Ancient Wisdom: The Book of Ahikar Part 24 of 24
It's been quite a journey, but here we are. We will read the final parables and wisdom given to Nadan before his demise.
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.
Part Twenty One
Part Twenty Two
Part Twenty Three
Part Twenty Four
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
The Final Installment of the Story of Ahikar
So this man Ahikar is the chief adviser for Sennacherib, king of Assyria. He is considered very wise, but he was growing old. Having no son to succeed him, he raised his sister's son Nadan as his replacement. Nadan turns out to be a bad dude. He tricked the king to believe that Ahikar had betrayed him and the king had Ahikar executed. By the wisdom of Ahikar, and the favor of the Most High, Ahikar was spared.
King Sennacherib repented of eliminating Ahikar when he found himself in trouble. Pharaoh of Egypt attempted to take advantage of this situation by demanding some answers to impossible riddles. The king finds out that Ahikar is still alive and he regains his position as adviser to Sennacherib. Ahikar travels to Egypt to match wits with Pharaoh. Ahikar outsmarts Pharaoh and returned to Assyria with many Assyrians and great wealth. The king is very pleased and grants Ahikar anything he wants (up to half his kingdom) and Ahikar says, "give me Nadan." So here we are. Ahikar is about to have some words with Nadan.
The book of Ahikar can be read here.
Here resumes the story of Ahikar.
You have been to me like...
My boy, you have been to me like a lion who made friends with an ass. The ass kept walking before the lion and one day the lion sprang upon the ass and ate it up.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
My boy, you have been to me like a weevil in the wheat, for it is good for nothing and spoils the wheat and gnaws it.
My boy, you have been to me like a man who sowed ten measures of wheat and when it was harvest time, he arose and reaped it and garnered it and threshed it and worked over it until completion and it turned out to be ten measures. The master said to it "Oh you lazy thing! You have not grown and you have not shrunk!"
My boy, You have been to me like the dog that was cold and he went into the potter's house to get warm. And when he had gotten warm, he began to bark at them and they chased him out and beat him that it might not bite them.
My boy, you have been to me like the pig who went into the hot bath with people of quality and when he came out of the hot bath, he saw a filthy hole and he went down and wallowed in it.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." Matthew 7:6
My boy, you have been to me like the goat which joined his friends on their way to the sacrifice and was unable to save himself.
My boy, you have been to me like the dog which is not fed from his hunt and becomes food for the flies.
My boy, you have been to me like the hand that does not labor and plough, but is greedy and cunning and shall be cut away from his shoulder.
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into sheol. Matthew 5:30
My boy, you have been to me like the eye in which light is not seen, the ravens shall pick at it and pluck it out.
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into sheol. Matthew 5:29
My boy, you have been to me like a tree whose branches they were cutting and he said to them "If something of me were not in your hands, truly you would not be able to cut me."
My boy, you have been to me like a cat to whom they said "Stop stealing, unless we make a chain of gold for you and feed you with sugar and almonds." And he said "I am not forgetful of the craft of my father and my mother."
The Parable of the Serpent and the Wolf
My son, you have been to me like the serpent riding on a thorn-bush when he was in the middle of a river. A wolf saw them and said "Mischief upon mischief! Let him who is more mischievous than they direct both of them!" And the serpent said to the wolf "The lambs and the goats and the sheep which you have eaten all your life, will you return them to their fathers and to their parents?" The wolf said "No." And the serpent said to him "I think that you are after me - you are the worst of us."
Ahikar Continues His Lesson
My son, I fed you with good food and you did not feed me with dry bread.
My son, I gave you sugared water to drink and good syrup and you did not give me water from the well to drink.
My son, I taught you and brought you up and you dug a hiding-place for me and hid me.
My son, I brought you up with the best upbringing and trained you like a tall cedar and you have twisted and bent me.
My son, I was had hope concerning you that you would build me a fortified castle, so I might be concealed from my enemies in it, but you became to me like one who digs in the depth of the earth. But YHVH took pity on me and delivered me from your cunning.
My son, I wished you well and you rewarded me with evil and hatefulness. Now I would tear out your eyes and make you food for the dogs and cut out your tongue and take off your head with the edge of the sword and repay you for your abominable deeds.
And when Nadan heard this speach from his uncle Ahikar, he said "Oh my uncle! Deal with me according to your knowledge and forgive me my sins, for who is there who has sinned like me, or who is there who forgives like you? Accept me, Oh my uncle! Now I will serve in your house and groom your horses and sweep up the dung of your cattle and feed your sheep, for I am the wicked and you are the righteous. I am guilty and you are the one who forgives."
Final Words to Nadan
And Ahikar said to him:
Oh my son, you are like the tree which was fruitless beside the water and his master was thinking of cutting it down. He said to him "Move me to another place and if I do not bear fruit, cut me down." And his master said to him "You being beside the water has not borne fruit, how shall you bear fruit when you are in another place?"
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 7:18-19
My boy, the old age of the eagle is better than the youth of the crow.
My boy, they said to the wolf "Keep away from the sheep lest their dust should harm you." And the wolf said "The dregs of the sheep's milk are good for my eyes."
My boy, they made the wolf go to school that he may learn to read and they said to him "Say A, B." He said "Lamb and the goat in my belly."
My boy, they set the ass down at the table and he fell. He began to roll himself in the dust and one said "Let him roll himself for it is his nature, he will not change."
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Neither are you able to do good— you who are accustomed to doing evil. Jeremiah 13:23
My boy, the saying has been confirmed that says "If you beget a boy, call him your son, and if you raise a boy, call him your servant."
My boy, he who does good shall meet with good and he who does evil shall meet with evil, for YHVH repays a man according to the measure of his work.
May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil.” 2 Sam 3:39
My boy, what shall I say any more to you than these sayings? For YHVH knows what is hidden and is acquainted with secrets and mysteries. He will requite you and will judge between me and you and will repay you according to what you deserve.
The Death of Nadan
When Nadan heard that speech from his uncle Ahikar, he swelled up immediatly and became like a blown-out bladder. His limbs swelled and his legs and his feet and his side and he was torn and his belly burst asunder and his entrails were scattered and he perished and died.
His latter end was destruction and he went to sheol. For he who digs a pit for his brother shall fall into it and he who sets up traps shall be caught in them.
This is what happened and what we found about the tale of Ahikar. Praise be to God for ever and ever. Amen and peace.
This chronicle is finished with the help of God, may He be exalted! Amen, amen, amen.
It is my theory that the story was incomplete, likely ending with Ahikar requesting Nadan from the king. The final parables and demise of Nadan was perhaps added to 'finish the chronicle' as the text states. Is the final section authentic? I don't know, but it's certainly a surprise ending indeed! Nadan repents, Ahikar calls upon God to determine Nadan's fate and Nadan dies by super-natural means.
He who does not listen with his ears, they will make him listen with the scruff of his neck! And then inflate like a balloon and burst!
Bless the Name of the Most High, the God of the Heavens, in fear and reverence, that He may receive glory among the nations
Bless the Most High!
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