Amenhotep and Amenemope

Published May 30, 2016 by amaic


 Damien F. Mackey



The suggestion may be worth making that Amenhotep son of Hapu could be the same philosophically-minded scribe as the Hebrew Proverbs-influenced sage, Amenemope, for whom (auto)biographical details are almost completely lacking.






According to the following article (, Amenemope [Amen-em-apt] “may have been a contemporary of Amenhotep, son of Hapu”, and, furthermore, the two names may be compatible:


2 The person of Amen-em-apt and his time.

► a poetical name & family for a wise man ?

The sage of our instruction is called Amen-em-apt, son of Kanakht, may have been a contemporary of Amenhotep, son of Hapu. He could also have been a literary figure used by a wise Ramesside scribe. Except for “overseer of fields” (1:13) and “scribe who determined the offerings for all the gods” (1:22), no other of the title cited by our sage are found on the monuments or papyri! His titles seem paraphrases in literary, poetical form.


Let us analyze our sage’s poetical name: Amen-em-apt, son of Kanakht, husband of Tawosre, and father of many children, the youngest being Hor-em-maakher, the recipient of the wisdom teachings of his father, a series of living pictures dealing with the “teaching for life”, enabling everybody to receive the greatest gift of god, namely Maat, justice & truth, nurtured on the Nile over many centuries.


“Amen-em-apt” (“Amun in Karnak”) can be found from the XVIIIth Dynasty to Ptolemaic times (Amenophis or Amenemope). It appears that several wise men of Egypt bore this name: “Amenemopi”, author of some proverbs written on the back of the Budge Papyrus, “Amenhotep, son of Hapu”, a learned scribe and counselor of Amenhotep III, and our “Amen-em-apt, son of Kanakht”.


“Apt” (“ipt”) means “count, calculate, reckon”. The name “Amen-em-apt”, ending with the determinative of “place” (O1), is suggestive of the controller of the measure and recorder of the markers on the borders of the fields mentioned in the prologue.

“Kanakht” or “Strong Bull” is unusual as a name, but a regular part of Pharaoh’s Horus name throughout the New Kingdom. “Tawosre” (“the powerful”) is frequent in the XVIIIth Dynasty and born by a queen of the XIXth, consort of Pharaoh Seti II. In the New Kingdom, “Hor-em-maakher” or “Horus of the Horizon” (Harmachis), was identified with the sphinx at Giza, looking toward the eastern horizon. The name dates as far back as the XIIth Dynasty, and seems to appear in the Saite period as well as in early Ptolemaic documents.

[End of quote]


Whilst the Egyptian names of the parents of Amenemope, Kanakht and Tawosre, differ from those known for the parents of Amenhotep, namely, Hapu and Itu, the latter two may be non-Egyptian names. For Amenhotep, I have tentatively identified as the Jewish king, Asa, whose father was (Greek) Abiu (= Hapu?), in Hebrew, Abijah:


King Asa Like Solomon a Steward for Pharaoh


Earlier in the 18th dynasty, during the reigns of the Thutmoside pharaohs, including Hatshepsut, the wisdom writings (Psalms, Proverbs) and (love) poetry of kings David and Solomon – and indeed various Torah precepts and images as well – had been overflowing into Egypt. See my:


Solomon and Sheba


And it would only be expected, if Amenhotep son of Hapu really were Asa, a descendant of David and Solomon, that such Hebrew influence would continue into the reigns of pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV Akhnaton – whose Sun Hymn, as we saw, famously mirrors Psalm 104.

Now the wisdom writing of Amenemope is famous for its resemblance to the Hebrew Proverbs. But, typically, scholars would give precedence to the non-bliblical writings. For example (


Scholars have long noticed the many similarities between the book of Proverbs, specifically chapters 22:17-24:22, and the Egyptian book The Instruction of Amenemope. While there have been different proposals as to who borrowed from whom, the general consensus seems to be that the Hebrew author(s) borrowed from Amenemope.

This ‘expert’ tendency sorely needs to be turned around!

There is a continuity here, because the instructions of Amenemope are also likened to those of Ptahhotep (biblical Joseph), who well pre-dated the Solomonic era.

Here in the very Solomon-like Proverbs of Amenemope, we may have some of the lost Instructions and precepts of Amenhotep son of Hapu.


Give thine ears, hear what is said, give thy mind to interpret them; to put them in your heart is good.


Bow down thine ear and hear the words of the wise and apply thine heart unto my knowledge (xxii. 17).


Remove not the boundary stone on the boundaries of the fields and displace not the measuring cord, be not covetous of a yard of ploughland and tear not down the widow’s boundary.


Be not covetous of the poor man’s goods and hunger not for his bread.

Set not the balance wrongly, tamper not with the weights, reduce not the portions of the corn measure.


Bring nobody into misfortune before the judges and warp not justice.

Ridicule not the blind man nor be scornful of any dwarf, render not vain the intentions of the lame.



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