Uploaded Feb. 21, 2018          added  commentary Mar. 3, 2018

The Law Code of Hammurabi


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I uploaded this before the earlier in time law code Eshnunna circa 1930 BC. I did a commentary on this law code, too. I am Hammurabi. I would actually recommend Eshnunna 1st as it was the first law code to survive down to out time. Hammurabi is about 200 years along, after, in 1728 BC or near to that. 

I find ancient law and culture fascinating to compare with our own time and Culture. I think you might fine it interesting, too. I propose that our modern day law is far more corrupt with lots of hidden agenda. It was far more honest in times of the ancient past when manual labor, aside from certain resources, was the primary means of generating wealth. As such, they had to be more fair. As you will read just below, this dates, according to Academics, to 1728 BC to 1686 BC. Moses' Law dates to about 1500 BC. But they share many common ideas, which should not really be a surprise to us. At best, given the dates, we have a distance of 228 years between the 2 sources and 3500 years from now to Moses and 3728 year at best for Hammurabi.

These statutes of law shed a lot of light on our own times. I will start on a commentary of certain parts to extract things more particular to our time. Eshnunna shows powerful monarchs ruling society and keeping trade and merchants in check. In our day, it is the opposite.

Hammurabi covers from page 138 - 167, 30 small pages in all.


From the Book: "The Ancient Near East  Volume I  An Anthology of Texts and Pictures"
Edited by James B. Pritchard    1958 Princeton University Press 

 

page 138 starts The Code of Hammurabi    TRANSLATOR: THEOPHILE J. MEEK

Hammurabi (also spelled Hammurapi) was the sixth of eleven kings in the Old Babylonian (Amorite) Dynasty. He ruled for 43 years, from 1728 BC to 1686 BC according to the most recent calculations. The date-formula for his second year, "The year he enacted the law of the land," indicates that he promulgated his famous law code at the very beginning of his reign, but the copy which we have could not have been written so early because the Prologue refers to events much later than this. Our copy was [Fig. 59] written on a diorite stela, topped by a bas-relief showing Hammurabi in the act of receiving the commission to write the Ian-book from the god of justice, the sun-god Shamash. The stela was carried off to the old Elamite capital, Susa (the Shusha of Esther and Daniel), by some Elamite raider (apparently Shutruk-Nahhunte, about 1207-1171 B.C.) as a trophy of war.


Short Biography of Hammurabi from Wikipedia:

Hammurabi[a] (c.-1810 BC – c.-1750 BC) was the sixth king of the First Babylonian Dynasty, reigning from 1792 BC to 1750 BC (according to the Middle Chronology). He was preceded by his father, Sin-Muballit, who abdicated due to failing health. During his reign, he conquered the city-states of Elam, Larsa, Eshnunna, and Mari. He ousted Ishme-Dagan I, the king of Assyria, and forced his son Mut-Ashkur to pay tribute, thereby bringing almost all of Mesopotamia under Babylonian rule.[2]

Hammurabi is best known for having issued the Code of Hammurabi, which he claimed to have received from Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. Unlike earlier Sumerian law codes, such as the Code of Ur-Nammu, which had focused on compensating the victim of the crime, the Law of Hammurabi was one of the first law codes to place greater emphasis on the physical punishment of the perpetrator. It proscribed specific penalties for each crime and is among the first codes to establish the presumption of innocence. Although its penalties are extremely harsh by modern standards, they were intended to limit what a wronged person was permitted to do in retribution. The Code of Hammurabi and the Law of Moses in the Torah contain numerous similarities, but these are probably due to shared background and oral tradition, and is unlikely that Hammurabi's laws exerted any direct impact on the later Mosaic ones.

Truth1 >>It would be remarkable that any of the law codes anywhere near Mesopotamia and Babylon I would be all that much different from one another. But I would expect some variance as well. And if God (of Israel) were the author of the Law handed to Moses, I would expect to see evidence of considerations of the alleged past to be represented in that law, such as the common expression of kindness to slaves as Israel were once slaves in Egypt. As I was commenting on page 140 and the circumstances of Hammurabi, that I might do well to include a short biography him to enlighten us more on why the law was as it was. so the short bio just above was sought when I got to page 141.<<


 139                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

It was discovered there by French archaeologists in the winter of 1901-1902 and was carried off by them to the Louvre in Paris as a trophy of archaeology. All the laws from col. xvi 77 to the end of the obverse (from the end of §65 to the beginning of §100) were chiseled off by the Elamites, but these have been preserved in large part on other copies of the Code.         The Laws:


 

1:       If a seignior' accused a(nother) seignior and brought a charge of murder against him, but has not [Deut. 5:20; 19:16-21; Exod. 23:1-3] proved it, his accuser shall be put to death.    >>This is an interesting policy. It seems to discourage accusing, unless one is sure he can prove his accusation. This would discourage people from accusing unless they have proof. Imagine if this were the policy for rape accusations. No proof, no rape, and you suffer the penalty for not being able to prove the accusation. What they seem to be doing, and saying, if you can not prove it, don't bother so that our courts are not clogged.<<

2:      If a seignior brought a charge of sorcery against a(nother) seignior, but has not proved it, the one against whom the charge of sorcery was brought, upon going to the river2, shall throw himself into the river, and if the river has then overpowered him, his accuser shall take over his estate; if the river has shown that seignior to be innocent and he has accordingly come forth safe, the one who brought the charge of sorcery against him shall be put to death, while the one who threw himself into the river shall take over the estate of his accuser.

>>2 demands that once an accusation is made, either one or the other is likely to be put to death. This would surely discourage some accusations.<<

3:      If a seignior came forward with false testimony in a case, and has not proved the word which he spoke, if that case was a case involving life, that seignior shall be put to death. 

>>I see this as a good precedent. It is like the Bible that punishes a rapist with death, but if the woman ends up being a false accuser, then she is put to death. I think this is very reasonable. But notice that it is not USA policy. Accountability only seems to go in one direction. In fact most western nations are very soft on crime. Or soft going one way, and severe the other way. Number 4 below sums it up.<<

4:      If he came forward with (false) testimony concerning grain or money, he shall bear the penalty of that case.

5:      If a judge gave a judgment, rendered a decision, [Fig. 57] deposited a sealed document, but later has altered his judgment, they shall prove that that judge altered the judgment which he gave and he shall pay twelvefold the claim which holds in that case; furthermore, they shall expel him in the assembly from his seat of judgment and he shall never again sit with the judges in a case.

I almost fell out of my chair on 5. Judges are accountable for their judging or misjudging. Unheard of in the USA. Wouldn't you agree that law was far more just 3700 years ago? I think so!

6:      If a seignior stole the property of church or state, that seignior shall be put to death; also the one who received the stolen goods from his hand shall be put to death. 

>>They took crime very seriously. They punished both the thief and the one  who received or bought the stolen goods as well. Clearly, the king/ruler was serious about law and order. not like today where everything is out of control.<<

Notes:

1        awelum seems to be used in at least three senses: (1) sometimes to indicate a man of the higher class, a noble; (2) sometimes a free man of any class, high or low; and (3) occasionally a man of any class, from king to slave I follow the ambiguity of the original and use the rather general term "seignior," as employed in Italian and Spanish, to indicate any free man of standing.

2      The river (the Euphrates) as judge in the case was regarded as god


140                       LEGAL TEXTS

7:        If a seignior has purchased or he received for safe-keeping either silver or gold or a male slave or a female slave or an ox or a sheep or an ass or any sort of thing from the hand of a seignior's son or a seignior's slave without witnesses and contracts, since that seignior is a thief, he shall be put to death.

>>You'll note that they did not take fraud lightly. It is also possible that many tried to commit fraud, which then brought on the prescribed death penalty to counter the problem.<<

8:       If a seignior stole either an ox or a sheep or an ass or a pig or a boat, if it belonged to the church (or) if it belonged to the state, he shall make thirtyfold restitution; if it belonged to a private citizen, he shall make [Exod. 20:15; Deut. 5:19; 22:1-4; Lev. 19.11, 13] good tenfold. If the thief does not have sufficient to make restitution, he shall be put to death.

>>The law of Moses/God required a thief to pay 4 times the amount stolen. No penalty otherwise . . . except that if he could not pay, he would likely be sold into slavery if of Israel, to pay off his debt thru labor. And the most an Israelite could serve as a slave was 7 years and then all slaves who were Israelites, were freed every 7 year cycle and if one become a slave several years into a 7 year period, then he would be a slave for the remaining years left in the 7 year period.

My estimation is that God wanted 4 times the amount stolen to make the prospect of theft unappealing. If he was allowed to repay 4 ties the amount, he should be allowed to live and be forgiven otherwise as 4 times the amount was good compensation and good deterrence as well. There was the aspect of redemption in the laws of the Bible that was not to be found in Hammurabi's laws. You obeyed or else. However, compare to today's laws of deceit, treachery and chaos, I prefer Hammurabi's law. But I would prefer Moses over both.

One other difference with Israel's law is the institution of the temple and priesthood established to render service to God's laws and His rituals and ordinances in order to teach and promote morality and obedience to God's law code, and provide the priestly bureaucracy that would record state affairs and God's laws, and prophecies of His sent prophets, to be deposited in the temple with the priests, who would also keep making copies of documents when they got near to needing replacement.

This was unique in 1500 BC. Most nations used carving in stone or clay and baked and was slow and tedious, discouraging making many copies and discouraging distribution of records. Israel, on the other hand, thru writing, could make many more copies with far less labor, insuring a continuing of their records and history, and laws. for this reason, I would suggest that though the material evidence does not support Israel as the inventor of letter/alphabet writing of things, There is no other other nation doing such at 1500 BC. In fact, the earliest use of letters by Phoenicians and Greeks does not show up until the collapse of the bronze age (1177 BC) and thru to the recovery of about 800 BC, when Rome's founding began with writing in letters. Etruscans were doing it, too and the Greeks and Phoenicians, too.

Israel had been recording from 1500 onward and a fairly detailed and precise chronology can be had from its survived writings in the Bible. Yet, Academics are not impressed at the huge head start Israel had over the rest of the nations, at least a 300 year jump on them, if not more. Was writing a well kept secret or was it that Israel was fairly isolated so that most did not know what they were doing. The Philistines might have been among the first to learn of Israel's "secret." The Philistines were related to the Egyptians, Canaanites and other descendants of Ham, son of Noah.

This would well account for how the Bible survived so well for so long. and by 800 BC, everyone was copying Israel's alphabet style and all those alphabets used similar looking letter, too. That would indicate that they were copying each other and modifying the letters to their liking.<<

9:         When a seignior, (some of) whose property was lost, has found his lost property in the possession of a(nother) seignior, if the seignior in whose possession the lost (property) was found has declared, "A seller sold (it) to me; I made the purchase in the presence of witnesses," and the owner of the lost (property) in turn has declared, "I will produce witnesses attesting to my lost (property)"; the purchaser having then produced the seller who made the sale to him and the witnesses in whose presence he made the purchase, and the owner of the lost (property) having also produced the witnesses attesting to his lost (property), the judges shall consider their evidence, and the witnesses in whose presence the purchase was made, along with the witnesses attesting to the lost (property), shall declare what they know in the presence of god, and since the seller was the thief, he shall be put to death, while the owner of the lost (property) shall take his lost (property), with the purchaser obtaining from the estate of the seller the money that he paid out2

10:     If the (professed) purchaser has not produced the seller who made the sale to him and the witnesses in whose presence he made the purchase, but the owner of the lost property has produced witnesses attesting to his lost property, since the (professed) purchaser was the thief, he shall be put to death, while the owner of the lost property shall take his lost property.

11:     If the (professed) owner of the lost property has not produced witnesses attesting to his lost property . . .

Notes:

1 Ordinarily indicates a man of the middle class, a commoner, but here it manifestly refers to a private citizen as distinct from the church and state.
2 In the time of Hammurabi coinage had of course not yet been invented and the money (usually silver, as here) was weighed out in bars.


141                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

. . . . since he was a cheat and started a false report, he shall be put to death.

12.        If the seller has gone to (his) fate, the purchaser shall take from the estate of the seller fivefold the claim for that case.

13.        If the witnesses of that seignior were not at hand, the judges shall set a time-limit of six months for him, and if he did not produce his witnesses within six months, since that seignior was a cheat, he shall bear the penalty of that case.

14.        If a seignior has stolen the young son of a(nother)  [Exod. 21:16; Deut. 24:7] seignior, he shall be put to death.

15.        If a seignior has helped either a male slave of the state or a female slave of the state or a male slave of a private citizen or a female slave of a private citizen to escape through the city-gate, he shall be put to death.

16.        If a seignior has harbored in his house either a fugitive male or female slave belonging to the state or to a private citizen and has not brought him forth at the summons of the police, that householder shall be put to death.

17.        If a seignior caught a fugitive male or female slave in the open and has taken him to his owner, the owner of the slave shall pay him two shekels' of silver.

18.        If that slave has not named his owner, he shall take him to the palace in order that his record may be investigated, and they shall return him to his owner.

19.        If he has kept that slave in his house (and) later the slave has been found in his possession, that seignior shall be put to death.

20.        If the slave has escaped from the hand of his captor, that seignior shall (so) affirm by god to the owner of the slave and he shall then go free.

21.        If a seignior made a breach in a house, they shall  [Exod. 22:2-3]  put him to death in front of that breach and wall him in.

22.        If a seignior committed robbery and has been caught, that seignior shall be put to death.

>> This body of law is very severe compared to the Bible. I suspect this was to serve as a deterrent to anyone thinking about such a crime. The Bible required a thief pay back 4 times the amount or number, stolen. Perhaps Israel was more law abiding. I think, too, that the God of Israel felt His laws, if fully enforced, should be enough.

It might also be that Hammurabi saw it in his best interests to get rid of problem people rather than tolerate their existence and continual violations of law.

It is rather interesting that in the USA, anyway, criminals are not only tolerated, but are often part of the government agencies like the CIA, who use criminals to carryout enforcement and distribution/sales of drugs and other contraband, at home and abroad. Its hard for me not to see more integrity in the ancient laws and their intentions to keep order at all cost. But then there is the concern of severity. But without knowing exactly what life was like at that time and circumstance, it still looks better than today.

But it must be said that overall, law was much more honest and upright in its purposes and ambitions. Leaders do not seem to have like chaos or disorder. Perhaps they were living for the long term survival of their kingdoms/empires. Maybe our nations are trying to destroy order and even most life. It would only be right to wonder why the contrast from then to now is so great.<<

23.       If the robber has not been caught, the robbed seignior shall set forth the particulars regarding his lost property in the presence of god, and the city and governor, in whose territory and district the robbery was committed, shall make good to him his lost property.

>> 23 is very unusual, with the state (empire) compensating a man robbed, if the robber was not caught and was successful in getting away. Perhaps the state sought to grant protections to encourage residence in their cities in order to insure the continuing of business, profit and tax revenue. If this is the case, it was a rather clever strategy, perhaps. In our society today, we are often out of luck if we are robbed or vandalized when comes to theft and crime. This might explain why punishment was severe, given the compensation paid out if a man was not able to recover what was stolen from him.

Oddly, it is the government itself now, that steals more than anyone else, using abusive laws to justify great fines and extreme taxation to support a huge welfare state of mostly unproductive citizens. the ancient past rulers and laws are looking better with my every letter typed.<<

 Notes:

1 A weight of about 8 gr.


142             LEGAL TEXTS

24:        If it was a life (that was lost), the city and governor shall pay one mina1 of silver to his people [Deut. 21:1]

>>This is amazing. Its insurance from the state. That is both good and bad. There was no insurance in the Bible. In fact, there was no king or government, per say, except for the temple and priesthood, and prophets and judges, which was an office that served in time of needs, who also became a sort of general. Such were appointments by God.

Death is a loss all experience. No compensation therefore. Now I assume the "insurance" or compensation was for the loss of a life thru attack or robbery and the robber/killer got away. In that case, the state gave a consideration of money, a fixed rate of mina. Another benefit to being a sedentary member of the state, as opposed to nomad tribes which were not an uncommon thing and many merchants were nomad trading caravans.

So a lure was used to get people to settle down or maybe even bring them out of the rural country and into the city (to be enslaved into labor). The choice is yours.<<

25:        If fire broke out in a seignior's house and a seignior, who went to extinguish (it), cast his eye on the goods of the owner of the house and has appropriated the goods of the owner of the house, that seignior shall be thrown into that fire.

26:      If either a private soldier or a commissary,2 whose dispatch on a campaign of the king was ordered, did not go or he hired a substitute and has sent (him) in his place, that soldier or commissary shall be put to death, while the one who was hired by him shall take over his estate.

>>In the USA during the Civil War, the rich could get their sons deferred from service for a certain amount of money. A huge riot broke out in NYC at the close of the Gettysburg battle due to this and the army was sent to NYC to put it down. But Hammurabi did not like the idea of passing off assigned duties. For one, the one appointed might not appoint another as qualified as he, by the king. Further, it was in many ways, a refusal to obey the king. Not a good thing, if you are a king. we could call it treason quite easily.<<

27:        In the case of either a private soldier or a commissary who was carried off while in the armed service of the king, if after his (disappearance) they gave his field and orchard to another and he has looked after his feudal obligations—if he has returned and reached his city, they shall restore his field and orchard to him and he shall himself look after his feudal obligations.

>>If a solider was carried off, rather than sending someone else, this was excusable and all his rights were protected and restored.<<

28:        In the case of either a private soldier or a commissary, who was carried off while in the armed service of the king, if his son is able to look after the feudal obligations, the field and orchard shall be given to him and he shall look after the feudal obligations of his father.

29:        If his son is so young that he is not able to look after the feudal obligations of his father, one-third of the field and orchard shall be given to his mother in order that his mother may rear him.

>> Even if someone has to be appointed to run the fields and orchards, the wife and young son are still protected. In this respect, it is much like the Bible in that Widows and orphans were to receive protections and considerations such as the right to glean fields, as well as God's threat's to Israel if they neglected widows and orphans. God's promise was that He would eventually repay Israel for her disobedience and be cast off, especially for the neglect, or far worse, the abuse of widows and orphans. Hint: there is probably no better way to piss God off than to neglect or abuse any downtrodden which were included in the representative "widows and orphans."  But care for these unfortunates was assigned to all inhabitants and not to the king, kingdom or government. The right for the poor to glean fields was mandated by God.<<

30:      If either a private soldier or a commissary gave up his field, orchard and house on account of the feudal obligations and has then absented himself, (and) after his (departure) another took over his field, orchard and house and has looked after the feudal obligations for three years—if he has returned and demands his field, orchard and house, they shall not be given to him; the one who has taken over and looked after his feudal obligations shall himself become the feudatory.

>> 30. This is a lot like laws of England and Canada and the USA, where if a squatter or other, takes over land that is not his and makes it productive, it becomes his by law after 20 or 40 years, depending on the state or province or county of the land. this was because the king likes productivity and did not like land just sitting there producing nothing. So if the land were ignored long enough, it would be given to the one taking "Adverse Possession" of a piece of land and using it.

Hammurabi did the same here, except it only took 3 years to lose it.<<

31:             If he has absented himself for only one year and has returned, his field, orchard and house shall be . . .

NOTES

1 About 800 gr., divided into 60 shekels.

2 The exact meaning of the two military terms used here, redum and ba'irum, is uncertain. The former means literally "follower" and is regularly used for the ordinary foot-soldier; the latter means literally "fisher, hunter," hence "commissary" here.


143                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

 . . . given back to him and he shall look after his feudal obligations himself.

>>31. One year and you could still recover but noting said about the 2nd year. Perhaps if you get to the end of the 2nd year and third begins, this might be the accounting of 3. I have no sure answer on that.<<

32:       If a merchant has ransomed either a private soldier or a commissary, who was carried off in a campaign of the king, and has enabled him to reach his city, if ' there is sufficient to ransom (him) in his house, he him-self shall ransom himself; if there is not sufficient to ransom him in his house, he shall be ransomed from the estate of his city-god; if there is not sufficient to ransom him in the estate of his city-god, the state shall ransom him, since his own field, orchard and house may not be ceded for his ransom.  >>More state protections/benefits. But these are few compared to modern current Socialist countries. We have gone nuts in our time and few have recourse to farms and depend on fickle abusive miserly employers and the welfare state.<<

33:       If either a sergeant or a captain has obtained a soldier by conscription or he accepted and has sent a hired substitute for a campaign of the king, that sergeant or captain shall be put to death.

34:       If either a sergeant or a captain has appropriated the household goods of a soldier, has wronged a soldier, has let a soldier for hire, has abandoned a soldier to a superior in a lawsuit, has appropriated the grant which the king gave to a soldier, that sergeant or captain shall be put to death. >>memo: do not screw with the King's soldiers. Hey, the king cared more about his soldiers than our governments do! How about that?<<

35:        If a seignior has bought from the hand of a soldier the cattle or sheep which the king gave to the soldier, he shall forfeit his money.>>If you sell it, then you did not need it. The king will take the money. It seems reasonable. Makes one wonder about how welfare benefits are abuses. you did not do that in 1700 BC!<<

36:        In no case is the field, orchard, or house belonging to a soldier, a commissary, or a feudatory1 salable.

37:        If a seignior has purchased the field, orchard, or house belonging to a soldier, a commissary, or a feudatory, his contract-tablet shall be broken and he shall also forfeit his money, with the field, orchard, or house reverting to its owner.

>>37. I suspect land grants were made to the 3 categories mentioned and could not be bought, by law. So don't ever try it! Looking below, I think I was right.<<

38:        In no case may a soldier, a commissary, or a feudatory deed any of his field, orchard, or house belonging to his fief to his wife or daughter, and in no case may he assign (them) for an obligation of his.

39:        He may deed to his wife or daughter any of the field, orchard, or house which he purchases and accordingly owns,2 and he may assign (them) for an obligation of his.

>> 39. We are getting into some serious women's right here or restriction of them. she was not entitled to any granted by the state to special state recipient. but if he also made wealth and income and bought land on his own, he could sell or assign these to his wife or daughter.<<

40:     A hierodule; a merchant, and a feudatory extraordinary may sell his field, orchard and house, with . . . 

Notes:

1 Or, officers of some sort.   2 i.e, in fee simple and not as a fief.
3 The exact meaning of the term used here, naditum, is unknown, but it indicates some kind of religious functionary.


144                       LEGAL TEXTSLEGAL TEXTS

. . . the purchaser assuming the feudal obligations of the field, orchard and house which he purchases.

>>The merchant class did not have the same high status that those of 36-38 had. whoever bought the land had to keep it productive. Laziness was not allowed. Work was mandatory.<<

41:       If a seignior acquired by barter the field, orchard, or house belonging to a soldier, a commissary, or a feudatory, and also made an additional payment, the soldier, commissary, or feudatory shall repossess his field, orchard, or house, and he shall also keep the additional payment that was made to him.

42:            If a seignior rented a field for cultivation, but has not produced grain in the field, they shall prove that he did no work on the field and he shall give grain to the owner of the field on the basis of those adjoining it.  >>You had better be productive! Buying or renting land came with obligations.<<

43:             If he did not cultivate the field, but has neglected (it), he shall give grain to the owner of the field on the basis of those adjoining it; furthermore, the field which he neglected he shall break up with mattocks, harrow and return to the owner of the field.

44:             If a seignior rented a fallow field for three years for development, but became so lazy that he has not developed the field, in the fourth year he shall break up the field with mattocks, plow and harrow (it), and he shall return (it) to the owner of the field; further-more, he shall measure out ten kur1 of grain per eighteen iku.2

45:             If a seignior let his field to a tenant and has already received the rent of his field, (and) later Adad has inundated the field or a flood has ravaged (it), the loss shall be the tenant's.

46:           If he has not received the rent of the field, whether he let the field for one-half or one-third (the crop), the tenant and the owner of the field shall divide proportionately the grain which is produced in the field.

47:              If the tenant has asked (another) to cultivate the field because he did not get back his investment in the previous year, the owner of the field shall not object; his (new) tenant shall cultivate his field and at harvest-time he shall take grain in accordance with his contracts.

48:         If a debt is outstanding against a seignior and Adad has inundated his field or a flood has ravaged (it) or through lack of water grain has not been produced in the field, he shall not make any return of . . .

NOTES

1 A measure equal to a little more than 7 bushels, divided into 300 qu.
2 A land measure equal to about 7/8 of an acre.


145                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

. . . grain to his creditor in that year; he shall cancel' his contract-tablet and he shall pay no interest for that year.

49:      When a seignior borrowed money from a merchant and pledged to the merchant a field prepared for grain or sesame, if he said to him, "Cultivate the field, then harvest (and) take the grain or sesame that is produced," if the tenant has produced grain or sesame in the field, the owner of the field at harvest-time shall himself take the grain or sesame that was produced in the field and he shall give to the merchant grain for his money, which he borrowed from the merchant, together with its interest, and also for the cost of cultivation.

50:     If he pledged a field planted with (grain) or a field planted with sesame, the owner of the field shall himself take the grain or sesame that was produced in the field and he shall pay back the money with its interest to the merchant.

51:      If he does not have the money to pay back, (grain or) sesame at their market value in accordance with the ratio fixed by the king' he shall give to the merchant for his money, which he borrowed from the merchant, together with its interest.

52:     If the tenant has not produced grain or sesame in the field, he may not change his contract.

53:      If a seignior was too lazy to make [the dike of] his field strong and did not make his dike strong and a break has opened up in his dike and he has accordingly let the water ravage the farmland, the seignior in whose dike the break was opened shall make good the grain that he let get destroyed.

54:      If he is not able to make good the grain, they shall sell him and his goods, and the farmers whose grain the water carried off shall divide (the proceeds).

55:     If a seignior, upon opening his canal for irrigation, became so lazy that he has let the water ravage a field adjoining his, he shall measure out grain on the basis of those adjoining his.

56:      If a seignior opened up the water and then has let the water carry off the work done on a field adjoining his, he shall measure out ten kur of grain per eighteen iku.

>>The problem I see it in these harsh laws is that someone could make a mistake without intention. Or he might not be the brightest. But he has strict quotas to live up to as he is a slave, essentially, though not called it by name.  God Set up Israel with independence and freedom so that a man has not obligation to another man and has no one to blame but himself. Further, he could become a slave for at most, 7 year and then let free. His master could sustain him and his debts removed at the end of the 7 year jubilee. A man is born with a right to land in Israel. In this respect, the bible stand out for debt forgiveness and rights to land without pay, which is far beyond any other national law.

I am quite surprised that this does not have more respect from most people. We now pay brutal 40 year mortgages if we want a home and no farm land comes with it. Empires like that of Hammurabi were very demanding of people to maintain high productivity which I am sure the state used to maintain an army and police the realm if not engage in war. Israel had no standing army for many years until Saul. That was about 400 years of being tax free, except for the temple requirements.<<

 NOTES

1 Lit., "he shall wash off"    2 In ancient Mesopotamia the ratio between silver (the money of the time) and various commodities was fixed by the state.


146                       LEGAL TEXTS

57:       If a shepherd has not come to an agreement with the owner of a field to pasture sheep on the grass, but has pastured sheep on the field without the consent of the owner of the field, when the owner of the field harvests his field, the shepherd who pastured the sheep on the field without the consent of the owner of the field shall give in addition twenty kur of grain per eighteen iku to the owner of the field.

58:       If after the sheep have gone up from the meadow, when the whole flock has been shut up within the city-gate,' the shepherd drove the sheep into a field and has then pastured the sheep on the field, the shepherd shall look after the field on which he pastured and at harvest-time he shall measure out sixty kur of grain per eighteen iku to the owner of the field.

59:       If a seignior cut down a tree in a(nother) seignior's orchard without the consent of the owner of the orchard, he shall pay one-half mina of silver.

60:     If, when a seignior gave a field to a gardener to set out an orchard, the gardener set out the orchard, he [Lev. 19:23-25] shall develop the orchard for four years; in the fifth year the owner of the orchard and the gardener shall divide equally, with the owner of the orchard receiving his preferential share.

61:       If the gardener did not set out the whole field, but left a portion bare, they shall assign the bare portion to him as his share.

62:      If he did not set out, the field that was given to him as an orchard, if it was a cultivated field, the gardener shall pay2 to the owner of the field rent for the field for the years that it was neglected on the basis of those adjoining it; also he shall do the (necessary) work on the field and return (it) to the owner of the field.

63:       If it was fallow land, he shall do the (necessary) work on the field and return (it) to the owner of the field; also he shall measure out ten kur of grain per eighteen iku for each year.

64:       If a seignior gave his orchard to a gardener to pollinate 3, the gardener shall give to the owner of the orchard two-thirds of the produce of the orchard as rent . . .


NOTES

1 The reference to the city-gate evidently reflects the Near Eastern custom in both ancient and modern times of bringing the sheep into the shelter of the town or village at night.

2 Lit., "measure out," indicating that the rent was to be paid in grain.

3 The orchard was a date orchard (see §66) and hence had to be artificially fertilized.


147                                         THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

. . . of the orchard as long as the orchard is held, with himself taking one-third.

65:      If the gardener did not pollinate the orchard and so has let the yield decline, the gardener [shall measure out] rent for the orchard on the basis of those adjoining it.
 

66:      When a seignior borrowed money from a merchant and his merchant foreclosed on him and he has nothing to pay (it) back, if he gave his orchard after pollination to the merchant and said to him, "Take for your money as many dates as there are produced in the orchard," that merchant shall not be allowed; the owner of the orchard shall himself take the dates that were produced in the orchard and repay the merchant for the money and its interest in accordance with the wording of his tablet and the owner of the orchard shall in turn take the remaining dates that were produced in the orchard.

>>You may have noticed that many farm laborers (seigniors) were really employees and strictly regulated and responsible for keeping crop yields comparable to what others were getting. But in the bible, each man had a birth right to land that would be his completely. With this arrangement, every man answered only to himself and his family, who depend on him. To put it another way, He was a free man and responsible for his actions and it he were lazy, he would get the results of that. he was not punished except by his own deeds.

On the other hand, an average man under Hammuabi was a slave, really, and he was responsible for what others harvested or not. He was under pressure and if he made a bad judgment call, he could end up lowing a lot. The God of Israel, Jehovah, felt it was enough that a man had to live with his own choices and their results. Not all breaks in dykes are due to lack of diligence. Nor are locusts or drought.<<

 

67:      If a seignior built a house, his neighbor....
   68:      If: (not preserved)

70       he shall give to him. (sic on number gap)

   71:    It he is giving grain, money, or goods for a fief estate belonging to an estate adjoining his, which he wishes to purchase, he shall forfeit whatever he paid, while the estate shall revert to its [owner]. If that estate does not carry feudal obligations, he may purchase (it), since he may give grain, money, or goods for such an estate.

   72-77: (Only a few words preserved, having to do with house building.)

78: [If a seignior let a house to a(nother) seignior and] the seignior (who was) the tenant paid his rental money in full for the year to the owner of [the house] and the owner of the house has then said to the [tenant] while his term was (still) incomplete, "Move out," the owner of the house [shall forfeit] the money which the tenant paid to him [because] he made the tenant [move out] of his house while his term was (still) in-complete.

79-87: (not preserved)

88: If a merchant [lent] grain at interest, he shall receive sixty qu of grain per kur as interest.' If he lent money at interest, he shall receive one-sixth (shekel) . . .

 NOTES

1 Since there were 300 qu in a kur, the interest rate was 20%.


148                       LEGAL TEXTS

 . . . six se (i.e. one-fifth shekel) per shekel of silver as interest.1

89:   If a seignior, who [incurred] a debt, does not have the money to pay (it) back, but has the grain, [the merchant] shall take grain for his money [with its interest] in accordance with the ratio fixed by the king.

90:   If the merchant increased the interest beyond [sixty qu] per kur [of grain] (or) one-sixth (shekel) six se [per shekel of money] and has collected (it), he shall forfeit whatever he lent.

91:         If a merchant [lent] grain at interest and has collected money [for the full interest] on the grain, the grain along with the money may not [be charged to the account].

92:         (not preserved)

93:         [If the merchant] . . . or he has not had the full amount of grain [which he received] deducted and did not write a new contract, or he has added the interest to the principal, that merchant shall pay back double the full amount of grain that he received.

94:         If a merchant lent grain or money at interest and when he lent (it) at interest he paid out the money by the small weight and the grain by the small measure, but when he got (it) back he got the money by the [large] weight (and) the grain by the large measure, [that merchant shall forfeit] whatever he lent.

95:         If a [merchant lent grain or money] at interest and gave . . . , he shall forfeit whatever he lent.

>>You'll note that merchants were carefully regulated.<<

96:         If a seignior borrowed grain or money from a merchant and does not have the grain or money to pay (it) back, but has (other) goods, he shall give to his merchant whatever there is in his possession, (affirming) before witnesses that he will bring (it), while the merchant shall accept (it) without making any objections.

97:         . . . , he shall be put to death.

98:         If a seignior gave money to a(nother) seignior for a partnership, they shall divide equally in the presence of god the profit or loss which was incurred.

99:         If a merchant lent money at interest to a trader2 for the purpose of trading [and making purchases] and sent him out on the road, the trader shall . . . on the road [the money which was entrusted] to him.

NOTES

1 Since there were 180 se in a shekel, the interest rate was again 20%.

2 i.e. a traveling salesman peddling his wares.


149                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

100:   If he has realized a profit where he went, he shall  write down the interest on the full amount of money that he borrowed and they shall count up the days against him and he shall repay his merchant.

101:   If he has not realized a profit where he went, the trader shall repay to the merchant double the money that he borrowed.

102:    If a merchant has lent money to a trader as a favor1 and he has experienced a loss where he went, he shall pay back the principal of the money to the merchant.

103:   If, when he went on the road, an enemy has made him give up whatever he was carrying, the trader shall (so) affirm by god and then he shall go free.

104:   If a merchant lent grain, wool, oil, or any goods at all to a trader to retail, the trader shall write down the value and pay (it) back to the merchant, with the trader obtaining a sealed receipt for the money which he pays to the merchant.

105:   If the trader has been careless and so has not obtained a sealed receipt for the money which he paid to the merchant, the money with no sealed receipt may not be credited to the account.

106:   If a trader borrowed money from a merchant and has then disputed (the fact) with his merchant, that merchant in the presence of god and witnesses shall prove that the trader borrowed the money and the trader shall pay to the merchant threefold the full amount of money that he borrowed.

107:   When a merchant entrusted (something) to a trader and the trader has returned to his merchant whatever the merchant gave him, if the merchant has then disputed with him whatever the trader gave him, that trader shall prove it against the merchant in the presence of god and witnesses and the merchant shall pay to the trader sixfold whatever he received because he had a dispute with his trader.

>>Merchants were seriously punished as we note in 107. In our day, merchants have lots of protections and can often get away with a lot.<<

108:   If a woman wine seller, instead of receiving grain for the price of a drink, has received money by the large weight and so has made the value of the drink less than the value of the grain, they shall prove it against that wine seller and throw her into the water.

109:   If outlaws have congregated in the establishment of a woman wine seller and she has not arrested those . . .

NOTES

1 i.e. without interest.


150                       LEGAL TEXTS

. . . outlaws and did not take them to the palace, that wine seller shall be put to death.

110:   If a hierodule, a nun,1 who is not living in a convent, has opened (the door of) a wineshop or has entered a wineshop for a drink, they shall burn that woman.

111:       If a woman wine seller gave one (flask) of pihum-drink on credit, she shall receive fifty qu of grain at harvest-time.

112:       When a seignior was engaged in a (trading) journey and gave silver, gold, (precious) stones, or (other) goods in his possession to a(nother) seignior and consigned (them) to him for transport, if that seignior did not deliver whatever was to be transported where it was to be transported, but has appropriated (it), the owner of the goods to be transported shall prove the charge against that seignior in the matter of what-ever was to be transported, but which he did not deliver, and that seignior shall pay to the owner of the goods to be transported fivefold whatever was given to him.

113:       If a seignior held (a debt of) grain or money against a(nother) seignior and he has then taken grain from the granary or threshing floor without the consent of the owner of the grain, they shall prove that that seignior took grain from the granary or threshing floor without the consent of the owner of the grain and he shall return the full amount of grain that he took and he shall also forfeit everything else that he lent.

114:       If a seignior did not hold (a debt of) grain or money against a(nother) seignior, but has distrained (someone as) his pledge, he shall pay one-third mina of silver for each distraint.

>>Distraint is basically holding someone unjustly and even forcefully.<<

115:       If a seignior held (a debt of) grain or money against a(nother) seignior and distrained (someone as) his pledge and the pledge has then died a natural death in the house of his distrainer, that case is not subject to claim.

116:       If the pledge has died from beating or abuse in the house of his distrainer, the owner of the pledge shall prove it against his merchant, and if it was the seignior's son, they shall put his son to death; if it was the seignior's slave, he shall pay one-third mina of silver and also forfeit everything else that he lent.

NOTES

1The ideogram means literally "lady of a god."

2 A measure equal to a little more than 3/4 of a quart, dry measure.


151                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

117:       If an obligation came due against a seignior and he sold (the services of) his wife, his son, or his daughter, or he has been bound over to service, they shall work (in) the house of their purchaser or obligee for three years, with their freedom reestablished in the Exod. 21:2-11; fourth year.    [Deut. C. 15:12-18]

118:       When a male slave or a female slave has been bound over to service, if the merchant foreclosed, he may sell (him), with no possibility of his being re-claimed.

119:       If an obligation came due against a seignior and he has accordingly sold (the services of) his female slave who bore him children, the owner of the female slave may repay the money which the merchant paid out and thus redeem his female slave.

120:       If a seignior deposited his grain in a(nother) seignior's house for storage and a loss has then occurred at the granary or the owner of the house opened the storage-room and took grain or he has denied completely (the receipt of) the grain which was stored in his house, the owner of the grain shall set forth the particulars regarding his grain in the presence of god and the owner of the house shall give to the owner of the grain double the grain that he took.    [Exod. 22:7-9]

121:       If a seignior stored grain in a(nother) seignior's house, he shall pay five qu of grain per kur of grain1 as the storage-charge per year.

122:       If a seignior wishes to give silver, gold, or any sort of thing to a(nother) seignior for safekeeping, he shall show to witnesses the full amount that he wishes to give, arrange the contracts, and then commit (it) to safekeeping.

123:       If he gave (it) for safekeeping without witnesses and contracts and they have denied (its receipt) to him at the place where he made the deposit, that case is not subject to claim.

124:       If a seignior gave silver, gold, or any sort of thing for safekeeping to a(nother) seignior in the presence of witnesses and he has denied (the fact) to him, they shall prove it against that seignior and he shall pay double whatever he denied.

125:       If a seignior deposited property of his for safe-keeping and at the place where he made the deposit his . . .

NOTES

1 2/3% since there were 300 qu in a kur.


152                       LEGAL TEXTS

. . . property has disappeared along with the property of the owner of the house, either through breaking in or through scaling (the wall), the owner of the house, who was so careless that he let whatever was given to him for safekeeping get lost, shall make (it) good and make restitution to the owner of the goods, while the owner of the house shall make a thorough search for his lost property and take (it) from its thief.

126:        If the seignior's property was not lost, but he has declared, "My property is lost," thus deceiving his city  [Ruth 3:11; 4:10 for 126]   council, his city council shall set forth the facts regarding him in the presence of god, that his property was not lost, and he shall give to his city council double whatever he laid claim to.

                                                    Marriage Laws

127:        If a seignior pointed the finger at a nun or the wife of a(nother) seignior, but has proved nothing, they shall drag that seignior into the presence of the judges and also cut off half his (hair).     >>Unsupported accusations are punished.<<

128:        If a seignior acquired a wife, but did not draw up the contracts for her, that woman is no wife. [Deut. 22:22]

129 :       If the wife of a seignior has been caught while lying with another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the water. If the husband of the woman wishes to spare his wife, then the king in turn may spare his subject.     >>If the husband asks that his wife be pardoned, the king may spare the man caught as well. In the Bible, neither could be spared. It was about deterrence. On the other hand, if a man caught his wife with another man, the husband could say to both, I'll look the other way this time and you two stay away from each other. Then no one would know the difference, right?<<

130:        If a seignior bound the (betrothed) wife of   [Deut. 22:23-27]   a(nother) seignior, who had had no intercourse with a male and was still living in her father's house, and he has lain in her bosom and they have caught him, that seignior shall be put to death, while that woman shall go free. >>In the bible, both the man and the betrothed would be executed.<<

131:        If a seignior's wife was accused by her husband, but she was not caught while lying with another man, she shall make affirmation by god and return to her house.  >>If he has no proof, then he is out of luck. She lives!<<

132:        If the finger was pointed at the wife of a seignior because of another man, but she has not been caught while lying with the other man, she shall throw herself  [Num. 5:11-31]  into the river1 for the sake of her husband. >>The river "test is similar to the account in the bible, Numbers 5: 11-31, using a different test.<<

133:        If a seignior was taken captive, but there was sufficient to live on in his house, his wife [shall not leave her house, but she shall take care of her person by not] entering [the house of another].2      >>She had to stay loyal to her captured husband, in case he returned.<<

NOTES

1i.e. submit to the water ordeal, with the river as divine judge.

2 i.e. in order to live there as another man's wife.


153                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

133a:          If that woman did not take care of her person, but has entered the house of another, they shall prove it against that woman and throw her into the water.1

134:        If the seignior was taken captive and there was not sufficient to live on in his house, his wife may enter the house of another, with that woman incurring no blame at all. 
       >>In the Bible, every man had provision for land and sustenance. But in Babylon of Hammurabi, There was no guarantee for all to have land and many were just tenants (renters) of land. And even if land was had, if a man left his land and crops lacking, the woman could have another man provide for her, until her husband returned (if he did). As in the bible, a woman was not independent and was dependant upon a man for food and shelter.

Marriage was taken far more seriously by Moses/Bible. No mention of children is made, but I assume that their presence or not, did not make a difference. This would bee seen by me as a negative aspect of the  Babylonian way. In the bible, a woman was property, so as such, no one could come along and take that property. As well, if a man desired another man's wife, there could be incentive to betray the man to the enemy so that the one betraying could come back and take the wife for himself. Just some thoughts.<<

135:        If, when a seignior was taken captive and there was not sufficient to live on in his house, his wife has then entered the house of another before his (return) and has borne children, (and) later her husband has returned and has reached his city, that woman shall return to her first husband, while the children shall go with their father.
      >>This is interesting does not sit right with me. Since the substitute husband fathered the kids, he gets to keep them. But bible law says any children produced by the wife belonged to the Wife's husband as he is her owner as is her "produce." Further, if the wife goes one way and the kids the other, this definitely is wrong in my eyes. Marriage is held in far greater esteem in the Bible. I think Babylon was only concerned about producing human labor and productivity, and not with feelings of the people.

136:        If, when a seignior deserted his city and then ran away, his wife has entered the house of another after his (departure), if that seignior has returned and wishes to take back his wife, the wife of the fugitive shall not return to her husband because he scorned his city and ran away.

137:        If a seignior has made up his mind to divorce a lay priestess,2 who bore him children, or a hierodule who provided him with children, they shall return her dowry to that woman and also give her half of the field, orchard and goods in order that she may rear her children; after she has brought up her children, from whatever was given to her children they shall give her a portion corresponding to (that of) an individual heir in order that the man of her choice may marry her.
     >>Being a priestess brings more rights and consideration in the law.<<

138:        If a seignior wishes to divorce his wife who did not bear him children, he shall give her money to the full amount of her marriage-price and he shall also make good to her the dowry which she brought from her father's house and then he may divorce her.
     >>A man does have to return those things that came with the woman/wife. But she does not get to take anything that was the man's to begin with. The bible does not allow a man to divorce if a woman is barren.<<

139:        If there was no marriage-price, he shall give her one mina of silver as the divorce-settlement.

140:        If he is a peasant, he shall give her one-third mina of silver.

141:        If a seignior's wife, who was living in the house of the seignior, has made up her mind to leave in order that she may engage in business, thus neglecting her house (and) humiliating her husband, they shall prove . . .

NOTES

1i.e. to be drowned.

2 The exact meaning of the word used hoc, SU.GE4-tum (sic), is unknown, but it indicates some kind of priestess.


154                                     LEGAL TEXTS

. . . it against her; and if her husband has then decided on her divorce, he may divorce her, with nothing to be given her as her divorce-settlement upon her departure. If her husband has not decided on her divorce, her husband may marry another woman, with the former woman living in the house of her husband like a maidservant.
     >>If the wife intiates divorce, she gets nothing. How about that! The bible has the same policy.<<

142:        If a woman so hated her husband that she has declared, "You may not have me," her record shall be investigated at her city council, and if she was careful and was not at fault, even though her husband has been going out and disparaging her greatly, that woman, without incurring any blame at all, may take her dowry and go off to her father's house.
     >>In this case, the accusations are investigated and if the woman is seen has having justification for her being offended, she can leave with her dowry, no less. I would call this the asshole clause. I do not find fault with it, but in the bible, she could still take her dowry, but not her kids or other wealth. And she would be returned to her father and his authority.<<

143:        If she was not careful, but was a gadabout, thus neglecting her house (and) humiliating her husband, they shall throw that woman into the water.     >>Here, she is the guilty party and for being, basically, a bitch, she is thrown into the water, more often than not, to her death.<<

144:        When a seignior married a hierodule and that hierodule gave a female slave to her husband and she has then produced children, if that seignior has made up his mind to marry a lay priestess, they may not allow that seignior, since he may not marry the lay priestess.

145:        If a seignior married a hierodule and she did not provide him with children and he has made up his mind to marry a lay priestess, that seignior may marry the lay priestess, thus bringing her into his house, (but) with that lay priestess ranking in no way with the hierodule.

146:        When a seignior married a hierodule and she gave a female slave to her husband and she has then borne children, if later that female slave has claimed equality with her mistress because she bore children, her mistress may not sell her; she may mark her with the slave-mark and count her among the slaves.

147:        If she did not bear children, her mistress may sell her.

148:        When a seignior married a woman and a fever has then seized her, if he has made up his mind to marry another, he may marry (her), without divorcing his wife whom the fever seized; she shall live in the house which he built and he shall continue to support her as long as she lives.
     >>Illness is no excuse to get rid of a wife. Seems fair to me!<<

149:        If that woman has refused to live in her husband's house, he shall make good her dowry to her which she . . .


155                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

 . . . brought from her father's house and then she may leave.

150:        If a seignior, upon presenting a field, orchard, house, or goods to his wife, left a sealed document with her, her children may not enter a claim against her after (the death of) her husband, since the mother may give her inheritance to that son of hers whom she likes, (but) she may not give (it) to an outsider.

151:        If a woman, who was living in a seignior's house, having made a contract with her husband that a creditor of her husband may not distrain her, has then had (him) deliver a written statement;1 if there was a debt against that seignior before he married that woman, his creditors may not distrain his wife; also, if there was a debt against that woman before she entered the seignior's house, her creditors may not distrain her husband.

152:        If a debt has developed against them after that woman entered the seignior's house, both of them shall be answerable to the merchant.2

153:        If a seignior's wife has brought about the death of her husband because of another man, they shall impale that woman on stakes.

154:        If a seignior has had intercourse with his daughter,   [Lev. 18:6-18; 20:10-21; Deut. 27:20, 22-23]    they shall make that seignior leave the city.       >>The Bible requires both the father and daughter are executed. From the standpoint of God, both parties are equally accountable and sin is sin, regardless of age, sex, or mental competence or not. Ignorance is not excuse. The idea was to completely ostracize the behavior. I grant that the daughter often is forced to endure the sex, but the bible is firm in making both parties responsible if the daughter does not cry out for help in being raped. Her silence in her father having sex with her, is the issue for God.

For God, there is only rape or it is consensual. I am sure God understands the precarious position of the daughter but rape needs to be resisted, at least in voice, crying out. This would save her and her father would be executed. It is also my opinion that the intent of this law was to scare both the father and daughter into never revealing to anyone what they have done for fear of being turned in and executed. That is to say, as long as it is kept completely secret, it presents no harm to society at large. It is the knowledge of the situation that presents huge harm to the attitudes of others. For God, a father using his daughters is among the worst situations. For one, it is an easy situation to get away with and normalizing it would be the worst outcome. So making it very fearful to let it out has the same effect without the execution.

As well, daughters raped by their father over the long term are apt to be damaged goods and better kept from marrying and probably will not want to marry. God saw fit to put the law aside with the ransom sacrifice of His innocent son being killed unjustly. So Christians are no longer under the law. And since the daughters were pressed into sex, their real vulnerability does not need to be hidden any longer.

Keeping Israel "clean" (free of sin, relatively) was important to God in order to make sure Israel remained obedient enough to receive the Messiah. It took everything God had to keep Israel in line and adequate before she would be fully accountable for her sins. Had God lowered his standards at all, they never would have made it.

Pagan cultures were always infiltrating Israel and Israel was more corrupt than not. Part of this problem is that paganism, which was promoted by Satan, encouraged the breaking of all morals, including forcing kids into sex with parents and others. So much was Israel infected that a band of priests left Jerusalem, believing the priesthood was totally corrupt, and settled in Qumran in the Judean Wilderness to set up a sect and community away from the corruption back in Jerusalem. These were the ones responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, and likely taught by John the Baptist who preached in the "Wilderness." As well, some writings of the sect clearly followed Jesus, calling him the "teacher of righteousness," who they claimed was killed by the corrupt priesthood.

The fact that Jesus was killed, ultimately, by the corrupt high priest manipulating many influential ones in Jerusalem, shows just how close many were to Satan and so removed from God as to kill His sent son in human form. So fighting Satanic tendencies like prolific child rape/abuse, was vital and it started with suppressing fathers making sexual use of their daughters.

The problem with sex is that it is so powerful a drive in us that it is always pushing at us to break all boundaries and try everything. for anyone who does give in and break boundaries, its obvious that daughters are very vulnerable to predatorial sex from dad. It would be the first place that would likely start the progression.

You will also note that After Judah was hauled off by Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon (609-BC - 539 BC) for 50 years, after Babylon's fall in 539 BC, Judah was supposed to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple to their God, Jehovah or Yahuwah if you prefer Y and W as opposed to J and V, rather than rejoice in going back to a just "free from pressure to produce" relaxed agrarian life style in service to an honorable God, most chose to remain in Babylon where they could engage in very profitably business and trade throughout the empire and its long range trading partners. Big money profit will corrupt hearts fast and certain. God wanted to keep them humble but well fed farmers working the land and supporting the temple of God and its most important function of preserving the Bible.

When the Jew that did return to Jerusalem got back, they only knew Aramaic, the language of the Babylonians. It continue to be the dominant language. In fact, they changed the early Hebrew style of letters for that of Aramaic, still used today. But the Jews who did not return to Jerusalem and God, still kept in contact with Jerusalem and Judah. The desire for luxury and ostentatious tombs took hold, among other trends. The vast business empire that continued from empire to empire and spread further, had long corrupted many.

It was in this sort of situation that many Jews lost the way of their God and embraced other gods and mysticism of the pagans. God was forced to remove the few left being loyal to Him and set up a new set of codes and laws that would enable them to serve God, no matter what nation they were living in. Named for His son's role, the Messiah/Christ, the religion became known as Christian. But the old unfaithful Jews continued to spread and flourish all over the world, serving the god of riches, wealth, corruption, and paganism/mysticism.

When you take into account the whole big picture, you can understand the importance of keeping this rotten sex abuse out of sight and public knowledge. But look at it this way. Most of the time, father/daughter stuff never got punished. And any that did, does not preclude the girl being resurrected to life. Jesus compensating for Adam allowed for any who had no control over their circumstances to get a 2nd chance.

Most people objecting to daughters being executed do not consider all the things that God had to consider, to bring his purpose to fulfillment. This includes most religious leaders who have little to no comprehension of these many factors. They will just go along with prevailing political opinions, rather than those of God.<<

155:        If a seignior chose a bride for his son and his son had intercourse with her, but later he himself has lain in her bosom and they have caught him, they shall bind that seignior and throw him into the water.
              >>Daughter-in-laws are also off limits to dad. But only the man is executed. The Bible would have required the bride to also be executed, as sex was either willing or rape. With no claim of rape, it is by default, willing because of no protest by crying out for help.<<

156:       If a seignior chose a bride for his son and his son did not have intercourse with her, but he himself has lain in her bosom, he shall pay to her one-half mina of silver and he shall also make good to her whatever she brought from her father's house in order that the man of her choice may marry her.

157:       If a seignior has lain in the bosom of his mother after (the death of) his father, they shall burn both of them.
              >>notice here both are responsible. I see it a little bit inconsistent. I favor blaming both and not just one party.

158:       If a seignior after (the death of) his father has been caught in the bosom of his foster mother who was the bearer of children, that seignior shall be cut off from the parental home.

159:       If a seignior, who had the betrothal-gift brought to the house of his (prospective) father-in-law (and) paid the marriage-price, has then fallen in love with another woman and has said to his (prospective) father . . .

NOTES

1 Lit. "a tablet."     2 i.e. the money-lender who made the loan


156                       LEGAL TEXTS

. . . in-law, "I will not marry your daughter," the father of the daughter shall keep whatever was brought to him.

160:       If a seignior had the betrothal-gift brought to the house of the (prospective) father-in-law (and) paid the marriage-price, and the father of the daughter has then said, "I will not give my daughter to you," he shall pay back double the full amount that was brought to him.

>>No backing out of contracts. Once a deal is made, it can not be backed out of. Contracts were protected, but in our day, courts nullify contracts. Many belittle them and dish out whatever they want for a settlement. Contracts are a fundamental part of common law. Our courts today can ignore law and do what they want. But that is not real and legitimate law.<<

161:       If a seignior had the betrothal-gift brought to the house of his (prospective) father-in-law (and) paid the marriage-price, and then a friend of his has so maligned him that his (prospective) father-in-law has said to the (prospective) husband, "You may not marry my daughter," he shall pay back double the full amount that was brought to him, but his friend may not marry his (intended) wife.

>>Did the guy bad mouth the other guy to get the bride? This rule prevented that from working. It was accepted that it was true, but the man telling it could not have the daughter as wife. They were aware of conflicts of interests and prevented them.<<

162:       If, when a seignior acquired a wife, she bore him children and that woman has then gone to (her) fate, her father may not lay claim to her dowry, since her dowry belongs to her children.

163:       If a seignior acquired a wife and that woman has gone to (her) fate without providing him with children, if his father-in-law has then returned to him the marriage-price which that seignior brought to the house of his father-in-law, her husband may not lay claim to the dowry of that woman, since her dowry belongs to her father's house.

164:       If his father-in-law has not returned the marriage-price to him, he shall deduct the full amount of her marriage-price from her dowry and return (the rest of) her dowry to her father's house.

>>The bible does not guarantee a wife to be able to produce children, nor is it grounds for divorce. Nor does the father of the wife have to give his bride price back. Its not about children. Its about respect and loyalty to whoever you marry. Hammurabi was always concerned about production so that he had a good size population for labor and war.<<

165:       If a seignior, upon presenting a field, orchard, or house to his first-born, who is the favorite in his eye, wrote a sealed document for him, when the brothers divide after the father has gone to (his) fate, he shall keep the present which the father gave him, but other-wise they shall share equally in the goods of the paternal estate.

>>The bible gave total freedom to the man to give out as he wanted. But Hammurabi wanted all the sons to prosper, again, for more production, no doubt.<<

166: If a seignior, upon acquiring wives for the sons that he got, did not acquire a wife for his youngest son, when the brothers divide after the father has gone to (his) fate, to their youngest brother who did not acquire a wife, to him in addition to his share they shall assign money (enough )f or the marriage-price from the goods of the paternal estate and thus enable him to acquire a wife.  >>So that he can become productive, right?<<


157                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

167:       If, when a seignior acquired a wife and she bore him children, that woman has gone to (her) fate (and) after her (death) he has then married another woman and she has borne children, when later the father has gone to (his) fate, the children shall not divide according to mothers; they shall take the dowries of their (respective) mothers and then divide equally the goods of the paternal estate.

168:       If a seignior, having made up his mind to disinherit his son, has said to the judges, "I wish to disinherit my son," the judges shall investigate his record, and if the son did not incur wrong grave (enough) to be disinherited, the father may not disinherit his son.

>>It might be a mistake to invite the government in your life, but I kind of like this one. If you happen to have a father who is an @$$hole, it could spell trouble for the sons (and daughters, too). Evidently, the king had seen that too many times, I gather. So the judges investigate. Again, the kingdom has an interest in fairness, to the end that land becomes productive under good sons. If the judges decide the sons are not so bad, so we will not allow you to disinherit your sons or son. You ought to be ashamed of wanting to disinherit your sons.

There have been in this law a number of attempts to control out-of control parents and children. These can harm a kingdom or empire. It is some admission of the dependence of the nation on civil fair behavior. Family wars will not be allowed to rage. I can not help but respect this. Now it could get our of hand, but anything can. The state might be inclined to let a rotten son remain as an heir, for the sake of productivity for the state. And a father might not disinherit, but might give out things before his death so that there are no disputes among the sons when he dies. He could taken an oath before the older men as to how his estate should be divided up. The Patriarchs of the Bible usually settled up with the kids before he died.

But my self having a father who was a jerk, had I not been the last one standing when he kicked the bucket, my drunken useless and hate filled brother would have gotten half or for all I know, gotten most because "he's having a harder time of things. My parents did not reward good diligent behavior. They slighted it, if not had a jealous hate for it. They loves someone more pathetic than them.

Were I in Babylon in 1700 BC, I would have done better, had my brother been alive as the drunken bum he was. As it was, the hand of God with with me entirely.<<

169:       If he has incurred wrong against his father grave (enough) to be disinherited, they shall let him off the first time; if he has incurred grave wrong a second time, the father may disinherit his son.

170:       When a seignior's first wife bore him children and his female slave also bore him children, if the father during his lifetime has ever said "My children!" to the children whom the slave bore him, thus having counted them with the children of the first wife, after the father has gone to (his) fate, the children of the first wife and the children of the slave shall share equally in the goods of the paternal estate, with the first-born, the son of the first wife, receiving a preferential share.

171:       However, if the father during his lifetime has never said "My children!" to the children whom the slave bore him, after the father has gone to (his) fate, the children of the slave may not share in the goods of the paternal estate along with the children of the first wife; freedom for the slave and her children shall be effected, with the children of the first wife having no claim at all against the children of the slave for service; the first wife shall take her dowry and the marriage-gift which her husband, upon giving (it) to her, wrote down on a tablet for her, and living in the home of her husband, she shall have the usufruct (sic) (of it) as long as she lives, without ever selling (it), since her heritage belongs to her children.

>>You will note that the husband wrote a deal for his wife on a clay tablet, done at that time in cuneiform script, standard for that region at that time, about 1700 BC. Israel had an alphabetic script in 1500 BC. I believe that Cuneiform remained the official script of many until about 1200 BC. Hattusa was one such powerful empire. It may be that the written alphabet may have started not long after 1500 BC and that we simply do not have any material evidence surviving to prove it. Phoenicia appears with the first evidence of an alphabet, but she had not made the huge use of that sort of script that survived 3500 years to our day.

But the Hebrew Jews do have much evidence in the writing of history and chronology, which accountings are very impressive as to Chronology. They are evidence that Writing was of primal value to this people and good enough evidence to suggest they were good candidates for inventing it and making the most use of it, as a  result of the religion that Israel focused around. That is to say, the alphabet was a gift from God to men.<<

172:       If her husband did not give her a marriage-gift, they shall make good her dowry to her and she shall obtain from the goods of her husband's estate a portion . . .


 158                       LEGAL TEXTS

. . . corresponding to (that of) an individual heir; if her children keep plaguing her in order to make her leave the house, the judges shall investigate her record and place the blame on the children, so that woman need never leave her husband's house; if that woman has made up her mind to leave, she shall leave to her children the marriage-gift which her husband gave her (but) take the dowry from her father's house in order that the man of her choice may marry her.

173:       If that woman has borne children to her later husband in the place that she entered, and afterwards that woman has died, the earlier with the later children shall divide the dowry.

174:       If she has not borne children to her later husband, only the children of her first husband shall receive her dowry.

175:       If either a palace slave or a private citizen's slave married the daughter of a seignior and she has borne children, the owner of the slave may not lay claim to the children of the seignior's daughter for service.

>>Slavery has been a fact of life, from the beginning right up to the present in some rare places. Contrary to the ignorant liberal, marxist, leftists of the the current USA, the USA did not start slavery. It has always existed. Nor were they any more abusive that other times and places. But in fact, the USA, Britain, and France all abolished slavery. So in that respect they have less shame and guilt than those who came before. In fact, it was African Blacks who sold other blacks to slave traders, who founded the Americas in many respects and introduced slavery there.

But my point here is that here in 1700 BC, children fathered by a slave, are not the property of the seignior (slave holder). Thought the daughter was considered property of her father, the children are considered free because the woman was a free woman and the father allowed the slaves marriage to the daughter. In the USA and  in most times and cultures, the children would have been the property of the owner of the woman. I think this was a pretty good provision. I don't find it a common one.<<

176:       Furthermore, if a palace slave or a private citizen's slave married the daughter of a seignior and when he married her she entered the house of the palace slave or the private citizen's slave with the dowry from her father's house and after they were joined together they set up a household and so acquired goods, but later either the palace slave or the private citizen's slave has gone to (his) fate, the seignior's daughter shall take her dowry, but they shall divide into two parts whatever her husband and she acquired after they were joined together and the owner of the slave shall take one-half, with the seignior's daughter taking one-half for her children.

176a: If the seignior's daughter has no dowry, they shall divide into two parts whatever her husband and she acquired after they were joined together and the owner of the slave shall take one-half, with the seignior's daughter taking one-half for her children.

177:       If a widow, whose children are minors, has made up her mind to enter the house of another, she may not enter without the consent of the judges; when she wishes to enter the house of another, the judges shall investigate the condition of her former husband's estate and they shall entrust her former husband's estate to her later husband and that woman and they shall have them . . .


159                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

. . .  deposit a tablet (to the effect that) they will look after the estate and also rear the young (children), without ever selling the household goods, since the purchaser who purchases the household goods of a widow's children shall forfeit his money, with the goods reverting to their owner.   >>The law was careful to protect widows. Good for them!<<

178:       In the case of a nun, a hierodule, or a votary, whose father, upon presenting a dowry to her, wrote a tablet for her, if he did not write for her on the tablet which he wrote for her (permission) to give her heritage to whom she pleased and did not grant her full discretion, after the father has gone to (his) fate, her brothers shall take her field and orchard and they shall give her food, oil and clothing proportionate to the value of her share and thus make her comfortable; if her brothers have not given her food, oil and clothing proportionate to the value of her share and so have not made her comfortable, she may give her field and orchard to any tenant that she pleases and her tenant shall support her, since she shall have the usufruct of the field, orchard or whatever her father gave her as long as she lives, without selling (it or) willing (it) to another, since her patrimony belongs to her brothers.

>>178 Special ranking women get special rights.<<

179:       In the case of a nun, a hierodule, or a votary, whose father, upon presenting a dowry to her, wrote a sealed document for her, if he wrote for her on the tablet which he wrote for her (permission) to give her heritage to whomever she pleased and has granted her full discretion, after her father has gone to (his) fate, she may give her heritage to whomever she pleases, with her brothers having no claim against her

180:  If a father did not present a dowry to his daughter, a hierodule in a convent or a votary, after the father has gone to (his) fate, she shall receive as her share in the goods of the paternal estate a portion like (that of) an individual heir, but she shall have only the usufruct of (it) as long as she lives, since her heritage belongs to her brothers.

181:  If a father dedicated (his daughter) to deity as a hierodule, a sacred prostitute, or a devotee and did not present a dowry to her, after the father has gone to (his) fate, she shall receive as her share in the goods of the paternal estate her one-third patrimony, but she shall have only the usufruct of (it) as long as she lives, since her heritage belongs to her brothers.


160                       LEGAL TEXTS

182:       If a father, since he did not present a dowry to his daughter, a hierodule of Marduk of Babylon, did not write a sealed document for her, after the father has gone to (his) fate, she shall share along with her brothers in the goods of the paternal estate to the extent of her one-third patrimony, but she shall not assume any feudal obligations, since a hierodule of Marduk may give her heritage to whomever she pleases.

183:       If a father, upon presenting a dowry to his daughter, a lay priestess, when he gave her to a husband, wrote a sealed document for her, after the father has gone to (his) fate, she may not share in the goods of the paternal estate.

184:       If a seignior did not present a dowry to his daughter, a lay priestess, since he did not give her to a husband, after the father has gone to (his) fate, her brothers shall present her with a dowry proportionate to the value of the father's estate and they shall give her to a husband.

185:       If a seignior adopted a boy in his own name and has reared him, that foster child may never be re-claimed.

186:       If a seignior, upon adopting a boy, seeks out his father and mother when he had taken him, that foster child may return to his father's house.

187:       The (adopted) son of a chamberlain, a palace servant, or the (adopted) son of a votary, may never be reclaimed.

188:       If a member of the artisan class' took a son as a foster child and has taught him his handicraft, he may never be reclaimed.

189:       If he has not taught him his handicraft, that foster child may return to his father's house.

190:       If a seignior has not counted among his sons the boy that he adopted and reared, that foster child may return to his father's house.

191:       If a seignior, who adopted a boy and reared him, set up a family of his own, has later acquired children and so has made up (his) mind to cut off the foster child, that son shall not go off empty-handed; his foster father shall give him from his goods his one-third patrimony and then he shall go off, since he may not give him any of the field, orchard, or house.

NOTES

1Lit. "son of an artisan," where "son" is used in the technical sense of "belonging to the class of, species of," so common in the Semitic languages.


161                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

192:       If the (adopted) son of a chamberlain or the (adopted) son of a votary has said to his foster father or his foster mother, "You are not my father," "You are not my mother," they shall cut out his tongue. >>Being ungrateful is not tolerated!<<

193:       If the (adopted) son of a chamberlain or the (adopted) son of a votary found out his parentage and came to hate his foster father and his foster mother and so has gone off to his paternal home, they shall pluck out his eye.

194:       When a seignior gave his son to a nurse and that son has died in the care of the nurse, if the nurse has then made a contract for another son without the knowledge of his father and mother, they shall prove it against her and they shall cut off her breast because she made a contract for another son without the knowledge of his father and mother.

>>It is at this point that Marriage and inheritance laws wrap up and Punitive criminal law begin

In these laws that follow, your status in society matters. They 3 tiers for most things. Rich, Middle, and Poor.<<

195:       If a son has struck his father, they shall cut off his   [Exod  21:15]  hand.

196:       If a seignior has destroyed the eye of a member of the aristocracy,1 they shall destroy his eye.

197:       If he has broken a(nother) seignior's bone, they   [Exod. 21:23-25];  shall break his bone.  [Lev. 24:19 20];

198:       If he has destroyed the eye of a commoner or   [Deut. 19:21]   broken the bone of a commoner, he shall pay one mina of silver.

199:       If he has destroyed the eye of a seignior's slave or broken the bone of a seignior's slave, he shall pay one-half his value.

200:       If a seignior has knocked out a tooth of a seignior of his own rank, they shall knock out his tooth.

201:       If he has knocked out a commoner's tooth, he shall pay one-third mina of silver.

202:       If a seignior has struck the cheek of a seignior who is superior to him, he shall be beaten sixty (times) with an oxtail whip in the assembly.

203: If a member of the aristocracy has struck the cheek of a(nother) member of the aristocracy who is of the same rank as himself, he shall pay one mina of silver.

204: If a commoner has struck the cheek of a(nother) commoner, he shall pay ten shekels of silver.

 NOTES

1 Lit. "the son of a man," with "son" used in the technical sense already explained above and "man" clearly in the sense of "noble, aristocrat"; or it is possible that "son" here is to be taken in its regular sense to indicate a person younger than the assailant.


162                       LEGAL TEXTS

205:       If a seignior's slave has struck the cheek of a member of the aristocracy, they shall cut off his ear.

206:       If a seignior has struck a(nother) seignior in a brawl and has inflicted an injury on him, that seignior shall swear, "I did not strike him deliberately";1 and he shall also pay for the physician.

207:       If he has died because of his blow, he shall swear (as before), and if it was a member of the aristocracy, he shall pay one-half mina of silver.

208:       If it was a member of the commonalty, he shall pay one-third mina of silver.

>>Just below, 209-214 are injuries done to women carrying a child in the womb.

These verses are very relevant to the bible and Christianity since they suggest exactly what Moses did, namely, that an aborted fetus, due to accident or attack on a woman, which of course, spells the death of the fetus, it is not considered a life and meriting the charge of murder. Where it differs from Moses is that prices are set for the loss. Most Christians insist that a life is a life as soon as it is conceived and this is an absolute lie of satan and anyone who calls them selves a Christian and promotes this view, is a devil worshipper and has rejected God's law.< 

Abortion Laws 209-214

209:       If a seignior struck a(nother) seignior's daughter  [Exod. 21:22-25]  and has caused her to have a miscarriage2, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for her fetus.

210:       If that woman has died, they shall put his daughter to death. >>The bible requires the execution of the man, not his daughter.  This is an unjust law here. The man should die.<<

211:       If by a blow he has caused a commoner's daughter to have a miscarriage, he shall pay five shekels of silver.

212:       If that woman has died, he shall pay one-half mina of silver. >>Jehovah says "Death Penalty!"<<

213:       If he struck a seignior's female slave and has caused her to a have a miscarriage, he shall pay two shekels of silver.

214:       If that female slave has died, he shall pay one-third mina of silver. >>Still death says Jehovah!<<

End of abortion laws

215:       If a physician performed a major operation on a seignior with a bronze lancet and has saved the seignior's life, or he opened up the eye-socket of a seignior with a bronze lancet and has saved the seignior's eye, he shall receive ten shekels of silver.

216:       If it was a member of the commonalty, he shall receive five shekels.

217:       If it was a seignior's slave, the owner of the slave shall give two shekels of silver to the physician.

>>You'll note that a doctor's compensation varied according to status. Those of high status are typically very loyal to, and involved with, government. Hence they are cared for more the middle class or poor/slaves.<<

218:       If a physician performed a major operation on a seignior with a bronze lancet and has caused the seignior's death, or he opened up the eye-socket of a seignior and has destroyed the seignior's eye, they shall cut off his hand.  >>There is accountability!<<

219:       If a physician performed a major operation on a commoner's slave with a bronze lancet and has caused (his) death, he shall make good slave for slave.  >>In all respects, the bible is far more respectful of life than Hammurabi was.<<

220:       If he opened up his eye-socket with a bronze . . .

 NOTES

1Lit. "while I was aware of (it)."

2Lit. "caused her to drop that of her womb (her fetus)."


163                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

 . . . lancet and has destroyed his eye, he shall pay one-half his value in silver.

221:       If a physician has set a seignior's broken bone, or has healed a sprained tendon, the patient' shall give five shekels of silver to the physician.

222:       If it was a member of the commonalty, he shall give three shekels of silver.

223:       If it was a seignior's slave, the owner of the slave shall give two shekels of silver to the physician.

>> As you see above and to follow, different prices depending on the status of the person. But is is very significant that the prices are all fixed. The doctor can not charge what he wants. I am all in favor of this type of thing. This was only possible in these ancient times when kings were far more powerful and engaged in trade themselves and kept merchants in their place. I think Rome was when things began to get out of hand some as regards merchants and military contractors. By the time Europe became dominant, Venice has ascended to the top and infiltrated Europe and changed its names of its agents and banks and became part of the fabric of Europe. Many kings would be compromised.<<

224:       If a veterinary surgeon performed a major operation on either an ox or an ass and has saved (its) life, the owner of the ox or ass shall give to the surgeon one-sixth (shekel) of silver as his fee.

225:       If he performed a major operation on an ox or an ass and has caused (its) death, he shall give to the owner of the ox or ass one-fourth its value.

226:       If a brander cut off the slave-mark of a slave not his own without the consent of the owner of the slave, they shall cut off the hand of that brander.

227:       If a seignior deceived a brander so that he has cut off the slave-mark of a slave not his own, they shall put that seignior to death and immure him at his gate; the brander shall swear, "I did not cut (it) off knowingly," and then he shall go free.

Contractor Liabilities

228:       If a builder constructed a house for a seignior and finished (it) for him, he shall give him two shekels of silver per sar2 of house as his remuneration.

229:       If a builder constructed a house for a seignior, but did not make his work strong, with the result that the house which he built collapsed and so has caused the death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be put to death.

230:       If it has caused the death of a son of the owner of the house, they shall put the son of that builder to death.

231:       If it has caused the death of a slave of the owner of the house, he shall give slave for slave to the owner of the house.

232:       If it has destroyed goods, he shall make good whatever it destroyed; also, because he did not make the house strong which he built and it collapsed, he shall reconstruct the house which collapsed at his own expense.

233:       If a builder constructed a house for a seignior and . . .

NOTES

1"owner of the injury."      2 A measure equal to about 42 1/5 square yds.


164                       LEGAL TEXTS                Liability Laws to Follow:

. . . has not (done his work properly so that a wall has become unsafe, that builder shall strengthen that wall at his own expense.

234:       If a boatman calked a boat of sixty kur for a seignior, he shall give him two shekels of silver as his remuneration.

>>Wages were fixed, too! Cool baby! I dig it! A society has no control if it does not take control by setting all standards, fixing them firm. This brings order to a society. Our modern day world is very unstable since those in power can set any price they want and they control the politicians. In order to protect the less powerful classes, the leader/king needs to set the standard. The standard is still set in our day, but not by the leader but by the bankers. That is the problem.

Some are fans of a so called free-market system. But that is a myth and fairytale. There is no such thing and never has been. Groups of merchant caravans would make special deals with trading partners or a small king or tribal leader. Maybe make a deal with a small fleet of trading vessels and over time, expand the number of parties who become part of a trade network. Carthage was the ultimate combination of trading allies, naval merchant marine and an army, too. But in time, the merchants like Venice, became a nation, really, with its naval merchant fleet being its primary source of both wealth and power. They had their own huge ship building and repair facility. They could fund numerous small kings and their small armies and outfit them all and use them to bring down kings a little bigger, or lend a king money and have him tax his nation on their behalf.

Eventually, bankers and merchants end up with a collective fortune that rivals any nation or even groups of nations. Now they rule the world. How did they do it? By making exclusive trade deals and trade partners. but that is not a free market. Its a closed market and network whereby that large collective network runs most other markets.

Only in theory, if all nations kept merchants in their place, the kings would have the power and if they closed off their nations to traders/traitors, they could control their own economies. But you will always have control, either from a king or a merchant network. Markets have always been controlled and if that were not enough, Satan would see to it that all things would come under his power sooner or later. In Fact, God gave him permission to do so, maintaining that some would remain loyal to Him, Jehovah, not Marduk or Satan.

So enough about mythical free markets. You might as well talk about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy. Hammurabi did the right thing and set prices.<<

235:       If a boatman calked a boat for a seignior and did not do his work well with the result that that boat has sprung a leak in that very year, since it has developed a defect, the boatman shall dismantle that boat and strengthen (it) at his own expense and give the strengthened boat back to the owner of the boat.

236:       If a seignior let his boat for hire to a boatman and the boatman was so careless that he has sunk or wrecked the boat, the boatman shall make good the boat to the owner of the boat.

237:       When a seignior hired a boatman and a boat and loaded it with grain, wool, oil, dates, or any kind of freight, if that boatman was so careless that he has sunk the boat and lost what was in it as well, the boatman shall make good the boat which he sank and whatever he lost that was in it.

238:       If a boatman sank the boat of a seignior and has then refloated it, he shall give one-half its value in silver.

239:       If a seignior hired a boatman, he shall give him six kur of grain per year.

240:       If a rowboat rammed a sailboat and has sunk (it), the owner of the boat whose boat was sunk shall in the presence of god set forth the particulars regarding whatever was lost in his boat and the one in charge of the rowboat which sank the sailboat shall make good to him his boat and his lost property.   This law protects bit merchant boats from smaller boats by automatically making the smaller vessel the offender should the bigger vessel sink.

241:       If a seignior has distrained an ox as a pledge, he shall pay one-third mina of silver.

242, 243:       If a seignior hired (it) for one year, he shall give to its owner four kur of grain as the hire of an ox in tandem, three kur of grain as that of a young lead-ox.

244:       If a seignior hired an ox or an ass and a lion has killed it in the open, (the loss) shall be its owner's.

245:       If a seignior hired an ox and has caused its death through carelessness or through beating, he shall make good ox for ox to the owner of the ox.

246:       If a seignior hired an ox and has broken its foot or has cut its neck tendon, he shall make good ox for ox to the owner of the ox.


165                       THE CODE OF HAMMURABI

247:       If a seignior hired an ox and has destroyed its eye, he shall give one-half its value in silver to the owner of the ox.

248:       If a seignior hired an ox and has broken its horn, cut off its tail, or injured the flesh of its back, he shall give one-quarter its value in silver.

249:       If a seignior hired an ox and god struck it and it has died, the seignior who hired the ox shall (so) affirm by god and then he shall go free.

250:       If an ox, when it was walking along the street,  [Exod. 21: :28-36]  gored a seignior to death, that case is not subject to claim.

251:       If a seignior's ox was a gorer and his city council made it known to him that it was a gorer, but he did not pad its horns (or) tie up his ox, and that ox gored to death a member of the aristocracy, he shall give one-half mina of silver.

252:       If it was a seignior's slave, he shall give one-third mina of silver.

253:       If a seignior hired a(nother) seignior to oversee his field, and lending him feed-grain, entrusting him with oxen, contracted with him to cultivate the field, if that seignior stole the seed or fodder and it has been found in his possession, they shall cut off his hand.

254:       If he appropriated the feed-grain and thus has starved the oxen, he shall make good twofold the grain which he received.

255:       If he has let the seignior's oxen out on hire or he stole the seed-grain and so has raised nothing in the field, they shall prove it against that seignior and at harvest-time he shall measure out sixty kur of grain per eighteen iku.

256:       If he was not able to meet his obligation, they shall drag him through that field with the oxen.

257:       If a seignior hired a cultivator, he shall give him eight kur of grain per year.

258:       If a seignior hired a cattle-herder, he shall pay him six kur of grain per year.

259:       If a seignior stole a plow from a field, he shall give five shekels of silver to the owner of the plow.

260:       If he has stolen a seeder or a harrow, he shall give three shekels of silver.

261:       If a seignior hired a shepherd to pasture cattle or sheep, he shall give him eight kur of grain per year.

262:       If a seignior ... and ox or a sheep to ....


166                       LEGAL TEXTS

263:       If he has lost [the ox] or sheep which was committed to him, he shall make good ox for [ox], sheep for [sheep] to their owner.

264:       If [a shepherd], to whom cattle or sheep were given to pasture, being in receipt of his wages in full, to his satisfaction, has then let the cattle decrease, has let the sheep decrease, thus lessening the birth rate, he shall give increase and profit in accordance with the terms of his contract.

265:       If a shepherd, to whom cattle or sheep were given to pasture, became unfaithful and hence has altered the cattlemark or has sold (them), they shall prove it against him and he shall make good in cattle and sheep to their owner tenfold what he stole.

266:       If a visitation of god has occurred in a sheepfold or a lion has made a kill, the shepherd shall prove himself innocent in the presence of god, but the owner of the sheepfold shall receive from him the animal stricken    [Exod. 22:10 ff.]   in the fold.

267:       If the shepherd was careless and has let lameness develop in the fold, the shepherd shall make good in cattle and sheep the loss through the lameness which he let develop in the fold and give (them) to their owner.

268:       If a seignior hired an ox to thresh, twenty qu of grain shall be its hire.

269:       If he hired an ass to thresh, ten qu of grain shall be its hire.

270:       If he hired a goat to thresh, one qu of grain shall be its hire.

271:       If a seignior hired oxen, a wagon and a driver for it, he shall give 180 qu of grain per day.

272:       If a seignior hired simply a wagon by itself, he shall give forty qu of grain per day.

273:       If a seignior hired a laborer, he shall give six se of silver per day from the beginning of the year till the fifth month; from the sixth month till the end of the year he shall give five se of silver per day.

274:       If a seignior wishes to hire an artisan, he shall pay per day as the wage of a . . . five [le] of silver; as the wage of a brick maker five se of silver; [as the wage of] a linen-weaver ... [se] of silver; [as the wage] of a seal-cutter ... [se] of silver; [as the wage of] a jeweler ... [se of] silver; [as the wage of] a smith . . . [se of]


167                       MESOPOTAMIAN LEGAL DOCUMENTS

silver; [as the wage of] a carpenter four se of silver; as the wage of a leatherworker . . . se of silver; as the wage of a basket maker ...le of silver; [as the wage of] a builder ...le of silver.

275:       [If] a seignior hired a long-boat, its hire shall be three le of silver per day.

276:       If a seignior hired a rowboat, he shall give two and one-half le of silver per day as its hire.

277:       If a seignior hired a boat of sixty Or, he shall give one-sixth (shekel) of silver per day as its hire.

278:       If a seignior purchased a male (or) female slave and when his month was not yet complete, epilepsy attacked him, he shall return (him) to his seller and the purchaser shall get back the money which he paid out.

279:       If a seignior purchased a male (or) female slave and he has then received a claim (against him), his seller shall be responsible for the claim.

280:       If a seignior has purchased in a foreign land the male (or) female slave of a(nother) seignior and when he has arrived home the owner of the male or female slave has identified either his male or his female slave, if that male and female slave are natives of the land, their freedom shall be effected without any money (payment).

281:       If they are natives of another land, the purchaser shall state in the presence of god what money he paid out and the owner of the male or female slave shall give to the merchant the money he paid out and thus re-deem his male or female slave.

282:       If a male slave has said to his master, "You are not my master," his master shall prove him to be his slave and cut off his ear.

End of Code of Hammurabi


Those who forget History are doomed to repeat it. And those who have the benefit of recorded history and do not take advantage of it, have no good excuse for that. There is far too much contrast from law before 1500 BC and that of our own time for us not to ponder why this is so. My opinion is that our laws are solid evidence of our decay and corruption that can only mean our demise in not much more time.


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and what Christianity kept and got rid of and why.

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But God and the Bible did not. Then why is it objected to? Ya got me! Besides,
aren't most of us slaves today, anyway?
Stephan: About Immigration & Welfare
The Code/Law of Hammurabi


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