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Volume 6 - Page 125 of 151 Index | Zoom | |
Some of the penalties it will be seen are rather drastic. Where stealing is punished
under the law of Moses by having to restore double, Khammurabi's Code condemns the
thief to death. Some of the laws savour of the acceptance of man's person. For injuring a
slave the law of God gave the slave his freedom, but Khammurabi's Code compensated
the master. A rich or a poor man being injured, the law of Moses penalized the offence
by inflicting identical injury. Khammurabi's Code differentiates between rich and poor.
The rich man's injury is punished as under the law of Moses, but the poor man's is
expiated by paying a fine of one mina of silver.
We do not expect to find "statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law" that was
given to Israel (Deut. 4: 8) in the Code of Khammurabi. The fact of a code of laws at all,
their witness to a high state of civilization, their reflection in the very customs recorded in
Genesis make this monument of great value. As we get nearer to the belonging, so we
find traces of a knowledge of God becoming more distinct. Romans 1: distinctly declares
that the nations had a knowledge of God, but perverted it and were given up by God.
Many of the problems that have arisen in connection with some of the laws of Moses
would be easily solved did we know more of the times and customs prevailing. For
example. To us, from the light of subsequent revelation, "an eye for an eye, and a tooth
for a tooth" seems very lacking in mercy, and yet when we remember that the custom of
blood feud meant that for an eye, a life, or possible many lives would be sacrificed, the
strict equity of the Mosaic law becomes tinged also with mercy and grace. The Bible
student we feel sure cannot look upon this venerable witness of Abraham's day without a
very real interest.
The Tell-el-Amarna Tablets.
pp. 140 - 142
In Table Case F of the Babylonian and Assyrian Room is found a very precious
collection of tablets discovered at Tell-el-Amarna in Egypt in 1887. Tell-el-Amarna is
the Arabic name of a village built near the ruins of a town, temple, and palace built by
Khu-en-Aten or Amenophis IV. These tablets differ in shape from any other cuneiform
tablets yet discovered, and the clay of which they were made differs according to the
country from which they were sent. No. 1 is of finely kneaded Nile mud; Nos. 8-11 of
Syrian clay; Nos. 13, 18, 19, 20, and 24 are of the yellow clay of the Syrian coast.
Nos. 10 and 11 are dockets written in Egyptian, recording the date of their arrival.
No. 4 is tamped with an Egyptian Scarab; No. 58 with a Babylonian cylinder seal like
those already noticed. Archaeology places the date of these latter between B.100: 1500
and 1450, the period of the exodus and the entry into the land of Canaan.
The tablets contain letters written between the kings of Egypt and the kings and
governors of cities and districts in Palestine. They are, next to the record in the early
books of the Bible, the most complete guide to understanding the character of the times in
Canaan about the time of exodus. Enemies of the truth had declared that the stories of the