The Egyptian Book of the Dead's Declaration of Innocence


(ca. 2100-1800 B.C.)


The Declaration of Innocence

To be said on reaching the Hall of the Two Truths so as to purge [name] of any sins committed and to see the face of every god:

Hail to you, great God, Lord of the Two Truths!

I have come to you, my Lord,

I was brought to see your beauty.

I know you, I know the names of the forty-two gods

Who are with you in the Hall of the Two Truths,

Who live by warding off evildoers,

Who drink of their blood,

On that day of judging characters before Wennofer.

Lo, your name is "He-of-Two-Daughters,"

(And) "He-of-Maat's-Two-Eyes."

Lo, I come before you,

Bringing Maat to you,

Having repelled evil for you.

I have not done crimes against people,

I have not mistreated cattle,

I have not sinned in the Place of Truth,

I have not known what should not be known,

I have not done any harm.

I did not begin a day by exacting more than my due,

My name did not reach the bark of the mighty ruler.

I have not blasphemed a god,

I have not robbed the poor.

I have not done what the god abhors,

I have not maligned a servant to his master.

I have not caused pain,

I have not caused tears.

I have not killed,

I have not ordered to kill,

I have not made anyone suffer.

I have not damaged the offerings in the temples,

I have not depleted the loaves of the gods,

I have not stolen the cakes of the dead.

I have not copulated nor defiled myself.

I have not increased nor reduced the measure,

I have not diminished the arura.

I have not cheated in the fields.

I have not added to the weight of the balance,

I have not falsified the plummet of the scales.

I have not taken milk from the mouth of children,

I have not deprived cattle of their pasture.

I have not snared birds in the reeds of the gods,

I have not caught fish in their ponds.

I have not held back water in its season,

I have not dammed a flowing stream,

I have not quenched a needed fire.

I have not neglected the days of meat offerings,

I have not detained cattle belonging to the god,

I have not stopped a god in his procession.

I am pure, I am pure, I am pure, I am pure!

I am pure as is pure that great heron in Hnes.

I am truly the nose of the Lord of Breath,

Who sustains all the people,

On the day of completing the Eye in On,

In the second month of winter, last day,

In the presence of the lord of this land.

I have seen the completion of the Eye in On!

No evil shall befall me in this land,

In this Hall of the Two Truths;

For I know the names of the gods in it,

The followers of the great God!


Credits: Miriam Lichtheim, trans. and ed., Ancient Egyptian Literature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973).