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An Eye For The Truth Essay

1076 words - 5 pages

An Eye for the Truth
The Laws of ancient civilizations may be confusing to some people nowadays, but, when put into the context of the location, time, and mindset of the people who created these laws, they become much more reasonable within that framework. In this essay, two distinct sets of laws from the ancient civilizations will be compared and contrasted; The Code of Hammurabi, by Hammurabi, the sixth Babylonian king in the 1700s B.C. and the Ten Commandments and Exodus, written, or at least attributed to Moses. The first difference that must be noted is the way that the laws are introduced, or the prologues, one obviously polytheistic, the other blatantly monotheistic. The Code of ...view middle of the document...

4 This suggests that each civilization valued honesty very highly as well as to certain degree, fairness. Yet, another obvious difference between the two is the law in The Code of Hammurabi wherein it lays out what will happen, “If a judge gave a judgment, rendered a decision, deposited a sealed document, but later has altered his judgment.”5 The Ten Commandments and Exodus do not even seem to mention what will happen if and when a judge changes their mind. This seems to promote the idea that the Babylonions held authorities responsible for their mistakes, so they valued responsibility more than the Hebrews did. There were also class systems in each and most of the laws in The Code of Hammurabi seem to apply only to this upper middle class section of the people, while the Hebrew laws apply to everyone, perhaps suggesting the Hebrews valued equality more than the Babylonians. Both civilizations had very large penalties for stealing livestock, a minimum of fourfold restitution in the Hebrew laws, and tenfold in the Babylonian laws. These were most likely to deter people from stealing, because if you get caught, you have to pay back what you stole several times, and if you couldn’t, well, you get put to death. These penalties reaffirm their values on property, especially living creatures, and also their value of honesty. The idea that the Babylonians valued the community over the individual is shown in law 23 of The Code of Hammurabi, wherein it outlines that if someone is robbed and the robber is not found, “the city and governor, in whose territory and district the robbery was committed shall make good to him his lost property.”6 Nowhere in the Hebrew laws does it even suggest that the government is responsible for crimes committed within their region of control.
The next subject of this essay deals with the laws on respect in the Babylonian and Hebrew law codes. In the Babylonian codes, it says that if you hit...

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