The Stele Hammurabi and Law of Moses
Hammurabi’s code came about during the Bronze Age after Babylonian ruler’s unified the neighboring territories of Sumer. In an effort to unite these regions politically and provide effective leadership, Babylon’s sixth ruler, Hammurabi, called for an efficient organization of existing legal practices. He sent representatives to collect the local rulings and had them merged into a single body of law. The Code of Hammurabi is a collection of 282 clauses. They are engraved on a 7 foot high stele. On the top of the stele is a carving of the word of god being delivered to the king Hammurabi from Shamash, sun god of law and order. The stele is a storehouse of information concerning the nature of class divisions, family relations, and human rights. The Code gave an extensive band of moral, social, and commercial requirements. Under Babylonian law individuals were not regarded as equals. Human worth was defined in terms of a person’s wealth and status in society. The code safe guarded the basic values of the community.
Though contrasting in many areas to my second audience, the Israelites, the code of Hammurabi closely resembles the Hebrew laws that they have in place. The Hebrew laws were delivered by Moses as ethical and spiritual obligations. Both laws share the same principle, an eye for an eye. Both deal with social obligations and penalties for violating said obligations. Taking excerpts from both the Code of Hammurabi and the Hebrew laws you can see the comparison. Clause 8 of the Code of Hammurabi states that if a man has stolen an ox, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, either from a god or a palace, he shall pay thirtyfold. If he is a plebeian, he shall tender tenfold. If the thief has nothing to pay, he shall be slain. In Hebrew law if anyone steals an ox or a sheep and slaughter or sells it, he will pay back five beasts from the herd for the ox, and four animals from the flock for the sheep. In clause 195, if a son has struck his father, his hand shall be cut off. For Israelites, you must honour your father and mother so that you may live long in the land that Yahweh, your god, is