Orient for North Africa and the Middle East
The Great Hymn to the Aten

The The Great Hymn to the Aten was inscribed in several tombs around Akhetaten (modern Tell el-Amarna), the new capital built by the command of King Akhenaten in the 14th century BCE.
Central to the hymn is Aten's good provisions for the human world. All goods things are connected to the sun, which is said to create life.
There are only two people who fully understand the true nature of Aten, Akhenaten himself and his queen, Nefertiti.

Praise of Re-Harakhti, Rejoicing on the Horizon, in His Name as Shu who is in the Aten-disc, living forever and ever; the living great Aten who is in jubilee, lord of all that the Aten encircles, Lord of Heaven, Lord of Earth, Lord of the House of Aten in Akhetaten; (and praise of) the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, who lives on truth, the Lord of the Two Lands: Nefer-kheperu-Re Wa-en-Re; the Son of Re, who lives on truth, the Lord of Diadems: Akhenaten, long in his lifetime; (and praise of) the Chief Wife of the King, his beloved, the Lady of the Two Lands: Nefer-neferu-Aten Nefertiti, living, healthy, and youthful forever and ever; (by) the Fan-Bearer on the Right Hand of the King ... Eye.

He says:

You appear beautifully on the horizon of heaven,
You living Aten, the beginning of life!
When you have risen on the eastern horizon,
You have filled every land with your beauty.
you are gracious, great, glistening, and high over every land;
Your rays encompass the lands to the limit of all that you have made:
As you are Re, you reach to the end of them;
(you) subdue them (for) your beloved son.
though you are far away, your rays are on earth;
though you are in their faces, no one knows your going.

When you set in the western horizon,
The land is in darkness, in the manner of death.
They sleep in a room, with heads wrapped up,
Nor sees one eye the other.
All their goods which are under their heads might be stolen,
(But) they would not perceive (it).
Every lion has come forth from his den;
All creeping things, they sting.
Darkness is a shroud, and the earth is in stillness,
For he who made them rests in his horizon.

At daybreak, when you arise on the horizon,
When you shine as the Aten by day,
you drive away the darkness and give your rays.
The Two Lands are in festivity every day,
Awake and standing upon (their) feet,
For you have raised them up.
Washing their bodies, taking (their) clothing,
Their arms are (raised) in praise at your appearance.
All the world, they do their work.

All beasts are content with their pasturage;
Trees and plants are flourishing.
The birds which fly from their nests,
Their wings are (stretched out) in praise to your ka.
All beasts spring upon (their) feet.
Whatever flies and alights,
They live when you have risen (for) them.
The ships are sailing north and south as well,
For every way is open at your appearance.
The fish in the river dart before your face;
Thy rays are in the midst of the great green sea.

Creator of seed in women,
you who make fluid into man,
Who maintain the son in the womb of his mother,
Who sooth him with that which stills his weeping,
you nurse (even) in the womb,
Who give breath to sustain all that he has made!
When he descends from the womb to breathe
On the day when he is born,
you open his mouth completely,
you supply his necessities.
When the chicken in the egg speaks within the shell,
you give him breath within it to maintain him.
When you have made him his fulfillment within the egg, to break it,
He comes forth from the egg to speak at his completed (time);
He walks upon his legs when he comes forth from it.

How manifold it is, what you have made!
They are hidden from the face (of man).
O sole god, like whom there is no other!
you did create the world according to your desire,
Whilst you were alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,
And what is on high, flying with its wings.

The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
you set every man in his place,
you supply their necessities:
Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
Their tongues are separate in speech,
And their natures as well;
Their skins are distinguished,
As you distinguish the foreign peoples.
you make a Nile in the underworld,
you bring forth as you desire
To maintain the people (of Egypt)
According as you made them for yourself,
The lord of all of them, wearying (himself) with them,
The lord of every land, rising for them,
The Aten of the day, great of majesty.

All distant foreign countries, you make their life (also),
For you have set a Nile in heaven,
That it may descend for them and make waves upon the mountains,
Like the great green sea,
To water their fields in their towns.
How effective they are, your plans, O lord of eternity!
The Nile in heaven, it is for the foreign peoples
And for the beasts of every desert that go upon (their) feet;
(While the true) Nile comes from the underworld for Egypt.

Your rays suckle every meadow.
When you rise, they live, they grow for you.
you make the seasons in order to rear all that you have made,
The winter to cool them,
And the heat that they may taste you.
you have made the distant sky in order to rise therein,
In order to see all that you make.
While you were alone,
Rising in your form as the living Aten,
Appearing, shining, withdrawing or approaching,
you made millions of forms of yourself alone.
Cities, towns, fields, road, and river --
Every eye beholds you over against them,
For you are the Aten of the day over the earth....

You are in my heart,
And there is no other that knows youy
Save your son Nefer-kheperu-Re Wa-en-Re,
For you have made him well-versed in your plans and in your strength.

The world came into being by your hand,
According as you have made them.
When you have risen they live,
When you set they die.
you are lifetime your own self,
For one lives (only) through you.
Eyes are (fixed) on beauty until you set.
All work is laid aside when you set in the west.
(But) when (you) rise (again),
[Everything is] made to flourish for the king,...
Since you found the earth
And raise them up for your son,
Who came forth from your body: the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, ... Akhenaten, ... and the Chief Wife of the King ... Nefertiti, living and youthful forever and ever.


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