Ahiḳar in JewishEncyclopedia.com
Chancellor of Sennacherib.
AḥiḲar was the wise and powerful chancellor of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, son of Esar-haddon (in II Kings, xix. 37 Esar-haddon is the son, and not the father, of Sennacherib; but compare, for a similar anachronism, Sanh. 94a: indeed the later Jewish legend did not always adhere strictly to Biblical accounts). He was sixty years of age, had sixty wives (compare Cant. vi. 8; in the Aramaic folk-lore of the Talmud the number sixty is a favorite one and usually denotes any large number: B. ḳ. 92b, twice; B. B. 91a; Sanh. 7a; Ḥul. 58b), and no child had been born to him. The gods, to whom he brought many offerings, announced to him at last that he would never have a child; and they therefore desired him to adopt his sister's son, the lad Nadan (meaning "gift," like Nathan, but also possibly with a contemptuous secondary meaning, as in Ezek. xvi. 33). Rearing him tenderly, AḥiḲar himself undertook the lad's instruction.
Nadan seemed a promising youth indeed, physically and intellectually, and AḥiḲar might have rejoiced at such return for all his care; but morally the lad was thoroughly corrupt, and paid not the slightest heed to the wise counsels and maxims of his uncle. Not only was he offensively domineering in AḥiḲar's household—so much so indeed that the latter had eventually to forbid him the house—but at court, too, where AḥiḲar had presented him as his future successor in office, he used his influence with a view to destroying his benefactor. By means of forged letters and subtle intrigues Nadan succeeded in having AḥiḲar accused of high treason and condemned to death. Only through the friendship of the executioner Nabusamak (compare the Hebrew name "Elisamak") did AḥiḲar escape. Nabusamak concealed him in a subterranean hiding-place, and showed the body of a decapitated slave as that of AḥiḲar. Nadan's triumph, however, was of short duration. The king repeatedly deplored the loss of the wise counsel of his former chancellor. Waiting his opportunity, Nabusamak came forward and declared himself able to produce the missing sage. This was done, much to the king's gratification; and the latter received his lost friend with great honor...
Ahiqar in Wikipedia
Ahiqar or Ahikar was an Assyrian sage known in the ancient Near East for his outstanding wisdom.
The Story of Ahikar, also known as the Words of Ahikar, has been found in an Aramaic papyrus of 500 B.C. among the ruins of Elephantine. The narrative of the initial part of the story is expanded greatly by the presence of a large number of wise sayings and proverbs that Ahikar is portrayed as speaking to his nephew. It is suspected by most scholars that these sayings and proverbs were originately a separate document, as they do not mention Ahikar. Some of the sayings are similar to parts of the Biblical Book of Proverbs, others to the deuterocanonical Ecclesiasticus, and others still to Babylonian and Persian proverbs. The collection of sayings is in essence a selection from those common in the Middle East at the time, noticeably preferring those in favour of corporal punishment.
Achiacharus is the name occurring in the Book of Tobit as that of a nephew of Tobit (Tobias) and an official at the court of Esarhaddon at Nineveh. There are references in Romanian, Slavonic, Armenian, Arabic and Syriac literature to a legend, of which the hero is Ahikar for Armenian (Խիկար Xikar), Arabic and Syriac. It was pointed out by scholar George Hoffmann in 1880 that this Ahikar and the Achiacharus of Tobit are identical. It has been contended that there are traces of the legend even in the New Testament, and there is a striking similarity between it and the Life of Aesop by Maximus Planudes (ch. xxiii-xxxii). An eastern sage Achaicarus is mentioned by Strabo. It would seem, therefore, that the legend was undoubtedly oriental in origin, though the relationship of the various versions can scarcely be recovered.
In the story, Ahikar was chancellor to the Assyrian kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. Having no child of his own, he adopted his nephew Nadab/Nadin, and raised him to be his successor. Nadab/Nadin ungratefully plotted to have his elderly uncle murdered, and persuades Esarhaddon that Ahikar has committed treason. Esarhaddon orders Ahikar be executed in response, and so Ahikar is arrested and imprisoned to await punishment. However, Ahikar reminds the executioner that the executioner had been saved by Ahikar from a similar fate under Sennacherib, and so the executioner kills a prisoner instead, and pretends to Esarhaddon that it is the body of Ahikar.
The remainder of the early texts do not survive beyond this point, but it is thought probably that the original ending had Nadab/Nadin being executed while Ahikar is rehabilitated. Later texts portray Ahikar coming out of hiding to counsel the Egyptian king on behalf of Esarhaddon, and then returning in triumph to Esarhaddon. In the later texts, after Ahikar's return, he meets Nadab/Nadin and is very angry with him, and Nadab/Nadin then dies.
British classicist Stephanie West has argued that the story of Croesus in Herodotus as an adviser to Cyrus I is another manifesteation of the Ahiqar story.
The Story of Ahikar (Haiqar) on pseudepigrapha.com
WE HAVE in The Story of Ahikar (Haiqar) one of the most ancient sources of human thought and wisdom. Its influence can be traced through the legends of many people, including the Koran, and the Old and New Testaments.
Amosaic found in Treves, Germany, pictured among the wise men of the world the character of Ahikar. Here is his colorful tale.
The date of this story has been a subject of lively discussion. Scholars finally put it down about the First Century when they were proved in error by the original story turning up in an Aramaic papyrus of 500 B. C. among the ruins of Elephantine.
The story is obviously fiction and not history. In fact the reader can make its acquaintance in the supplementary pages of The Arabian Nights. It is brilliantly written, and the narrative which is full of action, intrigue, and narrow escape holds the attention to the last. The liberty of imagination is the most precious possession of the writer.
The writing divides itself into four phases: (1) The Narrative; (2)The Teaching (a remarkable series of Proverbs); (3)The Journey to Egypt; (4) The Similitudes or Parables (with which Ahikar completes the education of his erring nephew)...