Below is an excerpt from the article:
The newly discovered fragments were written in Akkadian cuneiform script and refer to issues of personal injury law relating to slaves and masters. They are reminiscent of similar laws in the famous Babylonian Hammurabi Code of the 18th century BCE that were found 109 years ago in what is now Iran. The new fragments were found by chance in the palace area.
The researchers said that the laws also reflected to a certain extent a number of biblical laws such as “an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth.” Jewish sages have regarded this verse from Leviticus, Exodus and Deuteronomy as an order not to actually remove the eye or tooth of someone who causes another person to lose one, but to require financial compensation equal to its value. So far, among the words that have been deciphered are “master,” “slave” and a word referring to bodily parts, apparently the word for “tooth.”
Horowitz said the text style was similar to that of the Hammurabi Code, which was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, and consists of 282 laws with scaled punishments, adjusting “an eye for an eye” as graded depending on social status, such as whether a slave or a free man was involved. The Hammurabi Code limited even the king’s powers, but did not constitute a Western-style constitution, scholars say.
Read the article in its entirety by visiting The Jerusalem Post online.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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Tags: Archaeology, Hazor, Code of Hammurabi, Cuneiform Tablets