To understand Egyptian
religion, you must first understand its roots. The empire of Egypt originated around the Nile
river. The banks of the Nile flood like clockwork, and was a very dependable way to replenish nutrients in the soil.
The culture's economy was based on agriculture and limited trade. Though the Egyptians had a little contact, not much interaction was made with the rest of the world. The Egyptian culture flourished, and the religion reflected it's lifestyle. Only nobles could be accepted into the afterlife, and it was much a continuation of this life. But the comfortable lifestyle wouldn't last, and Egypt experienced a rash of famine and death due to the Nile. The Empire crumbled.
At this point, after hundreds of years, changes in the religion can be observed. Now all people could be accepted to the afterlife, and instead of being a continuation it was thought of as a "better place", a sort of heaven. This would be due to the psychological influence of widespread death and unhappiness. This is where the book of the dead came in. Getting into the afterlife was not an easy task. The dead undertook a quest or journey to gain acceptance to the afterlife. Upon reaching their destination, they had to stand before the judge and perform these negative confessions.
Exerpt, Chapter 125
Homage to you, Great God, the Lord of the double Ma'at (Truth)!
I have come to you, my Lord,
I have brought myself here to behold your beauties.
I know you, and I know your name,
And I know the names of the two and forty gods,
Who live with you in the Hall of the Two Truths,
Who imprison the sinners, and feed upon their blood,
On the day when the lives of men are judged in the presence of Osiris.
In truth, you are "The Twin Sisters with Two Eyes," and "The Daughters of the Two Truths."
In truth, I now come to you, and I have brought Maat to you,
And I have destroyed wickedness for you.
I have committed no evil upon men.
I have not oppressed the members of my family.
I have not wrought evil in the place of right and truth.
I have had no knowledge of useless men.
I have brought about no evil.
I did not rise in the morning and expect more than was due to me.
I have not brought my name forward to be praised.
I have not oppressed servants.
I have not scorned any god.
I have not defrauded the poor of their property.
I have not done what the gods abominate.
I have not cause harm to be done to a servant by his master.
I have not caused pain.
I have caused no man to hunger.
I have made no one weep.
I have not killed.
I have not given the order to kill.
I have not inflicted pain on anyone.
I have not stolen the drink left for the gods in the temples.
I have not stolen the cakes left for the gods in the temples.
I have not stolen the cakes left for the dead in the temples.
I have not fornicated.
I have not polluted myself.
I have not diminished the bushel when I've sold it.
I have not added to or stolen land.
I have not encroached on the land of others.
I have not added weights to the scales to cheat buyers.
I have not misread the scales to cheat buyers.
I have not stolen milk from the mouths of children.
I have not driven cattle from their pastures.
I have not captured the birds of the preserves of the gods.
I have not caught fish with bait made of like fish.
I have not held back the water when it should flow.
I have not diverted the running water in a canal.
I have not put out a fire when it should burn.
I have not violated the times when meat should be offered to the gods.
I have not driven off the cattle from the property of the gods.
I have not stopped a god in his procession through the temple,
I am pure.
I am pure.
I am pure.
I am pure.
My purity is the purity the great Bennu (heron) in Heracleopolis.
Behold, I am the nose of the God of Breath, who gives life to the people,
On the day of completing the Eye of Ra in Heliopolis,
On the last day of the second month of winter,
In the presence of the pharaoh of this land.
I have seen the the Eye of Horus when it was full in Heliopolis!
Therefore, let no evil befall me in this land
In this Hall of the Two Truths,
Because I know the names of all the gods within it,
And all the followers of the great God.
The bold (-)confessions... do they sound familiar?
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not covert thy neighbors possesions.
Honor thy mother and father...
Book of the Dead resource - http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/EGYPT/BOD125.HTM