Honors English Language Arts 5
3 March 2015
Hammurabi’s Code Was Just
“If a man has opened his trench for irrigation and the waters have flooded his neighbor’s field, the man must restore the crop he has caused to be lost.” That is just one of the many laws a ruler named Hammurabi created to protect, and serve justice to the weakest of the Mesopotamian society. In 1792 BCE, Hammurabi would be the first to create a set of 282 working laws that even today’s society still uses. Hammurabi’s code clearly held justice when you look at the fairness and security it provided. Examples of this are in: family law, property law, and personal injury law.
There are many examples of justice in Hammurabi’s family laws. The first is in Law 148, (Document C); it states “If a man has married a wife and a disease has seized her, if he is determined to marry a second wife, he shall marry her. He shall not divorce the wife whom the disease has seized. She shall dwell in the house they have built together, and he shall maintain her as long as she lives.” Hammurabi provides plentiful evidence of his promise of protecting the weak against the strong. Such as, the husband must take in and care for his first wife when she is ailing and needs him the most. Another example of justice in Hammurabi’s code can be seen in Law 195, (Document C); it says, “If a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off.” One minute the son could be hitting his dad; next he could be trying to overthrow the king. The harsh punishment is fair if you look at the big picture. The society needed to teach the youth to have respect and self-discipline to their elders or else the whole kingdom could come crashing down.
Furthermore, the justice of Hammurabi’s Code can be seen in several examples of property law. The evidence of this is in Law 23 (Document D); it claims, “If a robber is not caught, the man who has been robbed shall formally declare whatever he has lost before a god, and the city and the mayor in whose territory or district the robbery has been committed shall replace for him whatever he has lost.” This law provides support for the victim. The community covers the victim’s loss, which furthers the security and fairness that Hammurabi desired. An additional example of Hammurabi’s justice can be seen in Law 21, (Document D); as conveyed, “If a man has broken through the wall [to rob] a house, they shall put him to death and pierce him, or hang him in the hole in the wall which he has made.” This law obviously sounds harsh, but it will warn the next person who tries to rob that house to think twice when he sees a dead body hanging in the wall. It brings order and protection to the community, theft has its consequence.
Lastly, the justice of Hammurabi’s Code can be seen in several examples of personal