Egyptian Influence on Ancient Hebrew Literature

If you read these, I must assume that you are a true glutton for punishment.

Did ancient Egyptian literature have any influence on ancient Hebrew literature?

Absolutely! Egyptian beliefs impacted Hebrew beliefs, and that impact is definitely shown in Hebrew literature. For instance, the practice of starting the day at sunset comes to Hebrew culture from the Egyptians. The Hebrews were not always monotheists, and many scholars believe that the idea of one deity was picked up by the Hebrews from Akhenaten’s proclamations of Aten as the only deity.

Psalm 104 and the Hymn to Aten are very similar, and the Hebrew psalm may have been derived from the Egyptian hymn. I’ve placed the passages that I see as most similar next to each other below.

20. Thou makest darkness, and it is night; wherein all the beasts of the forest creep forth. II. When you sink to rest below western horizon
earth lies in darkness like death,
Sleepers are still in bedchambers, heads veiled,
eye cannot spay a companion;
All their goods could be stolen away,
heads heavy there, and they never knowing!
Lions come out from the deeps of their caves,
21. The young Lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. II. …snakes bite and sting.
Darkness muffles, and earth is silent:
he who created all things lies low in his tomb.
22. The Sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. III. Earth-dawning mounts the horizon,
glows in the sun-disk as day:
You drive away darkness, offer your arrows of shining,
and the Two Lands are lively with morningsong.
Sun’s children awaken and stand,
for you, golden light, have upraised the sleepers;
Bathed are their bodies, who dress in clean linen,
their arms held high to praise your Return.
23. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. III. …Across the face of the earth
they go to their crafts and professions.
12. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.
13. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of they works.
14. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth.
IV. The herds are at peace in their pastures,
trees and the vegetation grow green;
Birds start from their nests,
wings wide spread to worship your Person;
Small beasts frisk and gambol, and all
who mount into flight or settle to rest
live, once you have shone upon them;
25. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
26. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.
IV. …Ships float downstream or sail for the south,
each path lies open because of your rising;
Fish in the River leap in your sight,
and your rays strike deep in the Great Green Sea.
27. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. VIII. And you place each one in his proper station,
where you minister to his needs;
Each has his portion of food,
and the years of life are reckoned him.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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