Comparison of Laws and Themes in the Code of Nesilim and Hammurabi's Code
In the code of Nesilim and Hammurabi’s code of law some general themes that I find are that if there is an action there will be a reaction and for every action there is a negative consequence. These consequences can come in the form of violence, loss of money or property and retaliatory justice.
In both codes, some of the major laws had to do with slavery, theft, divorce and trade. The codes were put in place to make sure justice was served and restitutions were paid. The laws also varied based upon social class and gender. The code of the Nesilim was a legal document for the hittite civilization. It had very harsh punishments for violation of the code. In this code, they mainly focused on sex and gender.
In The code of Nesilim, the slaves were able to marry, buy property and purchase their own freedom. For example, several of the punishments clarified that slaves were not at all on the same level as free men, such as how a slave would be killed for speaking the name of someone else while killing a serpent, while on the other hand a free man would just be fined one pound of silver.
Also, the code’s punishments are light compared to other codes of the time, such as the Code of Hammurabi, where death was the punishment for the majority of the offenses described. The Code of Nesilim explained a lot about the Hittite civilization.
Hammurabi was a prince who wanted to bring righteousness to his land and to destroy evil-doers. He came up with a set of 282 rules to establish standards and define punishments. Hammurabi’s Code took an inhumane approach to justice, but the cruelty of criminal penalties often depended on the identity of both the lawbreaker and the victim. In Hammurabi’s society freedmen and slaves were considered lesser than nobleman. For example, “If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out” but if someone were to commit the same crime to someone lesser than them then they would only have to pay a fine and there would not be any other punishment put in place.
The societies did not believe in restorative justice. They didn’t believe in reforming the people and making them better people. They didn’t want to correct the behavior or find out why the person did what they did.
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