42 Laws of Maat, or 42 Negative Confessions, or 42 Admonition to Goddess Maat, or 42 Declarations of Innocence or Admonitions of Maát, 42 Laws of Maat of Ancient Egypt, or the Laws of the Goddess Maat

Hieroglyph of Goddess Maat iconography, i.e.,
feather of truth (Shu) on top of her head

The purpose of ma'at (law/justice/truth) among the Kemet (Kmt Khemet) people of ancient Upper and Lower Egypt was to divert chaos (Isfet). In Spellbook/Chapter 125 of The Papyrus of Ani (also Book of Coming Forth By Day or The Egyptian Book of the Dead, as edited by E.A. Wallis Budge) the viewer of this hieroglyphic picture finds the petitioner led by Anubis into duat (underworld/the gate).

Image of Goddess Maat

Anubis, The Scale Setter

In Spellbook/Chapter 30B of The Papyrus of Ani titled “Chapter for Not Letting Ani’s Heart Create Opposition Against Him, in the Gods’ Domain,” we find a petitioner of ma'at (justice/truth) before the scales of justice (iconography ma'at/goddess maat). Anubis, the setter of the scales, has placed the petitioner's heart-soul (Ka) on one side of the scale, its counter-weight is the feather of truth (Shu). The Spellbook/Chapter for Not Letting Ani's Heart Create Opposition Against Him in the Gods' Domain is where the petitioner must pronounce, and his/her weighted heart/soul (Ka) will reveal the truth or non-truth of each affirmative of the 42 pronouncements.

Petitioner's heart-soul (Ka) being weighed on the scales of justice (Goddess Ma'at) by Anubis (scale setter) against the feather of truth (Shu)

The 42 Divine Principles of Maat in Budge's native English follows:

  1. I have not committed sin. 
  2. I have not committed robbery with violence.
  3. I have not stolen.
  4. I have not slain men or women.
  5. I have not stolen food.
  6. I have not swindled offerings.
  7. I have not stolen from God/Goddess.
  8. I have not told lies.
  9. I have not carried away food.
  10. I have not cursed.
  11. I have not closed my ears to truth.
  12. I have not committed adultery.
  13. I have not made anyone cry.
  14. I have not felt sorrow without reason.
  15. I have not assaulted anyone.
  16. I am not deceitful.
  17. I have not stolen anyone’s land.
  18. I have not been an eavesdropper.
  19. I have not falsely accused anyone.
  20. I have not been angry without reason.
  21. I have not seduced anyone’s wife.
  22. I have not polluted myself.
  23. I have not terrorized anyone.
  24. I have not disobeyed the Law.
  25. I have not been exclusively angry.
  26. I have not cursed God/Goddess.
  27. I have not behaved with violence.
  28. I have not caused disruption of peace.
  29. I have not acted hastily or without thought.
  30. I have not overstepped my boundaries of concern.
  31. I have not exaggerated my words when speaking.
  32. I have not worked evil.
  33. I have not used evil thoughts, words or deeds.
  34. I have not polluted the water.
  35. I have not spoken angrily or arrogantly.
  36. I have not cursed anyone in thought, word or deeds.
  37. I have not placed myself on a pedestal.
  38. I have not stolen what belongs to God/Goddess.
  39. I have not stolen from or disrespected the deceased.
  40. I have not taken food from a child.
  41. I have not acted with insolence.
  42. I have not destroyed property belonging to God/Goddess
Left to Right: Goddess Ma'at,  Thoth/Tehuti, The Petitioner of Maat,
Scales of Goddess Ma'at (Lady Justice), and Anubis

The ibis-headed Thoth is the patron saint of Maat scribes and priests. He is also known as Tehuti. In the Duat (place for judgment/underworld) and the Hall of Two Truths, Thoth/Tehuti holds a tablet and writing tool and records the scale's reading of the 42 affirmation of the petitioner. The successful petitioner will be led from Duat to Arus (the Field of Reeds) where Osiris sits as the last gatekeeper judge.

Image of Thoth (Thovt, Thot) aka Tehuti
(Djehuti, Djewhuti), Patron of Scribes


Written by Vanessa Cross, J.D., LL.M. [CC 2012]

KEYWORD SEARCH: 42 laws of maat, kmt, shu, maat, justice, law, truth, papyrus of ani 42 laws, laws of the goddess, maat laws egypt, maat kemet, maat kemet law, maat justice, maat gods goddesses 42, maat goddess, maat and kemet, ancient kemet, african god papyrus, upper and lower kemet, 42 principles of maat, 42 laws of maat hieroglyphics, 42 laws of maat god, 42 laws of maat budge, ancient kemet history, ancient kemet laws, 42 declarations of maat, keemt book of thoth, kemet atum, kemet astronomy, judgment laws of maat, isfet chaos, goddess scales, hieroglyphs feather justice, khemet mythology, kemetic vizier, kemetic cosmology, kemetic book of the dead translated, kemet texts, kemet truth, kemet scales, kemet people, rule of maat, rule of law, scribe ani