Muhlestein: Sacrifice could be extended to foreigners who lived beyond the boundaries of Egypt

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Muhlestein: Sacrifice could be extended to foreigners who lived beyond the boundaries of Egypt

The attempted sacrifice of Abraham, who was not Egyptian, occurred outside of Egypt. (Abraham 1:1, Abraham 1:10 and Abraham 1:20).[1] There is now evidence that foreigners could be sacrificed outside of the boundaries of Egypt.

Just outside the Middle Kingdom fortress at Mirgissa, which had been part of the Egyptian empire in Nubia, a deposit was found containing various ritual objects such as melted wax figurines, a flint knife, and the decapitated body of a foreigner slain during rites designed to ward off enemies. Almost universally, this discovery has been accepted as a case of human sacrifice.20 Texts from this and similar rites from the Middle Kingdom specify that the ritual was directed against "every evil speaker, every evil speech, every evil curse, every evil plot, every evil imprecation, every evil attack, every evil rebellion, every evil plan, and every evil thing,"21 which refers to those who "speak evil" of the king or of his policies.22 The remains in the deposit are consistent with those of later ritual texts describing the daily execration rite, which was usually a wax figure substituting in effigy for a human sacrifice: "Bind with the sinew of a red cow . . . spit on him four times . . . trample on him with the left foot . . . smite him with a spear . . . decapitate him with a knife . . . place him on the fire . . . spit on him in the fire many times."23 Again we see that the use of a knife was followed by burning. The fact that the site of Mirgissa is not in Egypt proper but was part of the Egyptian empire in Nubia informs us that the Egyptians extended such practices beyond their borders.[2]

Notes

  1. Abraham 1:1 - In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers..."; Abraham 1:10 - "Even the thank-offering of a child did the priest of Pharaoh offer upon the altar which stood by the hill called Potiphar’s Hill, at the head of the plain of Olishem."; Abraham 1:20 - "Behold, Potiphar’s Hill was in the land of Ur, of Chaldea."
  2. Kerry Muhlestein and John Gee, "An Egyptian Context for the Sacrifice of Abraham," Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 20/2 (2011)