Akhenaton – Founder of Monotheism

Ahkenaton assumed the throne in own right, in the sixth year of his co-regency, he changed his own name, and the name of the divinity by whose authority he ruled. To symbolize this, Ahkenaton built a new temple to the Aton midway between his father’s temple at Luxor and the establishment temple of Amon at Karnak.

This Theban temple gives us a glimpse of the early mythology and esotericism of the Aton cult. The flavor is strongly Heliopolitan, even down to the Benben, or sacred stone on which the phoenix alights. Horus and Set are honored in wall inscriptions. From this, it seems that the “monotheistic” Aton cult was composed of a modified triad—Aton, Re-Harrakte and Set—combining to give the Pharaoh Ahkenaton their seal of approval.

And then, in the seventh year of his reign, Ahkenaton shifted gears again. As the new temple of the Aton neared completion, Ahkenaton announced that Amon-Re was no longer the official state deity. That unique relationship was now held by the Aton. And, perhaps feeling oppressed by the magnificence of the Temples of Karnak and Luxor, Ahkenaton decided to move the capital from Thebes to the newly found Achet-Aton (Horizon of the Aton).

As Pharaoh commands, so it happens. An army of architects, builders, scribes and workmen descended on a broad stretch of the Nile Valley just south of the ancient city of Hermopolis. In a little more than a year, a new city, Akhetaton, “Horizon of the Aton,” was created. This was the world’s first venture in conscious city planning and its broad avenues and well-laid out plazas and temples gave it an open, almost modern feeling. In the eighth year of his reign, Ahkenaton left Thebes forever. A glittering flotilla of barges, with perhaps “Aton Sparkles” in the lead, sailed down the Nile carrying the young Pharaoh, his family and all the apparatus of government. To the simple peasant watching from the river bank, it must have seemed as if the very foundations of the world were shifting.

As indeed they were. The new city acted as a tonic on Ahkenaton. He threw himself into reorganizing the state and for awhile even paid attention to the diplomatic needs of his vast Empire. He also spent time organizing the priesthood of the Aton, and undoubtedly spent long hours in direct communication with his divine father, the power of the Aton itself. Barely a year after his departure from the old city of Thebes, Ahkenaton was ready for the next phase in his religious revolution.

He declared war on the gods of Egypt.

Amon-Re had long since been demoted to just another creator god among many such formulations. Now Ahkenaton went even further and declared the temples closed and prohibited the worship of Amon. But he didn’t stop there, the ancient popular festivals of Osiris were banned, as were the worship of Isis, Ptah, Horus, or Mut and Khonsu. All the elaborate interwoven descriptions of divine processes, gathered over the millennia of Egyptian civilization, all were declared to be “unreal” and therefore banned. There was only One God, and that god was the Aton.

Not even Re-Harrakte was spared. Ahkenaton’s vision of the Aton had no place for a falcon-headed phoenix-soul. His god was the literal disk of the sun itself, and the power it represented over life. Only the presence of the King was required to transmit this power directly to humanity.

This insistence on literalism produced the distinctive artistic “naturalism” of the period. We can better understand this not as a movement toward nature in art, but as a religious gesture that deified the literal image of the new God-King Ahkenaton. It was as mannered in its own way as the classical style it replaced.

As might be expected, resistance to changes on this level was intense. The priests of Amon-Re, who had the most to lose, became Ahkenaton’s chief focus. He declared that all reference to the god Amon, and even the plural of god, be erased from all structures in the Two Lands. We can only imagine crews of workmen on scaffolds scouring the vast monuments of Karnak for the offending phrases. Not even the common word for hidden, “amon,” was allowed to remain.

In this Ahkenaton made a major mistake. It meant that his father’s name, Amenhotep, must be obliterated. The King’s name, or ren, was a component of his being. It was thought that a nameless being could not be introduced to the gods and therefore could not be resurrected. The Good King, son of the divine, was in this way turned into a hungry ghost for all of eternity. The Egyptian people might have stood for the demotion of Amon-Re, they might even have come to terms with the loss of the ancient Osirian faith, they could and would have nothing but contempt for a King who destroyed his own father’s immortal soul.

And so, Ahkenaton withdrew, isolating himself with his family and his court in the new, open spaciousness of Akhetaton. While Egypt underwent a cultural revolution far more extreme than Mao’s Great Leap Forward in China, Ahkenaton played with his baby daughters, lovingly embraced his wife and sang hymns to the Aton.

From Syria to the Sudan, the workmen plied their chisels; temples, palaces. private homes and even tombs were invaded so that all mention of the old gods could be banished. Egypt rocked from this unprecedented upheaval. Insulated and isolated in his new city, Ahkenaton recognized no hint of dissension.

For three years, it must have seemed to the group around the young King that the Aton did indeed dwell in the City of His Horizon. The state ran smoothly, the decrees of the King were being carried out, and the plans of the priests of Amon seemed to have been permanently thwarted. Temples to the Aton were built in the remote portions of the Empire and the nobles began to plan elaborate tombs on the outskirts of Akhetaton. Ahkenaton enjoyed his bliss, enjoyed being God, singular. It is from this period that we find reliefs, such as the one in the tomb of Merye, High Priest of the Aton, which depict relaxed open air ceremonies in which the “Heat which is in the Aton” is transferred to the person of the King.

From the hymns on these reliefs, we can see that very little was actually new in the worship of the Aton. They read much like any hymn to any sun-god, with the added twist of Ahkenaton as the sun-god’s authority on earth. Their sole point of uniqueness is their insistence that no other god exists but the Aton. In this way, the hymns of Ahkenaton are the first text in Egyptian or any other history to assert a negative, singular form of Monotheism and all following and therefore derivated Monotheisms like Judaism, Christianity and the Muslim believe contain this new kind of orthodoxy which was unprecedented till then. But, Ahkenaton’s religion of an exclusive divinity was not completely unknown to the New Kingdom Egyptians; they understood that the only parallel to Ahkenaton’s revolution was Set’s usurpation of Osiris and his attempt to become the “only god.” It is impossible to say how a very Setian idea, such as divine exclusivity, became the focus of a unitary Heliopolitian theology. We can only say that by the ninth year of his reign, Ahkenaton had completed on earth the mythical usurpation of divine power traditionally assigned to Set.

“Thou art The Aton, living forever. . .,” declares the shorter hymn found in Merye’s tomb. Undoubtedly Ahkenaton believed this to be literally true. It is not hard to imagine how a mentally unstable young man, burdened with the unimaginable pressures of running a vast Empire and raised to believe that he was a divine individual, might pass into a realm of delusion where he becomes in his own mind the very source of the divine presence. However, inflicting this delusion on his people demonstrates an even more extreme pathology. From the ninth year of Ahkenaton’s reign onward, it is safe to say that Egypt was ruled merely by a madman than by the former visionary.

It is sunset in Akhetaton, barely a decade after its founding. The broad streets are empty, the palaces and temples deserted; wild animals graze in its plazas and only the ghosts remain to worship the Aton in its open and spacious ceremonial arenas. The shadows lengthen across the Horizon of the Aton and even its tombs have been abandoned by the nobles and courtiers of the dead Pharaoh’s court. Soon, all memory of this place and its people would fade, until, two millennia and more later, it became a rock quarry for the Arab city of Kus, a few miles to the south. Another millennium and more would pass before its history was recovered.

The story of Ahkenaton’s fall reads like a Greek tragedy. Indeed, no lesser mind than that of Immanuel Velikovsky found the roots of the Oedipus story in the tangled tale of Akhenanton’s demise. Even Sigmund Freud found Ahkenaton fascinating. He considered the Great Pharaoh to be a forerunner of Moses, and found that the Monotheism of both the Jews and the Christians owed something to the Atonist doctrine of Ahkenaton. But for over three thousand years, all anyone knew of the period was a distorted reference in Manetho, whose works have survived only as quotes in the works of others. In about 80 AD, the Roman/Hebrew author Josephus quoted a long passage of Manetho in his “Contra Apion”. The details of this passage, without directly naming Ahkenaton, are recognizable as the events of the Amarna/Akhetaton period. In fact, they provide an invaluable insight into how Ahkenaton’s revolution appeared to the long memory of the Egyptian people.

Manetho, through Flavius Josephus, tells us that how a certain Pharaoh Amenophis, Greek for Amenhotep, wished to have a closer communion with the gods. He consulted a wise man who told him to gather 80,000 unclean persons together and send them to certain rock quarries on the east bank of the Nile where they might live apart from other Egyptians. However, the wise old man foresaw that these people would rise up and control all Egypt. This so distressed the wise man that he died, after sending a note warning the King. Soon, a group of these people settled in Avaris, the old capital of the Set worshipping Hyksos, and, led by a priest of Heliopolis named Ahmose, Moses, declared war on Egypt and its gods. Allied with the kingdoms of Palestine, these unclean people conquered and ruled Egypt for 13 years. They destroyed the images of the old gods and forbade all forms of traditional worship. At the end of 13 years, the old King Amenophis returned from exile and drove them from Egypt back into Palestine. Parts of this story are surprisingly accurate. Akhetaton held about 80,000 inhabitants at its peak and was built in an old rock quarry on the east bank of the Nile. It was indeed 13 years from Ahkenaton’s decision to make the Aton the state religion to his death. And Ahkenaton did persecute the followers of the old gods. The return of Amenophis is a reflection of Horemheb’s damage control in the generation after Ahkenaton’s death, but apart from this, the story is basically accurate.

Then what are we to make of the clear association of Ahkenaton’s revolution and the Set worshippers of Avaris?

For one thing, it strongly suggests that Ahkenaton’s revolution survived in folk memory as a Setian event. Only someone like the Set worshipping Hyksos could have conspired to forbid the worship of the old gods. Only Set could conceive of something so monstrous and so disrespectful. In many ways, Egyptian folk wisdom saw the Ahkenaton period more clearly than most modern Egyptologists.

While upheaval swept Egypt and its Empire, Ahkenaton, insulated in his new city of Akhetaton, paid no attention, preferring, instead of warriors and diplomats, the company of his family and his followers. No word of dissent was permitted to reach the Pharaoh’s ears. And no one seemed to be in charge. Revolts flared up and spread in Palestine and the Sudan. No one at Akhetaton paid the slightest attention. There the Aton still seemed to smile as the Pharaoh gracefully received its power; the incense flared and flamed as the court followers quietly chanted a hymn of praise to the God-King in the clear, bright sunlight.

But not for long. In the twelfth year of Ahkenaton’s reign, clouds gathered to obscure the smiling face of the Aton. As things went wrong, the Great Pharaoh retreated ever deeper into his religious wonderland.

The first shadow came with the death of Ahkenaton’s daughter. The Aton did not respond to Ahkenaton’s entreaties; his daughter was truly dead. To Ahkenaton, this can only have appeared as a rebuke from God. To be “Thou art Aton, living forever. . .” and yet not to be able to save that which he loved most, his own daughter, must have been a terrible shock. Close behind came another shock. Queen Tiy, staunch supporter of the Aton since before Ahkenaton’s birth, also died. This seems to have sent Ahkenaton into a deep decline. Queen Nefertiti also died or perhaps divorced Ahkenaton and faded from the scene around this time. The God-King was left alone on the center stage of his own tragedy. As Ahkenaton retreated deeper into his religious mania, some of the court, heeding the chorus of voices murmuring of revolt, war and famine, began to move back to Thebes. A compromise was in the winds.

It came in the fifteenth year of Ahkenaton’s reign. A coalition of nobles and the remaining priests of Amon forced the god-king to accept his half-brother and son-in-law Smenkhare as co-regent. They also forced him to officially halt the desecration of monuments and to re-instate the worship of the old gods, Amon included. At this, Ahkenaton seems to have balked. Two tense years passed before the priests of Amon decided to settle things by assassination. Both Ahkenaton and Smenkhare were killed and another half-brother/ son-in-law, Tutanhkaton, was placed on the throne. Tutanhkaton ruled for nine years and, at least at first, was not antagonistic to Ahkenaton’s memory or the worship of the Aton. But he was firmly under the control of the priests of Amon. The capital was restored to Thebes and Akhetaton was abandoned. The worship of the old gods was restored, Amon in particular, although Amon-Re did not immediately return to the status of official state deity. A few years before his fatal accident, Tutanhkaton changed his name to Tutanhkamun. When he died, he was buried in the Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of Thebes. With him died the last remnant of Ahkenaton’s revolution only his original name Tutankhkaton remained on his golden throne…

Tutanhkamun’s successor was another member of the court party, Nefertiti’s father Aye. The political implications of his assumption of the throne is unknown. Perhaps he represented the coalition of Amun and the military that came to power after his death, or perhaps he was the tool of the new civil service that had grown up around the worship of the Aton, and who desperately needed a way to hold onto control of the government. At any rate, Aye was violently anti-Ahkenaton.

Aye ordered that the same thing be done to Ahkenaton as was done to his father Amenhotep III—the complete removal of his name and image. As Aye’s instructions were carried out, Ahkenaton and his era faded into the shadows of historical limbo. The next Pharaoh, General Horemheb, backdated the beginning of his reign to the end of Amenhotep III’s, effectively rendering non-existent four Pharaohs and thirty years of history. And so it remained, except for Manetho’s folk tale, for almost 3,500 years. To the Victorian Egyptologists who uncovered the story, Ahkenaton appeared as the first individual in history. They saw in him an early version of Christ, and his monotheism seemed modern and admirable. There was a romance to the forgotten period that was heightened by the discovery and unveiling of Tutanhkamun’s tomb in the 1920’s.

As we have seen in this essay, the real Ahkenaton was a complex creation of his age and his obsessions. Just as in all dictatorship and tyrannies, the personality of the leader became the reality of the people. This reality, and its Setian nature or let us call it orthodoxy, was remembered long after Ahkenaton’s name was forgotten.

What is surprising is that the philosophy of that tormented religious fanatic influenced and sparked the three great monotheistic religions of our modern world. There can be no doubt that the early Hebrews came in contact with Atonist ideas. A simple comparison of Psalm 104 and the Aton Hymn (see Appendix below) of Ahkenaton demonstrates the closeness of the connection. I believe, with Freud, that Ahkenaton and Moses are psychologically directly related (although there is that Heliopolitan priest named Ahmose, Moses, in the quote from Manetho) and it is simply common sense to understand that the singular and exclusive form of monotheism enunciated by Ahkenaton is identical to the jealous God of the Old Testament prophets as the Old Testament has three names for God: Elohim, Yehova and….ADONAJ.

From this we learn that an idea, such as monotheism, can be powerful enough to survive the loss of its historical context. The power of an exclusive one-god-ism lies in its ability to restrict and control the natural spirituality of the human being. The story of Ahkenaton is a cautionary tale for all fundamental monotheists especially in comparison with the syncreticistic therefore open polytheism of that time which never surpressed but integrated gods of other religions.

Appendix

A HYMN TO ATON BY THE KING

A Hymn of Praise to the Living Horus of the Two Horizons, who rejoiceth in the horizon in his name of “Shu, who is in the Aton” (i.e. Disk), the Giver of Life for ever and ever, by the King who liveth in Truth, the Lord of the Crowns, Aakhunaten, great in the Duration of his Life, Giver of Life for Ever and Ever.

[He saith]:–

Thou risest gloriously, O thou living Aton, Lord of Eternity! Thou art sparkling (or coruscating), beautiful, [and] mighty. Thy love is mighty and great is thy light, of diverse colors, leadeth captive (or, bewitcheth)all faces. Thy skin shineth brightly to make all hearts to live. Thou fillest the Two Lands with thy love, O thou god, who did[st] build [thy]self. maker of every land, creator of whatsoever there is upon it, [viz.] men and women, cattle, beasts of every kind, and trees of every kind that grow on the land.

They live when thou shinest upon them. Thou art the mother [and] father of what thou hast made; their eyes, when thou risest turn their gaze upon thee. Thy rays at dawn light up the whole earth. Every heart beateth high at the sight of thee, [for] thou risest at their Lord.

Thou settlest in the western horizon of heaven, they lie down in the same way as those who are dead. Their heads are wrapped in cloth, their nostrils are blocked, until thy rising taketh place at dawn in the eastern horizon of heaven. Their hands then are lifted up in adoration of they KA (or person); thou vivifiest hearts with thy beauties (or, beneficent acts), which are life. Thou sendest forth thy beams, [and] every land is in festival. Singing men, singing women, [and] chorus men make joyful noises in the Hall of the House of the Benben Obelisk, [and] ion every temple in [the city of] Åakhut-Åten, the Seat of Truth, wherein thy heart issatisfied. Within it are dedicated offerings of rich food(?)Thy son is sanctified (or, ceremonially pure) to perform the things which thou willest, O thou Aton, when he showeth himself in the appointed processions.

Every creature that thou hast made skippeth towards thee, thy honored son [rejoiceth], his heart is glad, O thou Living Aten, who [appearest] in heaven every day. he hath brought forth his honored son, Ua-En-Ra, like is own form, never ceasing so to do. The son of Ra supporteth his beauties (or beneficent acts).

NEFER-KHEPERU-RA UA-EN-RA [saith]:–

I am thy son, satisfying thee, exalting thy name. Thy strength [and] thy power are establish in my heart. Thou art the Living Disk, eternity is thine emanation (or, attribute). Thou has made the heavens to be remote so that thou mightest shine therein and gaze upon everything that thou hast made. Thou thyself art Alone, but there are millions of [powers of] life in thee to make them 9 i.e., thy creatures) live. Breath of life is it to [their] nostrils to see they beams. Buds burst into flower (?), [and] the plants which grow on the waste lands send up shoots at thy rising; they drink themselves drunk before thy face. All the beasts frisk about on their feet; all the feathered fowl rise up from their nests and flap their wings with joy, and circle round in praise of the Living Aton is

HYMN TO ATON

1. A Hymn of praise to Her-akhuti, the living one, exalted in the Eastern Horizon in his name of Shu who is in the Åten, who liveth for ever and ever, the living and great Aton, he who is in the Set-Festival, the lord of the Circle, the Lord of earth, the lord of the House of the Aton in Aakhut-Aton (i.e. Egypt), Nefer-kheperu-Ra Ua-en-ra, the son of Ra, who liveth in Truth, Lord of Crowns, Aakhun-Åten, great in the period of his life, [and of] who he loveth, Lade of the Two Lands, Nefer-Neferu-Aton Nefertiti, who liveth in health and youth for ever and ever.

2. He (i.e. Ai, a Fan-bearer and the Master of the King’s Horse) saith:–

Thy rising [is] beautiful in the horizon of heaven, O Aten, ordainer of life. Thou dost shoot up in the horizon of the East, thou fillest every land with thy beneficence. Thou are beautiful and great and sparkling, and exalted above every land. They arrows (i.e. rays) envelop (i.e. penetrate) everywhere all the lands which thou hast made.

3. Thou art as Ra. Thou bringest [them] according to their number, thou subduest them for they beloved son. Thou thyself art afar off, but thy beams are upon the earth; thou art in their faces, they [admire] thy goings. Thou settest in the horizon of the west, the earth is in darkness, in the form of death. men lie down in a booth wrapped up in cloths, one eye cannot see its fellow. If all their possessions, which are under their heads, be carried away they perceive it not.

4. Every lion emergeth from his lair, all the creeping things bite, darkness [is] a warm retreat (?) The land is in silence. He who made them set in his horizon. The earth becometh light, thou shootest up in the horizon, shining in the Aten in the day, thou scatterest the darkness. thou sendest out thine arrows (i.e. rays), the Two Lands make festival, [men] wake up, stand upon their feet, it is thou who raisest them up. [They] wash their members, they take [their apparel].

5. and array themselves therein, their lands are [stretched out] in praise at thy rising, throughout the land they do their works. Beasts and cattle of all kinds settle down upon the pastures, shrubs and vegetables flourish, the feathered fowl fly about over their marches, their feathers praising thy Ka (person). All the cattle rise up on their legs, creatures that fly and insects of all kinds.

6. spring into life when thou risest up on them. The boats drop down and sail up the river, likewise ever road openeth (or showeth itself) at thy rising, the fish in the river swim towards thy face, thy beams are in the depths of the Great Green (i.e. the Mediterranean and Red Seas). Thou makest offspring to take form in women, creating seed in men. Thou makest the son to live in the womb of his mother, making him to be quiet that be crieth not; thou art a nurse

7. in the womb, giving breath to vivify that which he hath made. [When] he droppeth from the wombŠ on the day of his birth [he] opened hismouth in the [ordinary] manner, thou providest his sustenance.The young bird in the egg speaketh in the shell, thou givest breath to him inside it to make him to live. Thou makest for him his mature form of that he can crack the shell [being] inside the egg. he cometh forth from the egg, he chirpeth with all his might, when he hath come forth from it (the egg), he walketh on his two feet. O how many are the things which thou has made! They are hidden from the face, O thou

8. One God, like whom there is no other. Thou didst create the earth by thy heart ( or will), thou alone existing, men and women, cattle, beasts of every kind that are upon the earth, and that ,move upon feet (or legs) all the creatures that are in the sky and that fly with their wings, [and] the deserts of Syria and Kesh (Nubia), and the Land of Egypt. Thou settest every person in his place. Thou providest their daily food, every man having the portion allotted to him, [thou] dost compute the duration of his life. Their tongues are different in speech, their characteristics (or forms), and

9. likewise their skins [in color], giving distinguishing marks to the dwellers in foreign lands. Thou makes Hapi (the Nile) in the Tuat (Underworld), thou bringest it when those wishestr to make mortals to live, inasmuch as thou hast made them for thyself, their Lord who dost support them to the uttermost, O thou Lord of every land, thou shinest upon them. O Aten of the day, thou great one of majesty. Thou makest the life of all remote lands. Thou settest a Nile in heaven, which cometh down to them.

10. It maketh a flood on the mountains like the Great Green Sea, it maketh to be watered their fields in their villages. How beneficent are thy plans, O Lord of Eternity! A Nile in heaven art thou for the dwellers in the foreign lands (or deserts), and for all the beasts of the desert that go upon feet (or legs). Hapi (the Nile) cometh from the Tuat for the land of Egypt. Thy beams nourish every field; thou risest up [and] they live, they germinate for thee. Thou makest the Seasons to develop everything that thou hast made:

11. The season of Pert (i.e. Nov. 16 – Mar 16) so that they may refresh themselves, and the season Heh (i.e. March 16 – Nov. 16) in order to taste thee. Thou hast made the heaven which is remote that thou mayest shine therein and look upon everything that thou hast made. Thy being is one thou shinest (or, shootest up) among thy creatures as the Living Aten, rising, shining, departing afar off, returning. Thou hast made millions of creations (or, evolutions) from they one self (viz.) town and cities, villages, fields roads and river. Every eye (i.e. all men) beholdeth thee confronting it. Thou art the Åten of the day at its zenith.

12. At thy departure thine eyes thou didst create their faces so thatthou mightest not sees One thou didst make is Thou art in my heart. there is no other who knowth thee except thy son Nefer-kheperu-Ra Un-en-Ra. Thou hast made him wise to understand they plans and power. The earth came into being by thy hand, even as thou hast created them (i.e. men). Thou risest, they live; thou settest, they die. As for thee, there is duration of life in they members, life is in thee. [All] eyes [gaze upon]

13. thy beauties until thou settest, [when] all labors are relinquished, Thou settest in the West, thou risest, making to flourishŠ for the King. Every man who [standeth on his] foot, since thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, thou hast raised up for thy son who came forth from thy body, the King of the South and the North, Living in Truth, Lord of Crowns, Aakhum-Aton, great in the duration of his life [and for] theRoyal Wife, great of majesty, Lade of the Two Lands, Nefer-nerferu-Aton Nefertiti, living [and] young for ever and ever.

THE ATON HYMN PSALM 104 (King James Bible)

When thou settest in the western Thou makest darkness and it is night. horizon of heaven Wherein all the beasts of the forest. The world is in darkness like the deadŠ do creep forth.Every lion cometh forth from his denŠ The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather When thou risest in the horizonŠ themselves together, and lay The darkness if banishedŠ them down in their dens. Then in all the world, they do their work. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening. All trees and plants flourish, The trees of the Lord are full of sap…

The birds flutter in their marshes, Where the birds make their nests… Their wings uplifted in adoration to thee, The high hills are a refuge to the All the sheep dance upon their feetŠ wild goatsŠ The barques sail upstream and So this is the great and wide sea, downstream alike. wherein all things creeping Every highway is open because innumerable, both small and thou has dawned. great beasts. The fish in the river leap up There go the ships: there is that before thee, leviathan, whom thou hast made And thy rays are in the midst of to play therein.

How many manifold are all thy works! O Lord! how manifold are thy works! They are hidden from before us, in wisdom has thou made them O thou sole God, whose powers all: the earth is full of thy riches. no other possesseth. Thou didst create the earth according to thy desire.

Thou has set a Nile in heaven, He watereth the hills from his That it may fall for them, chambers: the earth is satisfied making floods upon the mountains, with the fruit of thy works. like the great sea; And watering their fields among He causeth the grass to grow for the their towns. cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earthŠ

Thou makest the seasons, in order to He appointed the moon for seasons: create all thy worksŠ the sun knoweth his going down. Thou hast made the distant These wait all upon thee; that heaven to rise thereinŠ thou mayest give them their Dawning, shining afar off and returning. meat in due season. The world is in they hand, That thou givest them thy gather: Even as thou hast made them. thou openest thine hand, they are When thou hast risen, they live; filled with good. When thou settest, they dieŠ Thou bindest thy face, they are By thee man liveth. troubled: thou takest away their breadth, they die, and return to their dust.