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Legends Of The Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with Translations

Page: 21

Then the priests of Khensu Nefer-hetep carried the statue of this god to the place where was the statue of Khensu surnamed "Pa-ari-sekher," i.e., the "Worker of destinies," who was able to repel the attacks of evil spirits and to drive them out. When the statues of the two gods were facing each other, Rameses II. entreated Khensu Nefer-hetep to "turn his face towards," i.e., to look favourably upon Khensu. Pa-ari- sekher, and to let him go to Bekhten to drive the devil out of the Princess of Bekhten. The text affords no explanation of the fact that Khensu Nefer-hetep was regarded as a greater god than Khensu Pa-ari- sekher, or why his permission had to be obtained before the latter could leave the country. It is probable that the demands made upon Khensu Nefer-hetep by the Egyptians who lived in Thebes and its neighbourhood were so numerous that it was impossible to let his statue go into outlying districts or foreign lands, and that a deputy-god was appointed to perform miracles outside Thebes. This arrangement would benefit the people, and would, moreover, bring much money to the priests. The appointment of a deputy-god is not so strange as it may seem, and modern African peoples are familiar with the expedient. About one hundred years ago the priests of the god Bobowissi of Winnebah, in the Tshi region of West Africa, found their business so large that it was absolutely necessary for them to appoint a deputy. The priests therefore selected Brahfo, i.e., "deputy," and gave out that Bobowissi had deputed all minor matters to him, and that his utterances were to be regarded as those of Bobowissi. Delegates were ordered to be sent to Winnebah in Ashanti, where they would be shown the "deputy" god by the priests, and afterwards he would be taken to Mankassim, where he would reside, and do for the people all that Bobowissi had done hitherto.[FN#39]

[FN#39] Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, p. 55.

When Rameses II. had made his petition to Khensu Nefer-hetep, the statue of the god bowed its head twice, in token of assent. Here it is clear that we have an example of the use of statues with movable limbs, which were worked, when occasion required, by the priests. The king then made a second petition to the god to transfer his sa, or magical power, to Khensu Pa-ari-sekher so that when he had arrived in Bekhten he would be able to heal the Princess. Again the statue of Khensu Nefer-hetep bowed its head twice, and the petition of the king was granted. The text goes on to say that the magical power of the greater god was transferred to the lesser god four times, or in a fourfold measure, but we are not told how this was effected. We know from many passages in the texts that every god was believed to possess this magical power, which is called the "sa of life," or the "sa of the god,".


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