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
Previously in the Story of Ahikar
Nadan has convinced the King that his adviser Ahikar is conspiring with his enemies and went to the field to see if this is true. He see his army arrayed for battle and they come towards the king in a show of force to impress the Pharaoh of Egypt. The king is convinced that Ahikar has betrayed him, while Ahikar is unaware. But when Ahikar finds the forged letter in his handwriting and with his seal, he is devastated. The king has sentenced him to death by the sword and Ahikar has no defense. Is this the end of Ahikar? Will the Most High grant Ahikar the wisdom to escape this snare? Let's find out!
Here resumes the story of Ahikar.
The name of the swordsman was Abu Samik. And the king said to him "Oh swordsman, arise and go. Cleave the neck of Ahikar at the door of his house and cast away his head from his body 100 cubits."
Then Ahikar knelt before the king and said "Let my king live forever. If you desire to slay me, let your will be fulfilled. The wicked man must give an account of his wickedness, but I know that I am not guilty. Nevertheless, my king, I beg you and of your friendship, permit the swordsman to give my body to my slaves, that they may bury me. Let your servant be your sacrifice."
The king arose and commanded the swordsman to do with him according to his will. He immediately commanded his servants to take Ahikar and the swordsman and go with him naked that they may slay him.
And when Ahikar knew for certain that he was to be slain, he sent a message to his wife and said to her "Come out and meet me and let there be three thousand young virgins with you. Dress them in gowns of purple and silk that they may weep for me before my death. And prepare a feast for the swordsman and for his servants. Mingle plenty of wine that they may drink."
And she did all that he commanded her. She was very wise, clever and prudent and she combined all possible courtesy and learning.
And when the army of the king and the swordsman arrived, they found the table set in order and the wine and the luxurious meats and they began eating and drinking until they were gorged and drunken.
The Ahikar took the swordsman aside away from the company and said "Oh Abu Samik, do you not remember that when Sarhadum the king (the father of Sennacherib) wanted to kill you, I took you and hid you in a certain place until the king's anger subsided and he asked for you? And when I brought you into his presence, he rejoiced in you. Remember now the kindness that I did for you, for I know the king shall repent himself concerning me and will be wroth with great wrath about my execution. I am not guilty. When you present me before the king in his palace, it shall be that you are met with much good fortune. Nadan, the son of my sister, deceived me and has done this bad deed to me and the king will repent having slain me. I have a cellar in the garden of my house that no one knows of. Hide me in the cellar and inform only my wife. I have a slave in prison who deserves to be killed, bring him out and dress him in my clothes and command the servants when they are drunk to slay him. They will not know who it is they are killing. Cast his head 100 cubits from his body and give his body to my slaves that they may bury him and you shall have laid up a great treasure with me."
And the swordsman did as Ahikar had commanded him and he went to the king and said to him "May you live forever!"
Then the wife of Ahikar let down to him in the hiding place every week what sufficed for him and no one knew of it but herself.
This concludes this portion of the Story of Ahikar.
Ahikar the Survivor
Stay tuned to discover the future for Ahikar. Will the king repent of having Ahkiar killed? Will Ahikar present himself alive to the king? Will God receive the Glory for the wisdom of Ahikar? Let's find out in the next installment.
Bless the Most High! Let us bless His Holy Name in fear and reverence.
Bless the Most High!
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