent me to thee that thou mayst dismiss the soldiers to their duties
and come thyself to
31 Then answered Haiqar and said, 'To hear is to obey.' And he arose straightway and bound his hands behind him, and chained his feet.
32 And Nadan took him and went with him to the king. And when Haiqar entered the king's
presence he did
33 Then said the king, '0 Haiqar, my Secretary, the Governor of my affairs, my
Chancellor, the ruler of my State,
34 Then they showed him the letters In his writing and with his seal. And when Haiqar saw this, his limbs trembled and his tongue was tied at once, and he was unable to speak a word from fear; but he hung his head towards the earth and was dumb.
35 And when the king saw this, he felt certain that the thing was from him, and he
straightway arose and
86 Then Nadan screamed and said, '0 Haiqar, 0 blackface! what avails thee thy
meditation or thy power in the doing
37 Thus says the story-teller. And the name of the swordsman was Abu Samik. And the
king said to him,
38 Then Haiqar knelt before the king, and said, 'Let my lord the king live for ever!
and if thou desire to slay me,
39 The king arose and commanded the swordsman to do with him according to his desire.
40 And he straightway commanded his servants to take Haiqar and the swordsman and go
with him naked that
41 And when Haiqar knew for certain that he was to be slain he sent to his wife, and
said to her, 'Come out and meet me, and let there be with thee a thousand young virgins,
and dress them in gowns of purple and silk
42 And prepare a table for the swordsman and for his servants. And mingle plenty of wine, that they may drink.'
43 And she did all that he commanded her. And she was very wise, clever, and prudent.
And she united all possible
44 And when the army of the king and the swordsman arrived they found the table set in
45 Then Haiqar took the swordsman aside apart from the company and said, '0 Abu Samik,
dost thou not know
46 And when I brought thee into his presence he rejoiced in thee: and now remember the kindness I did thee.
47 And I know that the king will repent him about me and will be wroth with a great wrath about my execution.
48 For I am not guilty, and it shall he when thou shalt present me before him in his palace, thou shalt meet with great good fortune, and know that Nadan my sister's son has deceived me and has done this bad deed to me, and the king will repent of having slain me; and now I have a cellar in the garden of my house, and no one knows of it.
49 Hide me in it with the knowledge of my wife. And I have a slave in prison who deserves to be killed.
50 Bring him out and dress him in my clothes, and command the servants when they are
drunk to slay him.
51 And cast away his head a hundred cubits from his body, and give his body to my
slaves that they may bury it.
52 And then the swordsman did as Haiqar had commanded him, and he went to the king and
said to him,
53 Then Haiqar's wife let down to him in the hiding-place every week what sufficed for him and no one knew of it but herself.
54 And the story was reported and repeated and spread abroad in every place of how Haiqar the Sage had been slain and was dead, and all the people of that city mourned for him.
55 And they wept and said:
56 But the king was repenting about Haiqar, and his repentance availed him naught.
57 Then he called for Nadan and said to him, 'Go and take thy friends with thee and make a mourning and a weeping for thy uncle Haiqar, and lament for him as the custom is, doing honour to his memory.'
58 But when Nadan, the foolish, the ignorant, the hardhearted, went to the house of his
uncle, he neither wept nor
59 And Nadan began to seize the maidservants and the slaves belonging to Haiqar, and bound them and tortured them and drubbed them with a sore drubbing.
60 And he did not respect the wife of his uncle, she who had brought him up like her
own boy, but wanted her to fall
61 But Haiqar had been cast into the hiding-place, and he heard the weeping of his slaves and his neighbours, and he praised the Most High God, the Merciful One, and gave thanks, and he always prayed and besought the Most High God.
62 And the swordsman came from time to time to Haiqar whilst he was in the midst of the
hiding-place: and Haiqar
63 And when the story was reported in other countries that Haiqar the Sage had been slain all the kings were grieved and despised king Sennacherib, and they lamented over Haiqar the solver of riddles.
"The Riddles of the Sphinx." What really happened to Ahikar, His return.
AND when the king of Egypt had made sure that Haiqar was slain, he arose straightway and wrote a letter to king Sennacherib, reminding him in it 'of the peace and the health and the might and the honour which we wish specially for thee, my beloved brother, king Sennacherib.
2 I have been desiring to build a castle between the heaven and the earth, and I want thee to send me a wise, clever man from thyself to build it for me, and to answer me all my questions, and that I may have the taxes and the custom duties of Asyria for three years.'
3 Then he sealed the letter and sent it to Sennacherib.
4 He took it and read it and gave it to his viziers and to the nobles of his kingdom, and they were perplexed and ashamed, and he was wroth with a great wrath, and was puzzled about how he should act.
5 Then he assembled the old men and the learned men and the wise men and the
philosophers, and the diviners
6 And they said to him, '0 our lord the king! know thou that there is none in thy
kingdom who is acquainted with
7 But as for us, we have no skill in this, unless it be Nadan, his sister's son for he
taught him all his wisdom and
8 Then the king called Nadan and said to him, 'Look at this letter and understand what is in it.' And when Nadan read it, he said, '0 my lord! who is able to build a castle between the heaven and the earth?'
9 And when the king heard the speech of Nadan he sorrowed with a great and sore sorrow, snd stepped down from his throne and sat in the ashes, and began to weep and wail over Haiqar
10 Saying, '0 my grief! 0 Haiqar, who didst know the secrets and the riddles! woe is me
for thee, 0 Haiqar!
11 Ah! and again Ah for myself! who can give thee to me just for once, or bring me word
that Haiqar is alive?
12 Whence is this to me? Ah, Haiqar! that I might see thee just for once, that I might
take my fill of gazing at thee,
13 Ah! 0 my grief for thee to all time! 0 Haiqar, how have I killed thee! and I tarried not in thy case till I had seen the end of the matter.'
14 And the king went on weeping night and day. Now when the swordsman saw the wrath of
the king and his
15 '0 my lord! command thy servants to cut off my head.' Then said the king to him:
'Woe to thee, Abu Samik,
16 And the swordsman said unto him, '0 my master! every slave who acts contrary to the word of his master is killed, and I have acted contrary to thy command.'
17 Then the king said unto him. 'Woe unto thee, 0 Abu Samik, in what hast thou acted contrary to my command?'
18 And the swordsman said unto him, '0 my lord! thou didst command me to kill Haiqar,
and I knew that
19 And the king said unto him. 'Woe to thee, 0 Abu Samik! thou hast mocked me and I am thy lord.'
20 And the swordsman said Unto him, 'Nay, but by the life of thy head, 0 my lord!
21 And when the king heard that saying, he felt sure of the matter, and his head swam,
and he fainted from joy,
22 And he said to the swordsman, '0 trusty servant! if thy speech be true, I would fain
enrich thee, and exalt thy
23 And the swordsman went along rejoicing till he came to Haiqar's house. And he opened the door of the hiding-place, and went down and found Haiqar sitting, praising God, and thanking Him.
24 And he shouted to him, saying, '0 Haiqar, I bring the greatest of joy, and happiness, and delight!'
25 And Haiqar said to him, 'What is the news, 0 Abu Samik?' And he told him all about
26 And when the king looked at him, he saw him in a state of want, and that his hair
had grown long like the
27 And when the king saw him he sorrowed over him and rose at once and embraced him and
28 Then he consoled him and comforted him. And he stripped off his robe, and put it on the swordsman, and was very gracious to him, and gave him great wealth, and made Haiqar rest.
29 Then said Haiqar to the king, 'Let my lord the king live for ever! These be the
deeds of the children of the world.
30 But, 0 my lord! since I have appeared before thee, let not care oppress thee.' And
the king said to him:
31 But go to the warm bath, and shave thy head, and cut thy nails, and change thy
clothes and amuse thyself
32 Then the king stripped off his costly robe, and put it on Haiqar, and Haiqar thanked
God and did obeisance
33 And the people of his household rejoiced with him,
The letter of the "riddles" is shown to Ahikar. The boys on the eagles. The first "airplane" ride. Off to Egypt. Ahikar, being a man of wisdom also has o sense of humor. (Verse 27).
AND he did as the king commanded him, and took a rest for forty days.
2 Then he dressed himself in his gayest dress, and went riding to the king, with his slaves behind him and before him, rejoicing and delighted.
3 But when Nadan his sister's son perceived what was happening, fear took hold of him and terror, and he was perplexed, not knowing what to do.
4 And when Haiqar saw it he entered into the king's presence and greeted him, and he
returned the greeting,
5 They have provoked us and overcome us, and many of the people of our country have
fled to Egypt for fear of the
6 Then Haiqar took the letter and read it and understood all its contents.
7 Then he said to the king, Be not wroth, 0 my lord! I will go to Egypt, and I will
return the answers to Pharaoh,
8 And when the king heard this speech from Haiqar he rejoiced with a great joy, and his
heart was expanded
9 And Haiqar said to the king: 'Grant me a delay of forty days that I may consider this
question and manage it.'
10 And Haiqar went to his dwelling, and he commanded the huntsmen to capture two young
eaglets for him,
11 Then he took two little lads, and spent every day sacrificing lambs and feeding the
eagles and the boys, and
12 And when Haiqar saw that his desire was fulfilled he charged the boys that when they were borne aloft to the sky they were to shout, saying:
13 Bring us clay and stone that we may build a castle for king Pharaoh, for we are idle.'
14 And Haiqar was never done training them and exercising them till they had reached the utmost possible point (of skill).
15 Then leaving them he went to the king and said to him, 'O my lord! the work is
finished according to thy desire.
16 So the king sprang up and sat with Haiqar and went to a wide place and sent to bring
the eagles and the boys,
17 And the king and those who were with him wondered with a great wonder: and the king kissed Haiqar between his eyes and said to him, 'Go in peace, 0 my beloved! 0 pride of my kingdom! to Egypt and answer the questions of Pharaoh and overcome him by the strength of the Most High God.'
18 Then he bade him farewell, and took his troops and his army and the young men and
the eagles, and went
19 And when the people of Egypt knew that Sennacherib had sent a man of his Privy
Council to talk with Pharaoh
20 And he came and entered into the presence of Pharaoh, and did obeisance to him as it is fitting to do to kings.
21 And he said to him: '0 my lord the king! Sennacherib the king hails thee with abundance of peace and might, and honour.
22 And he has sent me, who am one of his slaves, that I may answer thee thy questions, and may fulfil all thy desire: for thou hast sent to seek from my lord the king a man who will build thee a castle between the heaven and the earth.
23 And I by the help of the Most High God and thy noble favour and the power of my lord
the king will build it for
24 But, 0 my lord the king! what thou hast said in it about the taxes of Egypt for
three years - now the stability
25 And if I shall have answered thee in thy questions, it shall remain for thee to send
26 And when Pharaoh heard that speech, he wondered and was perplexed by the freedom of
his tongue and the
27 And king Pharaoh said to him, '0 man! what is thy name?' And he said, 'Thy servant
is Abiqam, and I a little ant
28 And Pharaoh said to him, 'Had thy lord no one of higher dignity than thee, that he
has sent me a little ant
29 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord the king! I would to God Most High that I may fulfil what is on thy mind,
for God is with the weak that He may confound the strong.'
30 Then Pharaoh commanded that they should prepare a dwelling for Abiqam and supply him
31 And when it was finished, three days afterwards Pharaoh clothed himself in purple and red and sat on his throne, and all his viziers and the magnates of his kingdom were standing with their hands crossed, their feet close together, and their heads bowed.
32 And Pharaoh sent to fetch Abiqam, and when he was presented to him, he did obeisance
33 And king Pharaoh said to him, '0 Abiqam, whom am I like? and the nobles of my kingdom, to whom are they like?'
34 And Haiqar said to him '0 my lord the king !thou art like the idol Bel, and the
nobles of thy
35 He said to him, 'Go, and come back hither to - morrow.' So Haiqar went as king Pharaoh had commanded him.
36 And on the morrow Haiqar went into the presence of Pharaoh, and did obeisance, and
stood before the king.
37 And Pharaoh said to him '0 Abiqam, whom am I like? and the nobles of my kingdom, to whom are they like?'
35 And Abiqam said to him, '0 my lord! thou art like the sun, and thy servants are like
its beams.' And Pharaoh said
39 Then Pharaoh commanded his Court to wear pure white, and Pharaoh was dressed like
them and sat upon
40 And Pharaoh said to him, '0 Abiqam, whom am I like? and my nobles, to whom are they like?'
41 And Abiqam said to him, '0 my lord! thou art like the moon, and thy nobles are like
the planets and the stars.'
42 Then Pharaoh commanded his servants to wear robes of various colours, and Pharaoh wore a red velvet dress, and sat on his throne, and commanded them to fetch Abiqam. And he entered and did obeisance before him.
43 And he said, '0 Abiqam, whom am I like? and my armies, to whom are they like?' And
he said, '0 my lord!
44 And when the king heard It he rejoiced with a great joy, and said, '0 Abiqam! the first time thou didst compare me to the idol Bel, and my nobles to his servants.
45 And the second time thou didst compare me to the sun, and my nobles to the sunbeam'.
46 And the third time thou didst compare me to the moon, and my nobles to the planets and the stars.
47 And the fourth time thou didst compare me to the month of April, and my nobles to
48 And Haiqar shouted with a loud voice and said: 'Be it far from me to make mention of
49 And Pharaoh was perplexed by the freedom of his tongue and his boldness in answenng.
Then Pharaoh arose
50 And Haiqar said to him:
51 And he commands the thunder, and it lightens and rains, and he holds the sun, and it gives not its light, and the moon and the stars, and they circle not.
52 And he commands the tempest, and it blows and the rain falls and
53 And when Pharaoh heard this speech, he was greatly perplexed and was wroth with a great wrath, and said to him: '0 man! tell me the truth, and let me know who thou really art.'
54 And he told him the truth. 'I am Haiqar the scribe, greatest of the Privy Councillors of king Sennacherib,
and I am his vizier and the Governor of his kingdom, and his Chancellor.'
55 And he said to him, 'Thou hast told the truth in this saying. But we have heard of
Haiqar, that king
56 And Haiqar said to him, 'Yes, so it was, but praise be to God, who knoweth what is
hidden, for my lord the king
57 And Pharaoh said to Haiqar, 'Go, and to - morrow be thou here, and tell me a word
that I have never
The ruse succeeds. Ahikar answers every question of Pharaoh. The boys on the eagles are the climax of the day. Wit, so rarely found in the ancient Sciptures, is revealed in Verses 34~35.
AND Haiqar went to his dwelling, and wrote a letter, saying in it on this wise:
2 'From Sennacherib king of Assyria and Nineveh to Pharaoh king of Egypt.
3 'Peace be to thee, 0 my brother! and what we make known to thee by this is that a brother has need of his brother, and kings of each other, and my hope from thee is that thou wouldst lend me nine hundred talents of gold, for I need it for the victualling of some of the soldiers, that I may spend it upon them. And after a little while I will send it thee.'
4 Then he folded the letter, and presented it on the morrow to Pharaoh.
5 And when he 'saw it, he was perplexed and said to him, 'Verily I have never heard anything like this language from any one.'
6 Then Haiqar said to him, 'Truly this is a debt which thou owest to my lord the king.'
7 And Pharaoh accepted this, saying, '0 Haiqar, it is the like of thee who are honest in the service of kings.
8 Blessed be God who hath made thee perfect in wisdom and hath adorned thee with philosophy and knowledge.
9 And now, 0 Haiqar, there remains what we desire from thee, that thou shouldst build us a castle between heaven and earth.'
10 Then said Haiqar, 'To hear is to obey. I will build thee a castle according to thy
wish and choice; but,
11 And the king prepared all that for him, and they went to a wide place; and Haiqar
and his boys came to it, and
12 Then Haiqar let the eagles out of the boxes, and tied the young men on their backs, and tied the ropes to the eagles' feet, and let them go in the air. And they soared upwards, till they remained between heaven and earth.
13 And the boys began to shout, saying, 'Bring bricks, bring clay, that we may build the king's castle, for we are standing idle!'
14 And the crowd were astonished and perplexed, and they wondered. And the king and his nobles wondered.
15 And Haiqar and his servants began to beat the workmen and they shouted for the
king's troops, saying to them,
16 And the king said to him, 'Thou art mad; who can bring anything up to that distance?'
17 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord! how shall we build a castle in the air? and if
my lord the king were here,
18 And Pharaoh said to him,
19 Then Haiqar went to his dwelling and on the morrow he appeared before Phanaoh. And
20 And when Haiqar heard this speech he went and took a cat, and bound her and began to
flog her with a violent
21 And Pharaoh sent to fetch Haiqar, and said to him, '0 Haiqar, wherefore dost thou flog thus and beat that dumb beast?'
22 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord the king! verily she has done an ugly deed to me,
and has deserved this
23 And the cat got up this very night and cut off its head and went away, and because of this deed I have treated her to this drubbing.'
24 And Pharaoh said to him, '0 Haiqar, I see from all this that thou art growing old
and art in thy dotage,
25 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord! if there were such a distance between Egypt and
Nineveh, how could
26 And when Pharaoh heard he knew that Haiqar had answered his questions.
27 And Pharaoh said, '0 Haiqar, I want thee to make me ropes of the sea - sand.'
28 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord the king! order them to bring me a rope out of
the treasury that I
29 Then Haiqar went to the back of the house, and bored holes in the rough shore of the
30 And Haiqar said, 'Command thy servants to take these ropes, and whenever thou
desirest it, I will weave
31 And Pharaoh said, 'O Haiqar, we have a millstone here and it has been broken and I want thee to sew it up.'
32 Then Haiqar looked at it and found another stone.
33 And he said to Pharaoh. '0 my lord! I am a foreigner and I have no tool for sewing.
34 But I want thee to command thy faithful shoemakers to cut awls from this stone, that I may sew that millstone.'
35 Then Pharaoh and all his nobles laughed. And he said, 'Blessed be the Most High God,
36 And when Pharaoh saw that Haiqar had overcome him, and returned him his answers, he
at once became excited,
37 And he stripped off his robes and put them upon Haiqar, and his soldiers, and his
servants, and gave him
38 And he said to him, 'Go in peace, 0 strength of his lord and pride of his Doctors!
have any of the Sultans thy like?
39 Then Haiqar arose, and kissed king Pharaoh's hands and kissed the ground in front of him, and wished him strength and continuance, and abundance in his treasury, and said to him, '0 my lord! I desire from thee that not one of our countryrnen may remain in Egypt.'
40 And Pharaoh arose and sent heralds to proclaim in the streets of Egypt that not one
of the people of Assyria
41 Then Haiqar went and took leave of king Pharaoh, and journeyed, seeking the land of
Assyria and Nineveh;
42 And when the news reached king Sennacherib that Haiqar was coming, he went out to meet him and rejoiced over him exceedingly with great joy and embraced him and kissed him, and said to him, 'Welcome home, 0 kinsman! my brother Haiqar, the strength of my kingdom, and pride of my realm.
43 Ask what thou would'st have from me, even if thou desirest the half of my kingdom and of my possessions.
44 Then said Haiqar unto him, '0 my lord the king, live for ever! Show favour, 0 my
lord the king! to Abu Samik
45 Then said Sennacherib the king, 'Honour be to thee, 0 my beloved Haiqar! I will make
the station of Abu Samik
46 Then the king began to ask him how he had got on with Pharaoh from his first arrival until he had come away from his presence, and how he had answered all his questions, and how he had received the taxes from him, and the changes of raiment and the presents.
47 And Sennacherib the king rejoiced with a great joy, and said to Haiqar, 'Take what thou wouldst fain have of this tribute, for it is all within the grasp of thy hand.'
48 And Haiqar said: 'Let the king live for ever! I desire naught but the safety of my lord the king and the continuance of his greatness.
49 0 my lord! what can I do with wealth and its like? but if thou wilt show me favour, give me Nadan, my sister's son, that I may recompense him for what he has done to me, and grant me his blood and hold me guiltless of it.'
50 And Sennacherib the king said, 'Take him, I have given him to thee,' And Haiqar took
The parables of Ahikar in which
AND whenever Haiqar went in or out he scolded Nadan, his sister's son, saying to him wisely:
2 0 Nadan, my boy! I have done to thee all that is good and kind. and thou hast
3 '0 my son! it is said in the proverbs: He who listeneth not with his ear, they will
make him listen with
4 And Nadan said, 'For what cause art thou wroth with me?'
5 And Haiqar said to him, 'Because I brought thee up, and taught thee, and gave thee
honour and respect and
6 But the Lord knew that I was wronged, and He saved me from the snare which thou hadst
7 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like the scorpion which, when it strikes on brass, pierces it.
8 0 my boy! thou art like the gazelle who was eating the roots of the madder, and it
said to her,
9 O my boy! thou hast been to me like a man who saw his comrade naked in the chilly time of winter; and he took cold water and poured it upon him.
10 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like a man who took a stone, and threw it up to
heaven to stone his Lord with it.
11 0 my boy! if thou hadst honoured me and respected me and hadst listened to my words thou wouldst have been my heir, and wouldst have reigned over my dominions.
12 0 my son! know thou that if the tail of the dog or the pig were ten cubits long it would not approach to the worth of the horse's even if it were like silk.
13 0 my boy! I thought that thou wouldst have been my heir at my death; and thou
through thy envy
14 0 my son! thou hast been to me like a trap which was set up on the dunghill, and there came a sparrow and found the trap set up. And the sparrow said to the trap, "What doest thou here?" Said the trap, "I am praying here to God."
15 And the lark asked it also, "What is the piece of wood that thou holdest?" Said the trap, "That is a young oak-tree on which I lean at the time of prayer.
16 Said the lark: "And what is that thing in thy mouth?" Said the trap:
"That is bread and victuals which I carry for
17 Said the lark: "Now then may I come forward and eat, for I am hungry?" And the trap said to him, "Come forward." And the lark approached that it might eat.
18 But the trap sprang up and seized the lark by its neck
19 And the lark answered and said to the trap, "If that is thy bread for the hungry God accepteth not thine alms and thy kind deeds.
20 And if that is thy fasting and thy prayers, God accepteth from thee neither thy fast nor thy prayer, and God will not perfect what is good concerning thee."
21 0 my boy? thou hast been to me (as) a lion who made friends with an ass, and the ass kept walking before the lion for a time; and one day the lion sprang upon the ass and ate it up.
22 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like a weevil in the wheat, for it does no good to anything, but spoils the wheat and gnaws it.
23 0 my boy! thou hast been like a man who sowed ten measures of wheat, and when it was harvest time, he arose and reaped it, and garnered it, and threshed it, and toiled over it to the very utmost, and it turned out to be ten measures, and its master said to it: "0 thou lazy thing! thou hast not grown and thou hast not shrunk."
24 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like the partridge that had been thrown into the net, and she could not save herself, but she called out to the partridges, that she might cast them with herself into the net.
25 0 my son! thou hast been to me like the dog that was cold and it went into the potter's house to get warm.
26 And when it had got warm, it began to bark at them, and they chased it out and beat it, that it might not bite them.
27 0 my son! thou hast been to me like the pig who went into the hot bath with people
of quality, and
28 0 my son! thou hast been to me like the goat which joined its comrades on their way to the sacrifice, and it was unable to save itself.
29 0 my boy! the dog which is not fed from its hunting becomes food for flies.
30 0 my son! the hand which does not labour and plough and (which) is greedy and cunning shall be cut away from its shoulder.
31 0 my son! the eye in which light is not seen, the ravens shall pick at it and pluck it out.
32 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like a tree whose branches they were cutting, and it
33 0 my boy! thou art like the cat to whom they said:
34 And she said, "I am not forgetful of the craft of my father and my mother."
35 0 my son! thou hast been like the serpent riding on a thorn-bush when he was in the midst of a river, and a wolf saw them and said, "Mischief upon mischief, and let him who is more mischievous than they direct both of them."
36 And the serpent said to the wolf, "The lambs and the goats and the sheep which thou hast eaten all thy life, wilt thou return them to their fathers and to their parents or no?"
37 Said the wolf, "No." And the serpent said to him, "I think that after myself thou art the worst of us."
38 0 my boy! I fed thee with good food and thou didst not feed me with dry bread.
39 0 my boy! I gave thee sugared water to drink and good syrup, and thou didst
not give me water from the
40 0 my boy! I taught thee, and brought thee up, and thou didst dig a hiding-place for me and didst conceal me.
41 0 my boy! I brought thee up with the best upbringing and trained thee like a tall
cedar; and thou hast twisted
42 0 my boy! it was my hope concerning thee that thou wouldst build me a fortified
castle, that I might be
43 0 my boy! I wished thee well, and thou didst reward me with evil and hatefulness, and now I would fain tear out thine eyes, and make thee food for dogs, and cut out thy tongue, and take off thy head with the edge of the sword, and recompense thee for thine abominable deeds.'
44 And when Nadan heard this speech from his uncle Haiqar, he said: '0 my uncle! deal with me according to thy knowledge, and forgive me my sins, for who is there who hath sinned like me, or who is there who forgives like thee?
45 Accept me, 0 my uncle! Now I will serve in thy house, and groom thy horses and sweep
up the dung
46 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my boy! thou art like the tree which was fruitless beside
the water, and its
47 And its master said to it, "Thou being beside the water hast not borne
fruit, how shalt thou bear fruit
48 0 my boy! the old age of the eagle is better than the youth of the crow.
49 0 my boy! they said to the wolf, "Keep away from the sheep lest their dust
should harm thee."
50 0 my boy! they made the wolf go to school that he might learn to read, and they said
to him, "Say A, B."
51 0 my boy! they set the ass down at the table and he fell, and began to roll himself
in the dust, and one said,
52 0 my boy! the saying has been confirmed which runs: "If thou begettest a boy,
call him thy son,
53 0 my boy! he who doeth good shall meet with good; and he who doeth evil shall meet
with evil, for the Lord
54 0 my boy! what shall I say more to thee than these sayings? for the Lord knoweth what is' hidden, and is acquainted with the mysteries and the secrets.
55 And He will requite thee and will judge betwixt me and thee, and will recompense thee according to thy desert,'
56 And when Nadan heard that speech from his uncle Haiqar, he swelled up immediately
57 And his limbs swelled and his legs and his feet and his side, and he was torn and
his belly burst asunder
58 And his latter end was destruction, and he went to hell. For he who digs a pit for his brother shall fall into it; and he who sets up traps shall be caught in them.
59 This is what happened and (what) we found about the tale of Haiqar, and praise be to
God for ever.
Amen, and peace.
60 This chronicle is finished with the help of God, may He be exalted:
Amen, Amen, Amen.