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Legends Of The Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with Translations

Page: 20

The legend, after enumerating the great names of Rameses II., goes on to state that the king was in the "country of the two rivers," by which we are to understand some portion of Mesopotamia, the rivers being the Tigris and Euphrates, and that the local chiefs were bringing to him tribute consisting of gold, lapis-lazuli, turquoise, and logs of wood from the Land of the God. It is difficult to understand how gold and logs of wood from Southern Arabia and East Africa came to be produced as tribute by chiefs who lived so far to the north. Among those who sent gifts was the Prince of Bekhten, and at the head of all his tribute he sent his eldest daughter, bearing his message of homage and duty. Now the maiden was beautiful, and the King of Egypt thought her so lovely that be took her to wife, and bestowed upon her the name "Ra- neferu," which means something like the "beauties of Ra." He took her back with him to Egypt, where she was installed as Queen.

During the summer of the fifteenth year of his reign, whilst Rameses II. was celebrating a festival of Amen-Ra in the Temple of Luxor, one came to him and reported that an envoy had arrived from the Prince of Bekhten, bearing with him many gifts for the Royal Wife Ra-neferu. When the envoy had been brought into the presence, he addressed words of homage to the king, and, having presented the gifts from his lord, he said that he had come to beg His Majesty to send a "learned man," i.e., a magician, to Bekhten to attend Bent-enth-resh, His Majesty's sister-in-law, who was stricken with some disease. Thereupon the king summoned the learned men of the House of Life, i.e., the members of the great College of Magic at Thebes, and the qenbetu officials, and when they had entered his presence, he commanded them to select a man of "wise heart and deft fingers" to go to Bekhten. The choice fell upon one Tehuti-em-heb, and His Majesty sent him to Bekhten with the envoy. When they arrived in Bekhten, Tehuti-em-heb found that the Princess Bent-enth-resh was possessed by an evil spirit which refused to be exorcised by him, and he was unable to cast out the devil. The Prince of Bekhten, seeing that the healing of his daughter was beyond the power of the Egyptian, sent a second envoy to Rameses II., and besought him to send a god to drive out the devil. This envoy arrived in Egypt in the summer of the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Rameses II., and found the king celebrating a festival in Thebes. When he heard the petition of the envoy, he went to the Temple of Khensu Nefer-hetep "a second time,"[FN#38] and presented himself before the god and besought his help on behalf of his sister-in-law.

[FN#38] Thus the king must have invoked the help of Khensu on the occasion of the visit of the first envoy.


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