Papyrus Lansing

Late-Egyptian Miscellanies
Ancient Near East

Young fellow, how conceited you are! You do not listen when I speak. Your heart is denser than a great obelisk, a hundred cubits high, ten cubits thick. When it is finished and ready for loading, many work gangs draw it. It hears the words of men ; it is loaded on a barge. Departing from Yebu it is conveyed, until it comes to rest on its place in Thebes. So also a cow is bought this year, and it plows the following year. It learns to listen to the herdsman; it only lacks words. Horses brought from the field, they forget their mothers. Yoked they go up and down on all his majesty's errands. They become like those that bore them, that stand in the stable. They do their utmost for fear of a beating. But though I beat you with every kind of stick, you do not listen. If I knew another way of doing it, I would do it for you, that you might listen. You are a person fit for writing, though you have not yet known a woman. Your heart discerns, your fingers are skilled, your mouth is apt for reciting. Writing is more enjoyable than enjoying a basket of . . . and beans; more enjoyable than a mother's giving birth, when her heart knows no distaste. She is constant in nursing her son; her breast is in his mouth every day. Happy is the heart of him who writes; he is young each day.

Isaiah 1:3

Hebrew Bible

1 Here is the message about Judah and Jerusalem that was revealed to Isaiah son of Amoz during the time when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah reigned over Judah. 2 Listen, O heavens, pay attention, O earth! For the Lord speaks: “I raised children, I brought them up, but they have rebelled against me! 3 An ox recognizes its owner, a donkey recognizes where its owner puts its food; but Israel does not recognize me, my people do not understand. 4 Beware sinful nation, the people weighed down by evil deeds. They are offspring who do wrong, children who do wicked things. They have abandoned the Lord, and rejected the Holy One of Israel. They are alienated from him. 5 Why do you insist on being battered? Why do you continue to rebel? Your head has a massive wound, your whole heart is sick.

 Notes and References

"... Another way of illustrating the idea that the world exhibits an order that is not always observed by human beings is to contrast human behavior with that of animals or natural phenomenon. The most famous example is Isaiah 1:2-3 ... there are also several cases in Jeremiah ... The theme continues in 1 Enoch, showing that 'natural order' thinking by no means died out in the Second Temple period ... Compare 1 Enoch 101 where sailors fear the sea, yet sinners do not fear God; and the sea itself carries out God's command, but sinners do not. The same way of arguing can be found in the following Egyptian text, in which a teacher rebukes his pupil ..."

Barton, John Ethics in Ancient Israel (pp. 109-110) Oxford University Press, 2014

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