The Forgotten Books of Eden, by Rutherford H. Platt, Jr., , at sacred-texts.com
The ruse succeeds. Ahikar answers every question of Pharaoh. The boys on the eagles are the climax of the day. Wit, so rarely found in the ancient Scriptures, is revealed in Verses 34-45.
AND Haiqâr went to his dwelling, and wrote a letter, saying in it on this wise:
2 From Sennacherib king of Assyria. and Nineveh to Pharaoh king of Egypt.
3 'Peace be to thee, O my brother! and what we make known to thee by this is that a brother has need of his brother, and kings of each other, and my hope from thee is that thou wouldst lend me nine hundred talents of gold, for I need it for the victualling of some of the soldiers, that, I may spend it upon them. And after a little while I will send it thee.'
4 Then he folded the letter, and presented it on the morrow to Pharaoh.
5 And when he saw it, he was perplexed and said to him, 'Verily I have never heard anything like this language from any one.'
6 Then Haiqâr said to him, 'Truly this is a debt which thou owest to my lord the king.'
7 And Pharaoh accepted this, saying, 'O Haiqâr, it is the like of thee who are honest in the service of kings.
8 Blessed be God who hath made thee perfect in wisdom and hath adorned thee with philosophy and knowledge.
9 And now, O Haiqâr, there remains what we desire from thee, that thou shouldst build as a castle between heaven and earth.'
10 Then said Haiqâr, 'To hear is to obey. I will build thee a castle according to thy wish and choice; but, O my lord I prepare us lime and stone and clay and workmen, and I have skilled builders who will build for thee as thou desirest.'
11 And the king prepared all that for him, and they went to a wide place; and Haiqâr and his boys came to it, and he took the eagles and the young men with him; and the king and all his nobles went and the whole city assembled, that they might see what Haiqâr would do.
12 Then Haiqâr let the eagles out of the boxes, and tied the young men on their backs, and tied the ropes to the eagles' feet, and let them go in the air. And they soared upwards, till they remained between heaven and earth.
13 And the boys began to shout, saying, 'Bring bricks, bring clay, that we may build the king's castle, for we are standing idle!'
14 And the crowd were astonished and perplexed, and they wondered. And the king and his nobles wondered.
15 And Haiqâr and his servants began to beat the workmen, and they shouted for the king's troops, saying to them, 'Bring to the skilled workmen what they want and do not hinder them from their work.'
16 And the king said to him, 'Thou art mad; who can bring anything up to that distance?'
17 And Haiqâr said to him, 'O my lord! how shall we build a castle in the air? and if my lord the king were here, he would have built several castles in a single day.'
18 And Pharaoh said to him, 'Go, O Haiqâr, to thy dwelling, and rest, for we have given up building the castle, and to-morrow come to me.'
19 Then Haiqâr went to his dwelling and on the morrow he appeared before Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said, 'O Haiqâr, what news is there of the horse of thy lord? for when he neighs in the country of Assyria and Nineveh, and our mares hear his voice, they cast their young.'
20 And when Haiqâr heard this speech he went and took a cat, and bound her and began to flog her with a violent flogging till the Egyptians heard it, and they went and told the king about it.
21 And Pharaoh sent to fetch Haiqâr, and said to him, 'O Haiqâr, wherefore dost thou flog thus and beat that dumb beast?'
22 And Haiqâr said to him, my lord the king! verily she has done an ugly deed to me, and has deserved this drubbing and flogging, for my lord king Sennacherib had given me a fine cock, and he had a strong true voice and knew the hours of the day and the night.
23 And the cat got up this very night and cut off its head and went away, and because of this deed I have treated her to this drubbing.'
24 And Pharaoh said to him, 'O Haiqâr, I see from all this that thou art growing old and art in thy dotage, for between Egypt and Nineveh there are sixty-eight parasangs, and how did she go this very night and cut off the head of thy cock and come back?'
25 And Haiqâr said to him, 'O my lord! if there were such a distance between Egypt and Nineveh how could thy mares hear when my lord the king's horse neighs and cast their young? and how could the voice of the horse reach to Egypt?'
26 And when Pharaoh heard
that, he knew that Haiqâr had answered his questions.
27 And Pharaoh said, 'O Haiqâr, I want thee to make me ropes of the sea-sand.'
28 And Haiqâr said to him, "O my lord the king! order them to bring me a rope out of the treasury that I may make one like it.'
29 Then Haiqâr went to the back of the house, and bored holes in the rough shore of the sea, and took a handful of sand in his hand, sea-sand, and when the sun rose, and penetrated into the holes, he spread the sand in the sun till it became as if woven like ropes.
30 And Haiqâr said, 'Command thy servants to take these ropes, and whenever thou desirest it, I will weave thee some like them.'
31 And Pharaoh said, 'O Haiqâr, we have a millstone here and it has been broken and I want thee to sew it up.'
32 Then Haiqâr looked at it, and found another stone.
33 And he said to Pharaoh 'O my lord! I am a foreigner: and I have no tool for sewing.
34 But I want thee to command thy faithful shoemakers to cut awls from this stone, that I may sew that millstone.'
35 Then Pharaoh and all his nobles laughed. And he said, 'Blessed be the Most High God, who gave thee this wit and knowledge.'
36 And when Pharaoh saw that Haiqâr had overcome him, and returned him his answers, he at once became excited, and commanded them to collect for him three years' taxes, and to bring them to Haiqâr.
37 And he stripped off his robes and put them upon Haiqâr, and his soldiers, and his servants, and gave him the expenses of his journey.
38 And he said to him, 'Go in peace, O strength of his lord and pride of his Doctors! have any of the Sultans thy like? give my greetings to thy lord king Sennacherib, and say to him how we have sent him gifts, for kings are content with little.'
39 Then Haiqâr arose, and kissed king Pharaoh's hands and kissed the ground in front of him, and wished him strength and continuance, and abundance in his treasury, and said to him, 'O my lord! I desire from thee that not one of our countrymen may remain in Egypt.'
40 And Pharaoh arose and sent heralds to proclaim in the streets of Egypt that not one of the people of Assyria or Nineveh should remain in the land of Egypt, but that they should go with Haiqâr.
41 Then Haiqâr went and took leave of king Pharaoh, and journeyed, seeking the land of Assyria and Nineveh; and he had some treasures and a great deal of wealth.
42 And when the news reached king Sennacherib that Haiqâr was coming, he went out to meet him and rejoiced over him exceedingly with great joy and embraced him and kissed him and said to him, 'Welcome home: O kinsman! my brother Haiqâr, the strength of my kingdom, and pride of my realm.
43 Ask what thou would'st have from me, even if thou desirest the half of my kingdom and of my possessions.'
44 Then said Haiqâr unto him, 'O my lord the king, live for ever! Show favour, O my lord the king! to Abu Samîk in my stead, for my life was in the hands of God and in his.'
45 Then said Sennacherib the king, 'Honour be to thee, O my beloved Haiqâr! I will make the station of Abu Samîk the swordsman higher than all my Privy Councillors and my favourites.'
46 Then the king began to ask him how he had got on with
[paragraph continues] Pharaoh from his first arrival until he had come away from his presence, and how he had answered all his questions, and how he had received the taxes from him, and the changes of raiment and the presents.
47 And Sennacherib the king rejoiced with a great joy, and said to Haiqâr, 'Take what thou wouldst fain have of this tribute, for it is all within the grasp of thy hand.'
48 And Haiqâr mid: 'Let the king live for ever! I desire naught but the safety of my lord the king and the continuance of his greatness.
49 O my lord! what can I do with wealth and its like? but if thou wilt show me favour, give me Nadan, my sister's son, that I may recompense him for what he has done to me, and grant me his blood and hold me guiltless of it.'
50 And Sennacherib the king said, 'Take him, I have given him to thee.' And Haiqâr took Nadan, his sister's son, and bound his hands with chains of iron, and took him to his dwelling, and put a heavy fetter on his feet, and tied it with a tight knot, and after binding him thus he cast him into a dark room, beside the retiring-place, and appointed Nebu-hal as sentinel over him to give him a loaf of bread and a little water every day.