19222Pharoah: To Tax the Dead
- Mar 4, 2013
These gifts and the display of splendor did not fail of taking effect upon the king, and when Rakyon, in well-considered words and with a pliant tongue, described the undertaking, he won not only the king to his side, but also the whole court, and the king said to him, "No longer shalt thou be called Rakyon, Have-naught, but Pharaoh, Paymaster, for thou didst collect taxes from the dead."
Through the power thus conferred upon him and through cunning practices, Pharaoh succeeded in usurping royal authority, and he collected taxes from all the inhabitants of Egypt. Nevertheless he was beloved of the people, and it was decreed that every ruler of Egypt should thenceforth bear the name Pharaoh.
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Chapter 14 of Jasher introduces a very intriguing character named Rikayon, a man who would eventually become the first Pharaoh - a governing prefect under Osiris (spelled Oswiris in Jasher). The way this man achieves such status is very interesting. Essentially, he took it upon himself to extract a tax from the people before they were allowed to bury their dead. The people freaked out. Then, at the appointed time, when the king (Nimrod - known to the Epyptians as Oswiris) came to town, the people presented their grievences to him concerning this. But Rikayon had made so much money that he came to the king with lavish gifts, thus earning his favor.
And the king answered and said to Rikayon, Thy name shall no more be called Rikayon but Pharaoh shall be thy name, since thou didst exact a tax from the dead; and he called his name Pharaoh. And the king and his subjects loved Rikayon for his wisdom, and they consulted with all the inhabitants of Egypt to make him prefect under the king. And all the inhabitants of Egypt and its wise men did so, and it was made a law in Egypt. And they made Rikayon Pharaoh prefect under Oswiris king of Egypt, and Rikayon Pharaoh governed over Egypt, daily administering justice to the whole city, but Oswiris the king would judge the people of the land one day in the year, when he went out to make his appearance.
And Rikayon Pharaoh cunningly usurped the government of Egypt, and he exacted a tax from all the inhabitants of Egypt. And all the inhabitants of Egypt greatly loved Rikayon Pharaoh, and they made a decree to call every king that should reign over them and their seed in Egypt, Pharaoh. Therefore all the kings that reigned in Egypt from that time forward were called Pharaoh unto this day.
- Jasher 14:27-33 [emphasis mine]