THE OFFERING FORMULA
Every decorated tomb and temple contained an offering prayer and/or offering list designed to ensure eternal sustenance for the deceased. The offering prayer is often referred to as the “Hotep Di Nesewt” formula which consist of the words Htp ‘hotep’ «offering» + di ‘di’ «to give» + nswt ‘nesewt’ «king». The prayer generally consist of the wish that the king might satisfy the gods by running the country in such a way as to ensure that their offering tables are continually supplied and the wish that the gods might grant the deceased a share of the food they receive thanks to the king.
There are four basic parts to the formula:
- The phrase ￼
Htp di nswt – “An offering which the king gives.”
- The names and epithets of one or more deities.
wsir nb Ddw nTr aA nb AbDw – “Wsir(Osiris), lord of Djedu, great deity, lord of Abydos”
- The voice offering that lists the offerings to be given to the kA of the deceased.
di.f prt xrw t Hnqt kA Apd Ss mnxt xt nbt nfrt wabt anxt nTr im – “that he may give a voice offering of bread, beer, meat, fowl, linen, alabaster, and all good and pure things on which the deities lives.”
- The name and titles of the person for whom the offering is made.
n kA n(y) imAxw Axw mAa xrw – “to the ka of the revered ones, the ancestors, justified.”
All together we have:
Htp di nswt wsir nb Ddw nTr aA nb AbDw di.f prt xrw t Hnqt kA Apd Ss mnxt xt nbt nfrt wabt anxt nTr im n kA n(y) imAxw Axw mAa-xrw
hotep di nesewt wsir neb djedew netcher aa neb abdjew di-ef peret kherew te henqet ka aped shes menkhet khet nebet neferet wabet ankhet netcher im en ka en imakhew Akhew maa kherew
“An offering which the king gives Wesir (Osiris), lord of Djedu, the great deity, lord of Abydos that he may give a voice offering of provisions of meat, fowl, linen, alabaster, and all good and pure things on which the deity lives, to the ka of the revered ones, the Ancestors, justified.”