Ancient Babylonian Laws II
Prof. Bill Long 8/22/06
Continuing on the Hammurabi Laws (18th century B.C.E)
#10. If the buyer could not produce the seller who sold (the lost property) to him or the witnesses before whom he made the purchase, but the owner of the lost property could produce witnesses who can identify his lost property, then it is the buyer who is the thief, he shall be killed; the owner of the lost property shall take his lost property.
#11. If the owner of the lost property could not produce witnesses who can identify his lost property, he is a liar, he has indeed spread malicious charges, he shall be killed.
#12. If the seller should go to his fate, the buyer shall take fivefold the claim for that case from the estate of the seller.
#13. If that man's witnesses are not available, the judges shall grant him an extension until the sixth month, but if he does not bring his witnesses by the sixth month, it is that man who is a liar, he shall be assessed the penalty for the case.
#14. If a man should kidnap the young child of another man, he shall be killed.
#15. If a man should enable a palace slave, a palace slave woman, a commoner's slave, or a commoner's slave woman to leave through the main city-gate, he shall be killed.
#16. If a man should harbor a fugitive slave or slave woman of either the palace or of a commoner in his house and not bring him out at the herald's public proclamation, that householder shall be killed.
#17. If a man seizes a fugitive slave or slave woman in the open country and leads him back to his owner, the slave's owner shall give him 2 shekels of silver.
#18. If the slave shall refuse to identify his owner, he shall lead him off to the palace, his circumstances shall be investigated, and they shall return him to his owner.
#19. If he should detain that slave in his own house and afterward the slave is discovered in his possession, that man shall be killed.
#20. If the slave should escape the custody of the one who seized him, that man shall swear an oath by the god to the owner of the slave, and he shall be released.
#21. If a man breaks into a house, they shall kill him, and hang him in front of that very breach.
#22. If a man commits a robbery and then is seized, that man shall be killed.
#23 If the robber should not be seized, the man who has been robbed shall establish the extent of his lost property before the god; and the city and the governor in whose gterritory and district the robbery was committed shall replace his lost property to him.
#24. If a life (is lost during the robbery), the city and the governor shall weigh and deliver to his kinsmen 60 shekels of silver.
#25. If a fire breaks out in a man's house, and a man who came to help put it out covets the household furnishings belonging to the householder, and takes household furnishings belonging to the householder, that man shall be cast into that very fire.
#26. If either a soldier or a fisherman who is orderd to go on a royal campaign does not go, or hires and sends a hireling as his substitute, that soldier or fisherman shall be killed; the one who informs against him shall take full legal possession of his estate.
#27. If there is either a soldier or a fisherman who is taken captive while serving in a royal fortress, and they give his field and his orchard to another to succeed to his holdings, and he then performs his service obligation--if he (the soldier or fisherman) should return and get back to his city, they shall return to him his field and orchard and he himself shall perform his service obligation.
#42. If a man rents a field in tenancy but does not plant any grain, they shall charge and convict him of not performing the required work in the field, and he shall give to the owner of the field grain in accordance with his neighbor's yield.
#43. If he does not cultivate the field at all but leaves it fallow, he shall give to the owner of the field grain in accordance with his neighbor's yield, and he shall plow and harrow the field which he left fallow and return it to the owner of the field.
#44. If a man rents a previously uncultivated field for a three-year term with the intention of opening it for cultivation but he is negligent and does not open the field, in the fourth year he shall plow, hoe, and harrow the field and return it to the owner of the field; and in addition he shall measure and deliver 3,000 silas of grain per 18 ikus (of field).
#45. If a man leases his field to a cultivator and receives the rent for his field, and afterwards the storm-god Adad devastates the field or a flood sweeps away the crps, the loss is the cultivator's alone.
#46. If he (the owner) should not receive the rent for his field (before the catastrophe destroys the field) or he leases out the field on terms of a half share or a third share (of the yield), the cultivator and the owner of the field shall divide whatever grain there is remaining in the agreed proportions.
#47. If the cultivator should declare his intention to cultivate the field (in the next year) because in the previuos year he did not recover his expenses, the owner of the field will not object; his same cultivator shall cultivate his field and he shall take (his share of) the grain at the harvest in accordance with his contract.
#48. If a man has a debt lodged against him, and the storm-god Adad devastates his field or a flood sweeps away the crops, or there is no grain grown in the field due to insufficient water--in that year he will not repay grain to his creditor; he shall suspend performance of his contract and he will not give interest payments for that year.
#49. If a man borrows silver from a merchant and gives the merchant a field prepared for planting with either grain or sesame (as a pledge for the loan) and declares to him, "you cultivate the field and collect and take away as much grain or sesame as will be grown"--if the cultivator should produce either grain or sesame in the field, at the harvest it is only the owner of the field who shall take the grain or sesame that is grown in the field, and he shall give to the merchant the grain equivalent to his silver which he borrowed from the merchant and the interest on it and also the expenses of the cultivation.
That's enough for now...
Copyright © 2004-2007 William R. Long