Code of Hammurabi

Written in BC 1754, Hammurabi’s Code began with a brief creation myth, and then proceeded to list 282 laws for ancient Babylon, covering all sorts of minutiae, with many violations punishable by death.

When Father Sky, sublime king of Angels, and also God of Wind, lord of heaven and earth, decreed the fate of the land, they assigned Lord Marduk, the over-ruling son of the God of Water, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Angels.

Marduk called Babylon by its illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom, whose foundations are laid as solidly as those of heaven and earth.

Then Father Sky and God of Water called me by name, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who fears God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers, so that the strong should not harm the weak, so that I should rule over human beings like the Lord Sun, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

1. If anyone traps another by placing an evil curse on him, and the accuser cannot prove it, the accuser will be put to death.
2. If any one accuse another, and it cannot be proved, the accused will go to the sacred river, jump in and if he drowns in the river, his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if he escape the river unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.
3. If one bears false witness in a trial, and it is proven, the accuser shall be put to death.
4. If anyone satisfy the elders to impose a fine of grain or money, he shall receive the fine.
5. If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge’s bench, and never again shall he sit is judgment.
6. If anyone steal the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who received the stolen thing from him shall be put to death.
7. If any one buy from a son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or a contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is considered a thief and shall be put to death.
8. If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirty-fold. If they belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay tenfold. If the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to death.
9. If any one lose an article, and it is found in the possession of another: if the person in whose possession the thing is found say “A merchant sold it to me, I paid for it before witnesses,” and if the owner of the thing say, “I will bring witnesses who know my property,” then shall the purchaser bring the merchant who sold it to him, and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner shall bring witnesses who can identify his property. The judge shall examine their testimony, both of the witnesses before whom the price was paid, and of the witnesses who identify the lost article on oath. If the merchant is then proved a thief, he shall be put to death. The owner of the lost article receives his property, and he who bought it receives the money he paid from the estate of the merchant.
10. If the purchaser does not bring the merchant and the witnesses before whom he bought the article, but its owner bring witnesses who identify it, then the buyer is the thief and shall be put to death, and the owner receives the lost article.

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