What Is The Book of Ahikar?
This is an original retelling (paraphrase) of the Wisdom of Ahikar, originally posted on Steemit.com about four years ago. This is updated and reposted content for a new audience and for a new platform (HIVE).
The Wisdom of Ahikar is one of the most ancient sources of human thought and wisdom. There are elements of this story within the scriptures, both the Torah and the Gospels and Epistles.
The date of this story has been a subject of lively discussion. Scholars finally put it down about the First Century when they were proved in error by the original story turning up in an Aramaic papyrus of 500 B. C. among the ruins of Elephantine.
The book of Ahikar is not in the Biblical canon, but has some credentials that lend it some biblical authority. The story of Ahikar fits within the Biblical story of the Assyrian conquest of Israel. One story, preserved in the Catholic canon, is the Book of Tobit. This man Tobit was of the tribe of Naphtali, a Hebrew
This book tells the story of Tobit, son of Tobiel, son of Hananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, son of Raphael, son of Raguel, of the family of Asiel and the tribe of Naphtali. Tobit 1:1
The book of Tobit mentions Ahikar and his son Nadan by name and even includes elements of this story. Clearly the author of Tobit was familiar with the story of Ahikar, since the text of Tobit lists Ahikar as being the nephew of Tobit.
Ahikar the son of my brother Anael, was appointed chancellor of the exchequer for the kingdom and given the main ordering of affairs. Ahikar then interceded for me and I was allowed to return to Nineveh, since Ahikar had been chief cupbearer, keeper of the signet, administrator and treasurer under Sennacherib king of Assyria, and Esarhaddon had kept him in office. He was a relation of mine; he was my nephew. Tobit 1:21-22
Resuming the Story
We left the story off where Ahikar took his son Nadan and placed him before the king. The king approved of him, so Ahikar began "cramming" his head with wisdom and knowledge.
Is this the best way to learn wisdom? Let's see what happens with Nadan.
Here resumes the story of Ahikar.
These are the proverbs that Ahikar spoke, and when he had finished these injunctions and proverbs to Nadan, the son of his sister, he imagined that he would keep them all and did not know that Nadan was displaying weariness and contempt and mockery towards him.
Afterwards, Ahikar sat still at his house and delivered all of his goods to Nadan. He also delivered all of his servants and his handmaidens and the horses and the cattle and everything else that he had possessed and gained. And the power of bidding and of forbidding remained in the hands of Nadan.
And Ahikar sat at rest in his house and every now and then Ahikar went and paid his respects to the king and returned home.
Now when Nadan perceived that the power of bidding and forbidding was in in his hands, he despised the position of Ahikar and scoffed at him and set about blaming him whenever he appeared. He said "My uncle Ahikar has become senile now, he knows nothing anymore." He began to beat the servants and the handmaidens and to sell the horses and the camels and spend all that his uncle Ahikar had owned.
If that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:48-51
And when Ahikar saw that he had no compassion on his servants, nor on his household, he arose and chased him from his house and sent to informed the king that he had scattered his possessions and his provisions.
And the king arose and called Nadan and said to him "While Ahikar remains in health, no one shall rule over his goods, nor over his household, nor over his possessions." And the hand of Nadan was lifted off from his uncle Ahikar and from all his goods.
And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:47-48
Ahikar did not go in or out, nor did he greet Nadan any longer and Ahikar regretted of his work with the son of his sister, Nadan and he continued to be very sorrowful.
What a surprising development. Will Nadan become wise?
Next installment, we will continue with the story. Much more to come! Let us bless His Holy Name in fear and reverence.
Bless the Most High!
Bless the Most High!
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