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Egypt: The Installation of the Vizier


The Installation of the Vizier

From the Tomb of Rekhmira, Vizier of Tuthmosis III

The Speech of the Pharaoh His majesty said to him:
Look to the office of vizier,
Watch over all that is done in it,
Lo, it is the pillar for the whole land.
Lo, being vizier,
Lo, it is not sweet.
Lo, it is bitter as gall.
Lo, he is the copper that shields the gold of his maters house,
Lo, he is not one who bends his face to magistrates and councilors,
Not one who makes of anyone his client.
Lo, what a man does in his mater's house will be his happiness,
Lo, he shall not act [in the house] of another.


Lo, petitioners come from the South and the North,
The whole land is eager for [the counsel of the vizier];
See to it that all is done according to law,
That all is done exactly right,
In [giving a man] his vindication.
Lo, the magistrate who judges in public,
Wind and water report all that he does,
Lo, there is none who ignores his deeds.
If he makes [a mistake in deciding] his case,
And fails to reveal it through the mouth of the clerk,
It will be known through the mouth of him whom he judged,
Through his telling it to the clerk by saying:
"This is not the decision of my case."
If the petitioner is sent....or magistrate,
One will not ignore what he did.
Lo, the magistrate's safety is acting by the rule,
In acting on a petitioner's speech;
"I was not given my right."
[A proverb in The Book of Memphis Says:
"Gracious king, lawful vizier."]

Avoid what was said of the vizier Akhtoy,
That he denied his won people for the sake of others,
For fear of being falsely called [partial].
If one of them appealed a judgement,
That he had planned to do to him,
He persisted in denying him,
But that is excess of justice.
Do not judge unfairly,
God abhors partiality;
This is an instruction,
Plan to act accordingly.
Regard one you know like one you don't know,
One near you like one far from you.
The magistrate who acts like this,
He will succeed here in this place.

Do not pass over a petitioner,
Before you have considered his speech.
When a petitioner is about to petition you,
Don't dismiss what he says as already said.
Deny him after you let him hear
On what account you have denied him.
Lo, it is said:
"A petitioner wants his plea considered
Rather than have his case adjudged."
Do not scold a man wrongfully,
Scold where scolding is due.
Cast your fear, that you be feared,
The feared magistrate is a magistrate.
A magistrate's worth is that he does right,
But if a man makes himself feared a million times,
People think something is wrong with him,
And they don't say of him, "He is a man."

This too is said:
A magistrate who lies comes out as he deserves.
Lo, you succeed in doing this office by doing justice,
Lo, doing justice is what is wanted in the actions of the vizier,
Lo, the vizier is its true guardian since the time of god.
Lo, what one says of the vizier's chief scribe:
"Scribe of Justice" one says of him.
As to the hall in which you judge,
It has a room full of [written] decisions.
He who does justice before all people,
He is the vizier.
Lo, a man remains in his office,
If he acts as he is charged,
Innocent is the man who acts as he is told.
Do not act willfully
In a case where the law is known;
For as regards the headstrong man,
The Lord prefers the timid to the headstrong man.
Act then in accord with the charge given you.
Lo, [it is laid upon you].

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