Law is law

Weren’t the lawmakers wonderful in biblical days, it was all or nothing no room for any doubt. Guilt equalled death; usually quite horrific.
Hammurabi was a great ruler of Ancient Babylon, the world’s first great metropolis. Many artefacts from his reign have been preserved for us to study today. Many of his laws will appear familiar to us:
If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out.
If he break another man’s bone, his bone shall be broken.
If he break another man’s teeth his teeth shall be broken.
If a son strikes his father, his hand shall be hewn off.
Now where have I heard something like this before? Some old guy from the bible I seem to remember; oh yes, it was Moses.
Laws of Moses:
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot.
And he that smiteth his father or mother, shall surely be put to death.
Of course Moses had to go one better and insist also: he who curseth his father or mother shall be put to death.
Well who hasn’t had reason to curse their parents these days, lucky for us this law is largely ignored today.
But then Moses seems to have got a bit carried away with the family discipline regime, because in Deuteronomy 21, 18-21, stubborn children are to be dragged off by both mother and father, and taken to the elders on the outskirts of the city to be stoned to death! And we think we have problems with child abuse today.
A couple of chapters later Moses tells us: he who is wounded in the stones, or worse still, has his actual privy member cut off; shall not enter into the kingdom of the Lord. And for good measure, any bastards can also piss off; until the tenth generations.
Hammurabi 209: If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he shall pay her ten shekels for her loss. Fair enough. But they seem to have an awful lot of trouble with their oxen in those days.
Hammurabi 245: if anyone hire an ox and put it’s eye out, he shall pay the owner one half of it’s value.
248: If anyone hire an ox and break off a horn or cut off it’s tail, he shall pay the owner one quarter of it’s value.
Moses decided in Exodus 21:28, if an ox gore a man or a woman and they die, the ox shall be stoned to death. No good pointing out that you didn’t know any better since you had the brain of an ox.
In Leviticus 20:15, he seems to be troubled by unnatural sex:
If a man lie with a beast he shall surely be put to death; and ye shall slay the beast. And if a woman approach a beast and lie down with it; thou shall kill the woman.
Now call me old-fashioned, but I didn’t have to tell my children of this law of Moses, forbidding them to have bestial-sex; I just sort of thought they would figure it out for themselves. Hammurabi steers clear of the subject as well. Maybe it was only Moses tribe who had this problem.
He had this advice for women in Deuteronomy, 25:11-12. When men strive together (fight) one with another, and the wife of one draw near for to deliver her husband out of the hand that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand and taketh him by the secrets: though shall cut off her hand, thine shall not pity her! Yes girls, when your husband gets himself into a fight; don’t even think about grabbing his opponent by the balls: you may not get your hand cut off, but it just isn’t cricket.
And Moses insists that his almighty God gave him these rules!
Hammurabi lived a couple of hundred years before Moses, his code would have been widely known. Is it possible that Moses stole some of his laws and added his own twist to them.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s