Here are some of the more unusual laws that seem very foreign to a modern society: If any one finds runaway male or female slaves in the open country and bring them to their masters, the master of the slaves shall pay him two shekels of silver.
If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.
If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss.
If a barber, without the knowledge of his master, cut the sign of a slave on a slave not to be sold, the hands of this barber shall be cut off.
"Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared 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 the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind ..." So begins the Law Code of Hammurabi, a list of nearly 300 laws etched into a two and one-half meter high black diorite pillar, discovered in 1902 but dating back to the time of Hammurabi himself (1792-1750 B. Members of the upper-class often received harsher punishments than commoners, and women had quite a few important rights.
Most of the nearly 300 laws written on the pillar pertain to property rights of landowners, slavemasters, merchants, and builders.
If a slave says to his master: "You are not my master," if they convict him his master shall cut off his ear. If he has destroyed the eye of a gentleman's slave ...
Hammurabi's own words illustrate this point: "If a man has destroyed the eye of a man of the gentleman class, they shall destroy his eye .... he shall pay half the slave's price." The Babylonians clearly did not live under a social system that treated all people equally.
But, there are a few major differences between ancient Babylonians and today's laws.
Hammurabi's Code required accusers to bring the accused into court by themselves.