Name of Tablet in Arabic or Persian:
Translation into English:
Second Tablet to Napoleon III. Sections translated in Gleanings
CLVIII, Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh 17-23, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf 46-56.
Significance of Name:
named after recipient
Tablet was revealed in:
Name of Recipient:
Napoleon III, Emperor of France
Reason for Revelation of the Tablet:
As one of the epistles to the rulers of the world, this
Tablet fits in with the overall themes of informing the rulers of His station and Message and
calling them to accept the new Revelation, reminding them that their earthly rule is not
ultimately real, for only God holds true power. This Tablet, as a follow-up to the first
Tablet to Napoleon to which there had been no reply, also has the element of chastizing the
recipient for his heedlessness.
Questions asked that are answered in Tablet:
Thought not really a question, Bahá'u'lláh does respond to a private utterance of Napoleon:
"O King! We heard the words thou didst utter in answer to the Czar of Russia, concerning
the decision made regarding the war (Crimean War). Thy Lord, verily, knoweth, is
informed of all. Thou didst say: `I lay asleep upon my couch, when the cry of the oppressed,
who were drowned in the Black Sea, wakened me.' This is what we heard thee say, and,
verily, thy Lord is witness unto what I say. We testify that that which wakened thee was not
their cry but the promptings of thine own passions, for We tested thee, and found thee
Date of Revelation:
Place of Revelation:
Role of Amanuensis or Secretary:
not known — it is known, though, that the Tablet was
translated into French for Napoleon by a French consular agent in Akká, who then sent it to
Other Tablets revealed at about the same time:
There were many Tablets revealed around this time, most notably the epistles to the Kings,
such as the Súriy-i-Ra'ís, Lawh-i-Fu'ád, Lawh-i-Ra'ís II, Tablet to Pope Pius IX, Tablet
to Czar Alexander II, and the Tablet to Queen Victoria.
Style, subject, and genre of the Tablet: [?]
I. Tone of Tablet
1. Tablets with the tone of command and authority.
II. Subject Covered by Tablet (could include the following)
2. Writings in which laws and ordinances have been enjoined for this age and laws
of the past abrogated.
4. Tablets concerning matters of government and world order, and those addressed
to the kings.
6. Tablets exhorting men to education, goodly character and divine virtues.
7. Tablets dealing with social teachings.
III. Literary Genre of Tablet:
1. Letter to an individual.
Voice of Tablet
Bahá'u'lláh and God (re the latter, an example is when Bahá'u'lláh says
"Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Ever-Forgiving, The Most Merciful!")
Outline Contents of Tablet:
A brief summary of the parts of this Tablet that have been translated (not necessarily in
order) could include that the "King of Paris" is warned not to deny Bahá'u'lláh's claim.
Bahá'u'lláh announces Himself and calls on the Emperor to arise and serve Him. The monks
are called out of seclusion that they may marry and benefit mankind. The Emperor, though,
is insincere in his concern for the oppressed. Bahá'u'lláh emphasizes courtesy, and declares
that for his deeds the Emperor will lose his kingdom.
Bahá'u'lláh tells Napoleon that when He was in Iraq He was badly treated, and His situation
deteriorated from day to day. However, He was being persecuted for saying the same thing as
Moses, Jesus and Muhammad had said before Him. He expresses His longing to be sacrificed
for the unity of the world, admonishes Napoleon to take responsibility for his people, and
advises him to turn away from worldiness and towards God.
As well as rebuking Napoleon for his insincerity, Bahá'u'lláh tells him not to kill or judge
unjustly, but to be trustworthy and to give to the poor. He should realize that both
possessions and sovereignty are temporary. His selfishness will be the cause of his own
downfall. Remember the kings of the past, Bahá'u'lláh points out: where are their empires
In an untranslated part of the Tablet, according to Taherzadeh (vol. 3, p. 115), Bahá'u'lláh
also announces that the two greatest festivals in the Faith are the festival of Ridván and the
declaration of the Báb, followed by the birth of Bahá'u'lláh and the birth of the Báb.
Principal themes of the Tablet:
Bahá'u'lláh's announcement of His claim and the call to Napoleon to teach it; Bahá'u'lláh's
exhortation to Napoleon to be virtuous and trustworthy and responsible for his people; the
call to monks to abandon celibacy; prediction of the eminent downfall of Napoleon.
Tablet's relationship to other tablets:
This Tablet was revealed at about the same time as the Tablets to Fu'ád, to Queen Victoria,
the Czar of Russia, and to Pope Pius IX. In all of these, Bahá'u'lláh announces His mission,
admonishes the recipients to virtuous behavior, warns them about a failure to heed His
proclamation, and makes predictions about their empires. Queen Victoria is the only one
with a positive note; dire predictions are made for the others.
Bahá'u'lláh actually wrote two tablets to Napoleon III. The first Tablet, which was written
in a mild tone, was received with discourtesy and disrespect. It is reported that he flung
down the tablet saying "If this man is God, I am two gods!" The second was revealed in
majestic language with a supreme authority declaring that its Author is none other than the
King of Kings.
Later, in the Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh again referred to Napoleon III in his apostrophe to Kaiser
Wilhelm, in which He wrote: "Say: O King of Berlin! ... Do thou remember the one whose
power transcended thy power, and whose station excelled thy station. Where is he? Whither
are gone the things he possessed? Take warning, and be not of them that are fast asleep. He
it was who cast the Tablet of God behind him when We made known unto him what the hosts
of tyranny had caused Us to suffer. Wherefore, disgrace assailed him from all sides, and he
went down to dust in great loss. Think deeply, O King, concerning him, and concerning them
who, like unto thee, have conquered cities and ruled over men. The All-Merciful brought
them down from their palaces to their graves."
Biography or bio note of the recipient of the Tablet:
The American Heritage Dictionary gives the following definition of Napoleon:
"Originally Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. Known as Louis Napoleon. 1808-1873.
Emperor of the French (1852-1871). A nephew of Napoleon I, he led the Bonapartist
opposition to Louis Philippe and became president of the Second Republic (1848). After
proclaiming himself emperor (1852), he instituted reforms and rebuilt Paris. His
successful imperialist ventures were overshadowed by a failed campaign in Mexico (1861-
1867) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), which resulted in his deposition."
Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Paris, on April 20,1808, the third and last son of
King Louis of France and Queen Hortense of Holland. His uncle was Napoleon I, thus making
him heir to the throne of France. After the downfall of his uncle, in an invasion of Russia,
the Bonaparte family was banished from France.
Napoleon III was educated privately in Switzerland and Bavaria. His mother taught him the
history of the Napoleonic legend. Thus he was possessed to emulate the example, and finish
the interrupted work, of his imperial Uncle. However, Napoleon III was known as a dreamer
and a conspirator; he had a shifting nature that was hypocritical and reckless.
In his desire to further the work of his uncle he began to aggrandize himself and formulate a
political program. He portrayed himself as a social reformer, political liberal, military
expert and proponent of agricultural and industrial development. He desired to overthrow
the monarchy but, failing in his attempt, he was deported to America.
In 1836 and 1840 he led two unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the regime of King Louis
Phillipe. He was captured and condemned to life imprisonment. He escaped to London in
1846, but returned in 1848. King Louis Philippi was ousted in 1848 and Louis Napoleon
renewed his quest as a candidate for the Presidency of the new French republic. To the
astonishment of political veterans, he won by a landslide. However, in 1849 the Royalists
had a legislative victory limiting him to a 4 year term. Resolving this by a coup d'etat on
December 2 1851, he assumed dictatorial powers, extending his term to ten years.
His reign is divided into two periods by historians. The dictatorship persisted until 1860;
thereafter he began a series of liberal reforms that culminated in a limited monarchy. This
period was marked by labor legislation, a movement toward free trade, and a revival of
opposition parties. His most durable work was the reconstruction of Paris.
However, he was blinded to the dangers of French security and because of his own passions
and desires he was a weak leader. In 1870 he led France to defeat in the Franco-Prussian
War in the Battle of Sedan (1870), an event which marked one of the greatest military
capitulations recorded in modern history. A ferocious civil war ensued, and the crowning of
William I, the Prussian King, as Emperor of a unified Germany, took place in the Palace of
Versailles. Napoleon III died in exile on January 9 1873 at Chislehurst, England.