Did Moses copy the Law from the Code of Hammurabi?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Hammurabi was a Babylonian king who reigned from 1795 to 1750 B.C. He is remembered today for promoting and enforcing an organized code of laws. The Code of Hammurabi, discovered on a stele in 1901...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dscf1720 Myron Robertson Seeking God's heart
Christian tradition says there was no written law before God gave the law on Mt. Sinai. Ancient Hebrew historical writings tell us that Cainan (Kenan), the great-grandson of Adam, was the first to write prophecy of the flood and other coming events (Jasher 2:13). This book is mentioned in scripture as one of the sources that was well known in the time of the judges and early kingdom (Joshua 10:13, 2 Samuel 1:18). 

I have read somewhere, I thought Jasher but cannot find the reference, that Noah took a written book of the law into the ark with him and taught from this in the school he built at the foot of Mt. Ararat and which Shem and Eber later moved to Jerusalem when Shem founded that city. Jacob studied many years in this school and wrote his own copy of the book of the law which he later stored with the record of his purchase of the birthright from Esau (for a portion of lentil soup) (Jasher 47:27-29, Genesis 25:29-34). (The Hebrew word shaba is translated oath or swear, but indicates a specific type of oath confirmed by seven sacrifices or witnessed by seven witnesses. In this case a written document was recorded and witnessed by multiple witnesses before Jacob would allow Esau to eat his pottage, and the document was stored with Jacob's copy of the law of God.)

My point is that the Law of God predates and was known before its revelation at Mt. Sinai to Moses and the people of Israel. There are many who believe Hammurabi to be the biblical Nimrod and Amraphel. The book of Jasher tells us that Amraphel was Nimrod (Jasher 11:6) and I thought there was another reference in the book to a name that is a phonetic equivalent of Hammurabi, but I am unable to find it. Still, many scholars have found reason to link Nimrod and Hammurabi over the years. Amraphel means sayer of darkness and Nimrod means rebel. He was the founder of the city of Babel and the builder of the tower there. 

We do not have space to discuss the meaning of all the spiritual symbols found in that story and what that story means in light of those symbols, but it is a very interesting story. In short stones are laws and instead of building his city of stone Nimrod chose brick (man-made stone). In other words, Nimrod replaced the law of God with laws of his own making. If he had made his laws too different from the law of God he would have had a code that was too unjust to gain any followers at all. As it is, his law is much more harsh and punitive than God's law, and more important, much less restorative. 

One of the most thorough studies of God's law that I have ever found comes in the books and other writings of Dr. Stephen E. Jones. Most are available to be read free of charge or download in PDF format on his website. A number of his books compare portions of God's law with the code of Hammurabi which was the primary common law of that region. Dr. Jones' conclusion has been that when God gave the law on Mt Sinai he simply corrected certain of the common law that had been corrupted. God's law is silent on many subjects contained in the Code of Hammurabi, and in most of those subjects Hammurabi appears to follow the biblical principles established in the laws God gave from Mt. Sinai. 

I cannot share specific links to any of Dr. Jones' studies because the moderators here have not yet vetted his site to make certain it conforms to their guidelines but they have never prohibited me from making reference to him or his books and encouraging others to search them out. If you find his site you can enter Hammurabi on his search engine to find these comparative studies, most of which are in the booklets "The Rest of the Law", "God's Law of Restitution", "The Bible Says: Divorce and Remarriage is not Adultery", and his commentaries on the book of Deuteronomy.

September 24 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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