The story of Sobek is about a god and his journey from a fearsome source of darkness, into a deity that protects and serves the weak. Sobek was originally a god that embodied war and ferocious animals. Crocodiles were a common occurrence along the Nile. Unfortunately for the Egyptians, these Crocodiles killed other wildlife and Egyptian citizens. These attacks proved that Sobek was a god to be feared.
Sobek arose in the old kingdom as a god of the Nile, war, and fertility. As a fertility god he was paired with a variety of goddesses, perhaps implying promiscuity. As the son of Set, Sobek was considered a deity of darkness. He was vicious and a force to be feared. Sobek would side with the forces of Chaos, as he was told to have risen from the dark waters of Nun. After rising from the waters, Sobek laid eggs that would eventually birth the world. At first glance, Sobek’s transition from a terrible and violent deity to a protector seems out of place. However, the Egyptians based many gods and goddesses on the idea of duality. Gods would be paired with Goddesses. Some gods would have multiple personalties or alternative responsibilities. The trend of duality in Egyptian culture mixed with the fear of Nile crocodiles, may have led to Sobek’s transition into a protector rather than a destroyer.
Myths later described Sobek as he helped others. One account of this, is when Sobek aids Isis in giving birth. Osiris is cut in pieces by Set, the god of the underworld. Sobek-Ra, in the form of a crocodile, retrieves the missing pieces of Osiris so that Isis can revive him. Once Osiris is revived, Isis becomes pregnant and gives birth to Horus. It is because of this rescue attempt by Sobek, that he is joined with Ra. Sobek’s association with Ra begins changing his reputation and representation in Egyptian myths. The book of Faiyum is later written to describe how Sobek-Ra carries the sun across the sky. Sobek has become an aspect of Ra, but still maintains some of his previous associations. Sobek-Ra ends his path across the sky with the sun inside of a lake rather than going into the underworld. This is symbolic of his image as the crocodile of the Nile river. Citizens begin attibuting new traits to Sobek and giving him new roles, after this story is created.
Sobek came to represent a violent creature and the protector. In this stage of the myth, Sobek was honored. A temple was built, called Kom Ombo. In keeping with Sobek’s new roles as a protector, the temple was shared with child of the mother he had previously aided, Horus. Kom Ombo was on the edge of the Nile where crocodiles would gather by the river. Some of the crocodiles were caught and kept in a pen near the temple. The crocodiles were thought to be Sobek on earth. The crocodiles were treated as sacred beings, and were even mummified after death. At times, eggs and young crocodiles would also be mummified and placed with humans in their tombs. The idea was that Sobek would protect them during their journey. Citizens also made offerings by lighting votive candles in honor of Sobek. This was done, in order to appease Sobek’s violent nature and for his protection. The people honored Sobek for his vicious nature against forces of evil. In Egyptian culture Sobek was thought to protect the people of Egypt as a crocodile protects its young.