“Incline thine ears to hear my sayings,
And apply thine heart to their comprehension.
For it is a profitable thing to put them in thy heart.”
Composed in Ancient Egypt between 1550 and 1070 BC The Wisdom of Amenemope is regarded as a masterpiece. Egypt, prosperous and happy, had risen to the peak of its power. Of particular interest to scholars is the relationship of Amenemope to the Book of Proverbs.
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
The quote is Proverbs 22:17-18. The Hebrew version is practically a literal translation from the Egyptian. The King James Version, after successive translations through many bibles, still captures its flavor.
During the time of Amenemope, the tribes of Israel had become a unified nation. The influence of Egypt on the Hebrews was profound, with Amenemope often cited as the foremost example.
Controversy is still afoot, though, regarding whom God inspired first, the Hebrews or the Egyptians. At the risk of sounding less than worshipful, permit me to suggest: Writing that is worthy survives on its own merit.
The wisdom of Amenemope is timeless.