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The Code of Hammurabi vs. the Hebrew Law

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The Code of Hammurabi and the Hebrew’s law code are extremely similar although they do have some differences. Both of the systems of law contain some of the same “eye for eye” concepts. One of the main differences between the two codes is the code of Hammurabi is much more strict and unforgiving than the Hebrew’s system of law. If the United States were to choose to adopt one of these systems of law the code of Hammurabi would change our country the most.

There are so many things the code of Hammurabi and the Hebrew’s code of law have in common that it is hard to pick out the differences between the two. Some of the similarities include the “eye for eye” principles, the different punishments among the classes, and the emphasis on a sort of justice. Both of the systems of law are based somewhat on an “eye for eye” principle although the code of Hammurabi is much closer to it. An example is in both systems a murder is punished with death. Both of the systems also have different consequences for crimes committed to the lower class. In Babylonia if a man destroys a lower class citizens eye then he would pay one mina of silver. In Israel if a man destroyed a slave’s eye the slave was to be set free to make up for his loss. If the same crime was committed to a man of the same class the consequences were heavier. Both systems also try to provide as much justice as possible. These are just a few of the many similarities between these two codes of law.

Although it is hard to distinguish the differences between these two systems of law, there are some that stand out. One difference is that the law used by the Hebrews concentrated more on moral law than the code of Hammurabi did. For example if a son were to hit his father in Israel the boy would be put to death but in Babylonia the boy would only have his hand cut off. Another difference is how much more forgiving the system used by the Hebrews was. In the code of Hammurabi no matter what if you did something wrong you were punished. Under the law system used by the Hebrews if you did something wrong but it was an accident you would have a less severe punishment. If a Babylonian were to murder a man we would be killed no questions asked. If a Hebrew man was to have murdered a man and it was an innocent accident he would flee to another city.

If the United States decided to take either one of these systems of law and practice it our country would change. But there would be a more drastic change if we adopted the code of Hammurabi. Both codes are based on an “eye for eye” concept, although the Hebrew law is based more loosely, and they would change how our country would run. The code of Hammurabi is more harsh and would definitely clear up crime. Under no system of law would crime stop all together, but the severity of Hammurabi’s code would help to strengthen our country. But it would be hard to get used to. The law system used by the Hebrews would also change our country but it is much closer to what we use now.

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