Hammurabi's New Code-Is It Just?
By Chelsea Greene
Yes! Of Coarse!
A wonderful task has been completed!!!!! King Hammurabi, who has ruled the strong Babylonia empire since 1792 B.C., has finally finished his code (282 laws) in the sophisticated year of 1746 B.C. Though this is such a great accomplishment that will benefit Babylonia, some people are saying that Hammurabi (our great king!!!) has created unfair laws and punishments! How foolish are those who defy their own king who protects them and gives them land, jobs and a safe place to dwell! Hammurabi's code protects the weak as he promised, gives us a guide to carry on our lives in peace, and punishes the people who break the law, correctly. It is definitely fair!
I have proof that Hammurabi has created strong, wonderful laws that are fair. To to begin, Hammurabi says numerous times that the gods have given him permission to rule and create these laws. In other words, he has their approval. In his Epilogue, he mentions "By the command of Shamash, the great god and judge of heaven and earth, let righteousness go forth in the land." and on the top of his laws he is standing before the god of justice, Sliamash, who is instructing Hammurabi in the law. Would the gods allow someone to hurt the people? I think not, especially Sliamash, god of justice. Second if all, he protects those who are in need and cannot stand up for themselves. "Law 148: 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." This shows that Hammurabi will protect the weak with his laws because a defenseless, sick woman instead of being cast aside is to remain with her husband safely. "Law 168: If a man has determined to disinherit his son and has declared before the judge, “I cut off my son,” the judge shall inquire into the son’s past, and, if the son has not committed a grave misdemeanor . . . the father shall not disinherit his son." and "Law 195: If a son has struck his father, his hands shall be cut off." These laws also show Hammurabi protecting the weak because he will protect a boy from losing all the inheritance he would get from his father like wealth and possessions, and also making sure there is a punishment for a son hurting his own father. These laws demonstrate the fairness of Hammurabi's code; "Law 48: If a man has borrowed money to plant his fields and a storm has flooded his field or carried away the crop, . . . in that year he does not have to pay his creditor. Laws 53, 54: 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." How is Hammurabi's code NOT fair? If a man loses his crops because of weather it is certainly not his fault, so he shouldn't have to pay his creditor back. And if a man's fields are flooded by another person irrigation trench he should not have to buy more crops, the man who has caused him this trouble should have to restore his crops. As you can see, Hammurabi has created his laws to be fair-the consequences for mistakes are fair and the laws to follow are fair.
Hammurabi's Great Code!
Hammurabi and Sliamash
This is the carving of Hammurabi before the god Sliamash, who is instructing him in the law.
This is what the code looks like up close.
This is a picture of most of the code.