In my last post I began to discuss Jesus’ parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus from Luke 16) and I mentioned there is a very similar tale in ancient Egyptian lore, about a man named Setne and his adult son Si-Osire.

In the story the two of them are looking out the window of their house and see the coffin of a rich man being carried out to the cemetery with great honors.  They then see the corpse of a poor beggar carried out on a mat, with no one attending his funeral.   Setne says to his son: “By Ptah, the great god, how much happier is the rich man who is honored with the sound of wailing than the poor man who is carried to the cemetery.”  Si-Osire surprises his father by telling him that the poor man will be much better off in the afterlife than the rich one.  He surprises him even more by proving it.

He takes Setne down to the underworld, where they see how the unrighteous are punished, including some who are in dire hunger and thirst with food and drink just out of reach above their heads.   In particular, they see a man lying on the ground before a great hall with a large gate; the hinge of the gate is fixed in the man’s eye socket, swiveling as the gate opens and shuts, with the man pleading and crying for help.   This, as it turns out, is the rich man they had seen being taken off for burial with great honor.  When he arrived in the underworld the judges weighed his misdeeds against his unrighteous acts, and he was found seriously wanting.  The gate in the eye socket is his punishment.

Setne and Si-Osire also see

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