Sekhmet: Not Scary Enough

This is Sekhmet and she is a scary lady. She was the Egyptian deity who protected the pharaohs, leading them into warfare as a warrior goddess. Her breath was the hot east wind, and she was said to have very nearly killed all humanity in her bloodlust. She is also the god of disease, able to kill and heal. Although her name, meaning ‘powerful woman’ may gratify feminists, she didn’t stand a chance against the one true God of heaven:

‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

Exodus 12:12

The verse refers to the institution of the Passover, during which every first-born in Egyptian was slain during God’s judgement upon the nation for its holding captive God’s elect people. From the Pharaonic palace to the filthiest dungeon, the eldest child departed for eternity. No god died of course- so how did the LORD execute judgement upon them? By denuding them, exposing them as weak and helpless. Where was the goddess of war when Egypt was attacked by this foreign God? Where was the healer when the boils broke out? Where was the god of the east wind when the locusts needed blowing away? She was nowhere to be found.

Idols give us a feeling of security and power; they are gods in our image over whom we can exert some control. But when you actually need help, they have nothing to say or do.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.

Psalm 96:5


The statue is displayed at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove and is on loan from the British Museum.