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Book of the Dead Chapter 125B

the 'negative Confession' is one of the most distinctive, innovative and best known features of the Book of the Dead. The deceased declares innocence of one sin in turn before each of forty-two assessors. There are no written sources earlier than the New Kingdom (about 1550-1069 BC). Later temple oaths are modelled on the same lines, and it is possible that the denial of sins in this manner derives from a ritual of taking an oath of purity before entering temple service. Affirmations of righteousness are known from earlier monuments, and presented on one Twelfth Dynasty Abydos stela in a graphic form that anticipates the Book of the Dead tabulation.

These 42 declarations are found in the papyrus of Maiherperi, mid-Eighteenth Dynasty:

(upper register)

i.wsx nmt m iwnw n ir.i isft
i.Hpt sDt prt m Xr-aHA n awA.i
i.fndy pr m xmnw n awn ib.i
i.am-Swt pr m qrt n tA.i
i.nHA-Hr pr m r-sTAw n smA.i rmt
i.rwty pr m pt n HD.i dbHw
i.irty.fy-m-ds pr m xm n ir.i xbt
i.nbi pr m xtxt n TA.i xt-nTr
i.sd-qsw pr m Hnn-nswt n Dd.i grg
i.wd-nsr pr m Hwt-kA-ptH n nHm.i wnmt
i.qrrty pr m imnt n nkn.i
i.HD-ibHw pr m tA-S n thA.i
i.wnm-snf pr m nmt n smA.i awt n nTr
i.wnm-bskw pr m mabAyt n ir.i hnyt
i.nb-mAat pr m mAaty n awA.i Hnt-t
i.tnmy pr m bAst n smtmt.i
i.aAdy pr m iwnw n Sm r.i
i.dwdw pr m andty n sxwn.i nis Hr xt.i
i.wAmmty pr m xbt n nk.i Hmt TAy
i.mAA-int.f pr m pr-mnw n dAdA.i
i.Hry wrw pr m iAmt†† n ir.i hrw


(lower register)

i.xmy pr m st-wrt n th.i
i.sd-xrw pr m wryt n TA.i††
i.nxn pr m hqa-and n sX.i Hr mdt nt mAat
i.sr-xrw pr m wnsy n Xnn.i
i.bAsty pr m StAyt n srm.i
i.Hr.f-HA.f pr m tpHt n nwH.i n nknk
i.tA-rdwy pr m ixxw n am ib.i
i.knmty pr m knmt n Snt.i
i.in-Htp.f pr m sAw n pr a.i
i.nb-Hrw pr m dnft n As ib.i
i.sxry pr m Twnt n th.i iwn n ia nTr
i.abwy pr m sAwty n aSA xrw.i Hr mdt
i.nfr-tm pr m Hwt-kA-ptH n iwyt.i n ir.i bin
i.tm-sp pr m ddw n ir.i Snt nswt
i.ir-m-ib.f pr m Tbw n rhn.i mw-di-mw (?)
i.ihy pr m nw n qa xrw.i
i.HD-rxyt pr m wnn.f n Snt.i nTr
i.nHbt-nfrt pr m gm n ir.i sfw
i.nHb-kAw pr m niwt n ir stnt r.i
i.Dsr-tp pr m niwt n wr Xrt n is Hr xt.i
i.inn-a.f pr m niwt n sAt.i nTr m niwt.i

O broad of step who comes from Iunu I have done no evil
O flame embracer who comes from Kheraha I have not robbed
O beaked god who comes from Khemenu I have not been greedy
O swallower of shades who comes from the cavern I have not stolen
O flaming faced who comes from Rosetjau I have not killed anyone
O Double Lion who comes from the sky I have not taken from offering lists
O fiery eyed who comes from Khem I have not committed corruption
O flaming one who comes from Khetkhet I have not stolen godís offerings
O breaker of bones who comes from Henennesut I have not told lies
O flame thrower who comes from Hutkaptah I have not removed food
O cavern-dweller who comes from the West I have not injured
O white of teeth who comes from Fayum I have not broken rules
O blood eater who comes from the slaughterhouse I have not slain godís cattle
O entrails eater who comes from the court of thirty I have not mismeasured
O lord of truth who comes from the Two Truths I have not waylaid rationing
O wanderer who comes from Bast I have not informed
O pale one who comes from Iunu I have not gossiped
O weak one who comes from Andjety I have not sued except for my own
O Wamemty who comes from the tribunal I have not slept with a manís wife
O watcher of his bringing who comes from Permin I have not masturbated
O head of the great gods who comes from Imu I have not terrorised
O overturner who comes from the great place I have broken no rules
O raiser of discord who comes from the shrine I have not stolen
O Child who comes from Heqaandj I was not deaf to words of truth
O predicter of the voice who comes from Wensy I have not been turbulent
O one of Bast who comes from the sanctuary I have not turned an eye
O face behind him who comes from the hollow I have not defiled or debauched
O scorch-legged who comes from the twilight I have not been dishonest
O one of darkness who comes from the darkness I have not slandered
O bringer of his offering who comes from Sais I have not been violent
O lord of faces who comes from Nedjfet I have not been quick tempered
O accuser who comes from Tjunet I have not broken rules of purity
O horned one who comes from Asyut I have not multiplied voice in speech
O Nefertem who comes from Hutkaptah I have not been evil, not done evil
O Temsep who comes from Djedu I have not conspired against the king
O wilful one who comes from Tjebu I have not been disloyal
O watery one who comes from Nun I have not raised my voice
O light of the people who comes from his being I have not blasphemed
O yoker of good who comes from Gem I have not taken airs
O Nehebkau who comes from the town†† I have not selected just for my good
O distinct of head who comes from the town†† I have been rich only on my own
O bringer of his armful who comes from the town I have not been impious at my town

††There is a dominant sequence, along the lines of the version above, but there are variants in sequence, in alignment of deities to sins denied, and even in the number of declarations. Papyrus Cairo 2512 (Eighteenth Dynasty) has a set of thirty-two:

i.wsx nmt pr m iwnw

n Snn.i nTr
i.Hpt sDt prt m Xr-aHA n Sm r.i
i.fnd pr m xmnw n ir.i Snt nTr
i.amt prt m qrrt n HD.i Hr qd
i.(n)HA-Hr pr m r-sTAw n th.i Hr mw
i.rwty pr m pt n ir.i sAwt
i.irty.fy-dm pr m xm n ir.i ammt
i.(n)bi pr nxt n ir.i nw nknk
i.sd-qsw pr m Hnn-nswt n ir.i it m ir.i
i.wd-nst pr m tpH n ir.i wn.i Hr.i
i.qrrty pr m imntt n Xn.i
i.HD-ibHw pr m tA-S n snknk.i
i.imy bsw pr m mabAyt n ir.i wnw
i.nb-mAat pr m mAaty n ir.i tAw-r
i.tnmyt n ir.i ...
i.nb Hrw pr n Dw-ft n ir.i iwyt
i.sry pr ... n hb wnw mw.i
i.nfr-Hr pr m Hwt-kA-ptH n ir.i As-ib
i.nwn m qA-xrw n ir.i knm
i.nHb-kAw pr m nfrt n ir.i ryt
i.aAy pr m iwnw n ir.i smA.f
i.dwdw pr m andty n th.i
i.wAmmt pr m xbt n nk.i
i.mA-inn pr m sy n tA.i
i.hrr wr pr m iAAmw n Dd.i grg
i.xmy pr m kAw-rr n ir.i bwt st wrt
i.rwdw pr m wr n HD.i dbHw
i.nxn pr m hqA-and n (s)mA.i rmT
i.rswdw pr m wnsy n awn ib.i
i.bAstt prt StA n awn.i
i.Hr.f-HA.f pr m tpH n ir.i isft
i.tAw pr m xxw n ir.i ...

†† ††††


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