The Story of Ahikar

The Story of Ahikar #

Introduction #

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of the Bible.

Αχείχαρος, Խիկար, grand vizier of the Babylonian king Sennacherib.

The story of Ahikar proceeds as follows: Ahikar was the vizier of Sennacherib, king of Assyria (704-681 b.c.) and noted for his wisdom. He was childless, and decided to adopt the son of his sister, named Nadan, and raise him as his successor in Sennacherib’s court. Ahikar began what turned out to be an arduous task of educating this young man by using a series of proverbs. Nadan composed letters to the surrounding sovereigns in Egypt and Persia with Ahikar’s forged signature and seal in which he proposed betraying Assyria’s troops to them. Then to add insult to injury, he went to Sennacherib and accused Ahikar of treason, whereupon the poor man was condemned to die. Fortunately for the vizier, the executioner turned out to be a friend of Ahikar whose life he had saved in the past. Secretly he substituted a condemned criminal in Ahikar’s place and concealed Ahikar until the king’s wrath had subsided.

An occasion finally arose in which Sennacherib found himself wishing wise Ahikar were still around to solve a new provocation incited by the king of Egypt, who demanded that Assyria pay tribute or produce someone who could make ropes twisted out of sand. Ahikar succeeded, was restored to his original post, and confronted his nephew with a number of rebukes cast into a series of proverbs.

The present edition #

This edition presents the Classical Armenian and English in parallel format with word-by-word grammatical tagging of the Armenian text and English gloss. The Classical Armenian and English texts are from the 2021 Sophene edition translated by Beyon Miloyan.

References #

  1. Miloyan, B. (2021). The Maxims and Wisdom of Khikar. Sophene

  2. Conybeare, F. C., Harris, J. R.., & Lewis, (1898). The Story of Ahikar, from the Armenian, Arabic, Ethiopic, Greek, Slavonic, and Syriac versions. Glasgow.

  3. Martirosyan, A. A. (1969). Պատմութիւն եւ խրատք Խիկարայ իմաստնոյ. Yerevan.

Additional resources #

  1. Brooks, E. W. (1909). The Wisdom of Ahikar. Journal of Theological Studies, 11, 98-99.

  2. Hoffman, G. (1880). Auszüge aus syrischen Akten persischer Märtyrer. Leipzig.