The admonitions of Ipuwer

It is impossible to give a date for the composition of this document. The surviving papyrus (Papyrus Leiden 334) itself is a copy made during the New Kingdom. Ipuwer is generally supposed to have lived during the Middle Kingdom or the Second Intermediate Period, and the catastrophes he bewails to have taken place four centuries earlier during the First Intermediate Period.
On the other hand, Miriam Lichtheim, following S. Luria, contends that
the 'Admonitions of Ipuwer' has not only no bearing whatever on the long past First Intermediate Period, it also does not derive from any other historical situation. It is the last, fullest, most exaggerated and hence least successful, composition on the theme "order versus chaos." M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume I, p.150

Fringe historians often compare the content of this papyrus with Exodus, the second book of the Bible [1]. Similarities between Egyptian texts and the Bible are easily found, and it is reasonable to assume Egyptian influence on the Hebrews, given their at times close contacts. But to conclude from such parallelisms that the Ipuwer Papyrus describes Egypt at the time of the Exodus, requires a leap of faith not everybody is willing to make.
Lacunae in the papyrus text are marked by [...].


[. .] The door [keepers] say: "Let us go and plunder."
The confectioners [. . .].
The washerman refuses to carry his load [. . .]
The bird [catchers] have drawn up in line of battle [. . . the inhabitants] of the Delta carry shields.
The brewers [. . .] sad.
A man regards his son as his enemy. Confusion [. . .] another. Come and conquer; judge [. . .] what was ordained for you in the time of Horus, in the age [of the Ennead . . .]. The virtuous man goes in mourning because of what has happened in the land [. . .] goes [. . .] the tribes of the desert have become Egyptians everywhere.
Indeed, the face is pale; [. . .] what the ancestors foretold has arrived at [fruition . . .] the land is full of confederates, and a man goes to plough with his shield.
Indeed, the meek say: ["He who is . . . of] face is as a well-born man."
Indeed, [the face] is pale; the bowman is ready, wrongdoing is everywhere, and there is no man of yesterday.
Indeed, the plunderer [. . .] everywhere, and the servant takes what he finds.
Indeed, the Nile overflows, yet none plough for it. Everyone says: "We do not know what will happen throughout the land."
Indeed, the women are barren and none conceive. Khnum fashions (men) no more because of the condition of the land.

the Nile overflows, yet none plough for it: The collapse of the Old Kingdom civilisation is generally attributed to a repeated failure of the Nile to inundate the flood plain. A few consecutive crop failures can result in many subsequent years of suffering, as all the grain that is grown and which is to serve as seed, will be consumed as food.


Indeed, poor men have become owners of wealth, and he who could not make sandals for himself is now a possessor of riches.
Indeed, men's slaves, their hearts are sad, and magistrates do not fraternize with their people when they shout.
Indeed, [hearts] are violent, pestilence is throughout the land, blood is everywhere, death is no