Tag Archives: Hammurabi

Job 23

God’s Commands

I read something today that made me stop and think.

I have not departed from his commands but have treasured his word in my heart. – Job 23:12

What commands?

The events of the book of Job would have taken place around 1700 BC.

God’s commands won’t be written down until hundreds of years in the future (about 1500 BC) when Moses receives them on the tablets, and then by direct conversation with God during the sojourn in the wilderness. So what commands is Job referring to?

In doing research, I found that there were earlier codified forms of law.

The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest known tablet containing a law code surviving today. It was written in the Sumerian language ca. 2100-2050 BC. – Wikipedia

Then there is the famous code of Hammurabi.

The Code of Hammurabi (Codex Hammurabi) is a well-preserved ancient law code, created ca. 1790 BC in ancient Babylon. It was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. One nearly complete example of the Code survives today, inscribed on a seven foot, four inch tall basalt stele in the Akkadian language in the cuneiform script. – Wikipedia

And there were others. So it would appear that there was enough law available from which of determine right and wrong. At least right and wrong as defined by man. But what about God’s definition of right and wrong?

For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. – Romans 1:19-20

The writer of Romans makes it clear that from the time the world was created people have had knowledge of God. The only issue has been, what they do with that knowledge.

Father, unlike Job I actually have your written word, your will for my life readily available. May I have a burning desire to do what it says so that in all my ways I please you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Read it, Live it. Jan

2 Samuel 4

Fitting the Crime

For thousands of years Middle-Eastern society has had a very clear sense of justice or retribution for crimes. I think it was first codified in about 1790 B.C in the code of Hammurabi, the sixth Babylonian king. Many of Hammurabi’s 282 laws dealt with swift justice and having the punishment either in relation to the crime or immediate death. 

In reading about Recab and Baanah, the murderers of Isbosheth, I noticed David’s punishment of them. 

Now what reward should I give the wicked men who have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed? Should I not also demand your very lives?” So David ordered his young men to kill them, and they did. They cut off their hands and feet and hung their bodies beside the pool in Hebron. – 2 Samuel 4:11-12 

But somehow this account seemed lacking to me. What was the reference to cutting off their hands and feet? So I did some digging and found that Flavius Josephus wrote about it in his Antiquities of the Jews in book 7. Upon being told of their action David said… 

 …you have slain a righteous man upon his bed, who never did evil to any body, and treated you with great good-will and respect? Wherefore you shall suffer the punishment due on his account, and the vengeance I ought to inflict upon you for killing Ishbosheth, and for supposing that I should take his death kindly at your hands; for you could not lay a greater blot on my honor, than by making such a supposal.” When David had said this, he tormented them with all sorts of torments, and then put them to death… 

David didn’t simply order his men to kill them, and then cut off their body parts. He first had them tortured for their crimes, then he had them executed and publicly displayed as a warning to others. He made their punishment fit the crime. 

Man am I glad that Jesus came to take my punishment. I could never have paid for my crimes against God and his righteousness. There aren’t enough body parts on me to cut off. 

Father, thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus. May I never take it for granted. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

May my praise fit the mercy. Jan