Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bonus 23 - Egyptian Execration Texts

Execration texts on pot sherds.
Berlin, SMB-PK, Egyptian Museum Inv. no. P. 14.517
© Naunakhte
The Egyptian Execration texts (also known as Proscription Lists)1. are Egyptian Hieratic texts that list the enemies of the Egyptian pharaohs and are often the foreign enemies from the neighboring regions (late Old Kingdom [ca. 2686-2160 BCE] up to the New Kingdom [ca. 1550-1069]). The curses were commonly written on potsherds and then broken to symbolize the relationship with the foreign neighbors. The broken texts were then typically buried near tombs and ritual sites.2. This was a common practice during the period of conflict with Egypts Asiatic neighbors.3.

Anderson noted in his commentary on Job that:
The name [Job—EL] is attested several times throughout the second millennium BC as an old Canaanite name sometimes borne by royal personages. It occurs in an Egyptian execration text of the nineteenth century BC…. Later the Ugaritic ayab agrees with the South Canaanite name A-ya-ab in Amarna letters. 4.
This reference fits perfectly with W. F. Albrights explanation that Jobs name originally meant “Where is (my) Father?” since Job had no genealogy or paternal father.5.

  • 1. I. E. S. Edwards; C. J. Gadd; N. G. L. Hammond. The Cambridge Ancient History: Early History of the Middle East. (Cambridge University Press, 1971), 494. 
  • 2. Geraldine Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt, 1st University of Texas Press Ed edition (Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 1995), 92ff.
  • 3. Edwards, Gadd, and Hammond, Cambridge Ancient History, 508.
  • 4. Francis I. Andersen, Job, Tyndale Old Testament Commentary (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2008), 78.
  • 5. Hartley, John E. The Book of Job (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988), 66; Anderson, Job, 78.

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