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Prophecy of Neferty

Transliteration after Helck 1970, using the copy on Papyrus Hermitage 1116B as principal source. The section divisions are those of Helck 1970: after each section number are given the corresponding line-numbers in Papyrus Hermitage 1116B.

Transliteration (using A, i, y, a, w, b, p, f, m, n, r, h, H, x, X, s, S, q, k, g, t, T, d, D) with translation

red: part of the text written in red in Papyrus Hermitage 1116B

blue: link to comments

Sections 6 and 7 are found on Ostracon Petrie 38 (UC 39637)


1. (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 1 to 8)
xpr.n swt wnn Hm n nswt bity snfrw mAa xrw m nswt mnx m tA pn r-Dr.f
wa m nn hrw xpr aq pw ir.n qnbt nt Xnw r pr-aA anx wDA snb r nD xrt
prt pw ir.n.sn nD.sn xrt mi nt-a.sn nt ra nb
Dd.in Hm.f anx wDA snb n xtmw nty r-gs.f
isy in n.i qnbt nt Xnw prt aA r nD xrt m hrw pn
sTA in.tw n.f Hr-a
wn.in.sn Hr Xt.sn m-bAH Hm.f anx wDA snb m wHm-a
Dd.in Hm.f anx wDA snb n.sn
rHw mtn rdi.n.i iAS.tw n.tn
r rdit Dar.tn n.i sA.tn m sAA sn.tn m iqr
xnms.tn wd sp nfr Dd.ty.fy n.i nhw n mdt nfrt
Tsw stpw DAy Hr n Hm.i n sDm st
wn.in.sn Hr Xt.sn m-bAH Hm.f anx wDA snb m wHm-a

It happened that the Power of the dual king Sneferu true of voice was the good king in this entire land.
One day it happened that the council of the Residence entered the Palace, may it live, prosper and be well, for the audience.
They emerged after they had made their audience in their regular daily manner.
Then His Power, may he live, prosper and be well, said to the sealer who was beside him
'Hurry and bring me the council of the Residence that went here for the audience today'
Back they were brought at once,
and they were on their stomachs in the presence of His Power, may he live, prosper and be well, a second time.
Then His Power, may he live, prosper and be well, said to them
'Comrades, look, I have had you summoned,
to have you seek out for me a son of yours who is wise, a brother of yours who is excellent,
a friend of yours who can strike the right chord, who will tell me some fine words ,
some choice phrases to entertain My Power at hearing them.'
Then they were on their stomachs in the presence of His Power, may he live, prosper and be well, a second time.

2. (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 8 to 17)
Dd.in.sn xft Hm.f anx wDA snb
iw Xry-Hbt aA n bAst ity nb.n nfrty rn.f
nDs pw qn gAb.f sS pw iqr n Dbaw.f
Hwy in.tw.f mAA Hm.f
Dd.in Hm.f anx wDA snb is in n.i sw
stA.in.tw.f n.f Hr-awy
wn.in.f Hr Xt.f m-bAH Hm.f anx wDA snb
Dd.in Hm.f anx wDA snb mi m nfrty xnms
Dd.k n.i nh n mdt nfrt Tsw stpw
DAy Hr n Hm.i n sDm st
Dd.in Xry-Hbt nfrty
in iw xprt in iw xprt.f sy ity anx wDA snb nb.[i]
Dd.in Hm.f anx wDA snb m xprt st swt min is xpr swA.f
aHa.n dwn.n.f drt.f r hn n Xrt-a
aHa.n Sd.n.f n.f Sfdw Hna gsti
wn.in.f Hr irt m sSw Ddt.n Xry-Hbt nfrty
rx xt pw n iAbt ny-sw bAst m wbn.s
msw pw n HqA-anD


Then they said before His Power, may he live, prosper and be well,
'There is a great lector of Bast, O sovereign our lord, called Neferty.
he is a commoner valiant in his arm, he is a writer excellent in his fingers.
let him be brought for His Power to see him.'
Then His Power, may he live, prosper and be well, said 'Go and bring him to me.'
Then he was brought to him at once.
and he was on his stomach in the presence of His Power, may he live, prosper and be well.
Then His Power, may he live, prosper and be well, said 'Come then, Neferty, friend,
Tell me some fine words, choice phrases
to entertain My Power at hearing them.'
And the lector Neferty said,
'(on) what has happened, or what is to happen, O sovereign, may he live, prosper and be well, my lord?'
So His Power, may he live, prosper and be well, said, 'on what is to happen, for today is already happened and gone'And he stretched out his hand to the chest of writing equipment,
and took out a papyrus roll and writing palette,
and prepared to write down what the lector Neferty would say,
as a man of knowledge in the East, belonging to Bast in her rising,
as a child of the province Ruler-Anedj.


3. (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 17 to 21)

iw.f mH.f Hr xprt m tA
iw.f sxA.f qni n iAbtt
xpw aAmw m xpSw.sn
sh.sn ibw n ntyw Hr Smw
nHm.sn Htrw Hr skA
Dd.f xws ib.i rm.k tA pn SAa.n.k im.f
gr m iwH
mk wn Dd.ti r.f m stryt
mk rf wn wr m ptx SAa.n.k im tA

He gathered his thoughts on the events in the land,
he recalled the turmoil of the East,
the rampage of Asiatics with their forces,
disrupting the hearts of those at harvest,
seizing those yoked in ploughing.
He said 'stir yourself, my heart, as you weep for this land where you started,
silence would be refreshment.
Look, what is said of it should (inspire) respect,
look, now, the great is sent sprawling there where you started.'


4. (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 21 to 23)

m wrd mk st xft-Hr.k
aHa.k r ntt m-bAH.k
mk rf wn wrw m sxrw nw tA
iryt m tmt-ir SAa ra m grg
tA Aqw r-Aw n xpr DAt
nn sp km n ant m SAt.f

Do not tire: look at it before you,
Stand up to what is in front of you,
Look, now, the great are in the condition of the land,
what was made is become unmade, Ra (must) begin his creation.
the land is destroyed entirely, nothing is left overm
there is not a trace of the fingernail in its fixed place.


5. (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 24 to 26)

HD tA pn nn mH Hr.f nn Dd nn ir rmw
wnn tA pn m-m
itn Hbs nn psd.f mAA rxyt
nn anx.tw Hbsw Sna
wn.in.s Hr-nb id m gA.f
iw.i r Dd nty xft-Hr.i n sr.n.i ntt n iy

This land is destroyed without any to care for it, any to speak up, any to make lament,
what will become of this land?
The sun disk is a being concealed, and will not shine for the people to see,
and noone can live, when the clouds are covered.
Then they are, every one, deafened in its absence.
I am to say what is before me, I am not prophesying what has not happened.

(the yellow marked parts are available as audio)

6. (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 26 to 30)

itrw Sw nw kmt (mp3 - 775 KB)
DA.tw mw Hr rdwy
tw r HH mw n aHaw r sqdw.f
wAt.f xpr.ti m wDb.f
Ts r nt
st mw r nty m st wDb
iw rsw r xsf m mHyt
nn pt m TAw wa
iw Apdw DrDri r mst m XAt nt tA-mHw (mp3 - 411 KB)
ir.n.f sS Hr gswy
stkn sw rmT n gAw

The river of Egypt is dry,
the water is crossed on foot.
Water is sought for boats for its sailings.
Its course is turned into its shore,
its sandback into flood,
The place of water into what should be the place of the shore.
The south wind does battle with the north wind,
there will be not one wind for the sky.
Alien birds will give birth in the pool of the Delta.
It has made a nest on the (Delta) fringes,
even approaching people out of famine.

7 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 30 to 35)

HD nHmn nfA n bw nfr nA n Sw qaHw (mp3 - 674 KB)
wnyw Xr wgs wbnw Xr rmw Apdw
bw nfr nb rwi ptx m tA n qsnt
m-a nfA n DfAw styw xtyw tA
iw xrw xpr Hr iAbtt (mp3 - 683 KB)
iw aAmw hAt r kmt
gA.tw xnrt ky r-gs nn sDmm n.f
tw r isq mAqt m grH
tw r aq xnrtw
tw r snbt qdd m irty (mp3 - 242 KB)
sDr Hr iw.i rs.kwi


Utterly destroyed are those (times) of happiness at those basin lakes,
with men set to slitting fish, overflowing with fish and fowl.
All happiness has departed, flung down in the land of hardship,
from those (weights) of supplies of the Asiatics who are throughout the land.
Men of violence have emerged in the East,
Asiatics are coming down into Egypt,
The confines are lost, another is beside, who will not be heard.
The ladder will be blocked in the night,
the camps will be entered,
the bleary-eyed will be overpowered,
as the sleeper says 'I am awake'.

8 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 35 to 40)

awt xAst r swri Hr itrw nw kmt
qbb.sn Hr wDbw.sn n gA stri st
iw tA pn iT int n rx bs xpr.ty.fy imn m Dd
ptr sDm Hr idw iw gr xft-Hr
di.i n.k tA m sny mn tm xpr xpr
tw r Ssp xaw nw aHA anx tA m shA

The herds of foreign lands will drink from the rivers of Egypt
They will be refreshed on their shores, for want of any to drive them back.
This land is to be taken and carried off, unaware of the onset of what will happen, hidden in the saying:
'Look out, the hearer is going deaf, the silent one is before (us)'
I give you the land in the passing of evil - what should not happen, happens.
Weapons of war will be taken up, as the land lives in turmoil.

8 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 40 to 45)

iw.tw r irt aHAw m Hmt
dbH.tw t snf
sbt.tw m sbt n mr
nn rm.tw n mwt
nn sDr.tw Hqr n mwt
ib n s m-sA.f Ds.f
nn ir.tw sAmwt min ib sTni n Hr.s r-Aw
Hms s r qaH.f sA.f ky Hr sma ky
di.i n.k sA m xrwy sn m xfty s Hr sma it.f

Weapons will be made of copper
the bread they request will be blood,
they will burst into laughter at grief,
no-one will weep at death,
no-one will sleep hungry for want for death,
and the heart of a man will only be after himself.
No mourning will be observed today - the heart is turned entirely to itself.
A man rests on his side - at his back one man kills another.
I can show you the son as attacker, the brother as enemy, man murdering his father.

10 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 45 to 49)

r nb mH m mr wi
bw nfr nb rwi
Aq tA SA.tw r.f hp
HDD m iryt wS.tw m gmyt
nHm xt s r.f rdi n nty m rwty
di.i n.k nb m nhp rwty Htp
tm ir mH.n.f ir Sw
tw r rdit xt msdd r sgr r mdw
wSb.tw Ts a pr Xr xt
mdw.tw m smA sw

Every mouth is filled with 'love me'
Happiness is all gone
The land is laid waste, even though law is decreed for it,
Destruction is a fact - ruin is reality.
What was done is undone.
A man's property is taken from him, and given to the outsider.
Let me show you the master in grief, the outsider in peace.
The one who never received his fill, can now go and empty.
Goods are given out only hatefully, to silence the mouth of the speaker.
The phrase is answered at the arm raised with a stick,
and people speak by murder.

11 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 49 to 54)

xn n mdt Hr ib mi xt
nn wxd.n.tw pr n r
and tA aSA xrpw.f
wS.f aA bAkw.f
ktt it wr itp
xAa.tw.s m wbn
iw ra iwd.f sw rmT
wbn.f wn wnwt
nn rx.tw xpr mtrt
nn tn.tw Swt
nn bAq Hr dgA.tw
nn ibH irty m mw
wnn.f m pt mi iaH
nn th nw.f nw Ssa
wn is stwt.f m Hr m sp m imyw-HAt

Speech alights on the heart like fire
No-one can bear a word from the mouth.
The land is poor, but rich in directors,
It lies ruined, but its labours are great
The harvest is small, the grain-measure great,
and must be measured out in daylight.
Ra distances himself from mankind.
He rises and the hour is there,
but no-one knows if midday will come.
Shadows cannot be made out,
sight cannot shine at being watched,
eyes cannot brim with water,
as he is there in the sky like the moon,
and his time for knowing cannot be impaired.
Yet his rays are in sight, in the (same) moments as for the ancestors.

12 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 54 to 57)

di.i n.k tA m sny mny
sA a m nb a tw nD xrt nD xrt
di.i n.k Xry r Hry
pXhr.ti m-sA pXr Xt
anx.tw m Xrt-nTr
iw Hwrw r irt aHa wrt r .. r xpr
in SwAw wnm.sn t
bAkw bHqw
nn wn HqA-anD r tA msxnt nt nTr nb

Let me show you the land in turmoil
the powerless is now powerful, the one who should greet receives the greeting,
and let me show you the lower made the upper,
stirred around after stirring around the body.
People live in the cemetery,
and the humble will acquire great wealth until [uproar] breaks out.
It is the vagabonds who can eat bread,
the labourers who enforce labour (?).
The Province of the Sun-god can no longer be the birth place of any god.


13 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 57 to 61)

nswt pw r iyt n rsy
imny mAa xrw rn.f
sA Hmt pw n tA sty
ms pw n Xn nxn
iw.f r Ssp HDt
iw.f r wTs dSrt
iw.f smA sxmty
iw.f r sHtp nbwy
m mrt.sn
pXr iHy m xfa wsr m nwd

There is a king who will come from the south
Ameny true of voice is his name.
He is the son of a woman of the Land of the Bow,
he is a child of the Heartland of Nekhen.
He will take up the White Crown,
he will raise up the Red Crown,
he will unite the Two Mighty Goddesses,
he will appease the Two Lord Gods,
with what they desire.
The field circuit is in his grasp, the oar in the jump.


14 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 61 to 65)

rSy rmT nt hAw.f
sA n s r irt rn.f
r nHH Hna Dt
wAyw r Dwt kAyw sbiw
sxr.n.sn r.sn n snd.f
iw aAmw r xr n Sat.f
timHw r xr n nswt.f
iw sbiw nw nDnD.f XAkw-ib n SfSft.f
iw arat imt xnty Hr shrt n.f XAkw-ib

Rejoice O people of his time
The son of a man will make his name
for eternity and everlasting time.
Those who fall into evil, or plan treason,
they will be overthrown on themselves for fear of him,
the Asiatics will fall at his slaughter,
the Libyans will fall at his fire,
the rebels at his force, the evil-hearted at his majesty.
The rising cobra who is in the palace will overpower the evil-hearted for him.

15 (Papyrus Hermitage 1116B, lines 65 to 71)

tw r qd inbw HqA anx wDA snb
nn rdit hAy aAmw r kmt
dbH.sn mw mi sxrw SsA
r rdit swri awt.sn
iw mAat r iyt r st.s
isft dr.ti r rwty
rSy gmH.ty.fy
wnn.ty.fy Hr Sms nswt
iw rx xt r sti n.i mw
mAA.f Ddt.n.i xpr

They will build the Walls of the Ruler may he live, prosper, and be well,
to prevent the Asiatics from coming down into Egypt
if they request water in the proper manner,
to let their flocks drink.
Right is returned to its place,
and evil is expelled.
rejoice whoever will see,
whoever will live in the following of the king.
The wise man will pour water for me,
when he sees what I have said come to pass.


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