When Anu the Sublime, King of the
Anunaki, and Bel, the lord
of Heaven and earth, who
decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his
illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting
kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven
and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted
prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the
land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should
not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like
Shamash, and enlighten the
land, to further the well-being of mankind.
Hammurabi, the prince, called of Bel am I, making riches and increase, enriching Nippur and Dur-ilu beyond compare, sublime
patron of E-kur; who reestablished Eridu and purified the worship of
E-apsu; who conquered the four quarters of the world, made great the name
of Babylon, rejoiced the heart of Marduk, his lord who daily pays his
devotions in Saggil; the royal scion whom Sin made; who enriched Ur; the
humble, the reverent, who brings wealth to Gish-shir-gal; the white king, heard of Shamash, the mighty, who again laid the foundations of Sippara;
who clothed the gravestones of Malkat with green; who made E-babbar great, which is like the heavens, the warrior who guarded Larsa and renewed
E-babbar, with Shamash as his helper; the lord who granted new life to Uruk, who brought plenteous water to its inhabitants, raised the head of
E-anna, and perfected the beauty of Anu and Nana; shield of the land, who
reunited the scattered inhabitants of Isin; who richly endowed E-gal-mach;
the protecting king of the city, brother of the god Zamama; who firmly
founded the farms of Kish, crowned E-me-te-ursag with glory, redoubled the
great holy treasures of Nana, managed the temple of Harsag-kalama; the
grave of the enemy, whose help brought about the victory; who increased
the power of Cuthah; made all glorious in E-shidlam, the black steer, who
gored the enemy; beloved of the god Nebo, who rejoiced the inhabitants of Borsippa, the Sublime; who is indefatigable for E-zida; the divine king of
the city; the White, Wise; who broadened the fields of Dilbat, who heaped
up the harvests for Urash; the Mighty, the lord to whom come scepter and
crown, with which he clothes himself; the Elect of Ma-ma; who fixed the
temple bounds of Kesh, who made rich the holy feasts of Nin-tu; the
provident, solicitous, who provided food and drink for Lagash and Girsu, who provided large sacrificial offerings for the temple of Ningirsu; who
captured the enemy, the Elect of the oracle who fulfilled the prediction
of Hallab, who rejoiced the heart of Anunit; the pure prince, whose prayer
is accepted by Adad; who satisfied the heart of Adad, the warrior, in Karkar, who restored the vessels for worship in E-ud-gal-gal; the king who
granted life to the city of Adab; the guide of E-mach; the princely king
of the city, the irresistible warrior, who granted life to the inhabitants
of Mashkanshabri, and brought abundance to the temple of Shidlam; the
White, Potent, who penetrated the secret cave of the bandits, saved the
inhabitants of Malka from misfortune, and fixed their home fast in wealth;
who established pure sacrificial gifts for Ea and Dam-gal-nun-na, who made
his kingdom everlastingly great; the princely king of the city, who
subjected the districts on the Ud-kib-nun-na Canal to the sway of Dagon, his Creator; who spared the inhabitants of Mera and Tutul; the sublime
prince, who makes the face of Ninni shine; who presents holy meals to the
divinity of Nin-a-zu, who cared for its inhabitants in their need, provided a portion for them in Babylon in peace; the shepherd of the
oppressed and of the slaves; whose deeds find favor before Anunit, who
provided for Anunit in the temple of Dumash in the suburb of Agade; who
recognizes the right, who rules by law; who gave back to the city of Ashur
its protecting god; who let the name of Ishtar of Nineveh remain in
E-mish-mish; the Sublime, who humbles himself before the great gods;
successor of Sumula-il; the mighty son of Sin-muballit; the royal scion of
Eternity; the mighty monarch, the sun of Babylon, whose rays shed light
over the land of Sumer and Akkad; the king, obeyed by the four quarters of
the world; Beloved of Ninni, am I.
sent me to rule over men, to give the protection of right to the land, I
did right and righteousness in... and brought about the well-being of
If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the
accused go to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river
his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove
that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who had
brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the
river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.
If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the
elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a
capital offense charged, be put to death.
If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his
judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it
be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by
him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgment.
If any one buy from the son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or a contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is
considered a thief and shall be put to death.
If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or
a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay
thirty fold; if they belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay
tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to
If any one lose an article, and find it in the
possession of another: if the person in whose possession the thing is
found say "A merchant sold it to me, I paid for it before witnesses, " and
if the owner of the thing say, "I will bring witnesses who know my
property, " then shall the purchaser bring the merchant who sold it to him, and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner shall bring
witnesses who can identify his property. The judge shall examine their
testimony—both of the witnesses before whom the price was paid, and of the
witnesses who identify the lost article on oath. The merchant is then
proved to be a thief and shall be put to death. The owner of the lost
article receives his property, and he who bought it receives the money he
paid from the estate of the merchant.
If the purchaser does not bring the merchant and the
witnesses before whom he bought the article, but its owner bring witnesses
who identify it, then the buyer is the thief and shall be put to death, and the owner receives the lost article.
If the witnesses be not at hand, then shall the judge
set a limit, at the expiration of six months. If his witnesses have not
appeared within the six months, he is an evil-doer, and shall bear the
fine of the pending case.
If any one receive into his house a runaway male or
female slave of the court, or of a freedman, and does not bring it out at
the public proclamation of the major domus, the master of the house shall
be put to death.
If the robber is not caught, then shall he who was
robbed claim under oath the amount of his loss; then shall the community, and . . . on whose ground and territory and in whose domain it was
compensate him for the goods stolen.
If fire break out in a house, and some one who comes to
put it out cast his eye upon the property of the owner of the house, and
take the property of the master of the house, he shall be thrown into that
If a chieftain or a man (common soldier), who has been
ordered to go upon the king's highway for war does not go, but hires a
mercenary, if he withholds the compensation, then shall this officer or
man be put to death, and he who represented him shall take possession of
If a chieftain or man be caught in the misfortune of the
king (captured in battle), and if his fields and garden be given to
another and he take possession, if he return and reaches his place, his
field and garden shall be returned to him, he shall take it over again.
If a chieftain or a man leave his house, garden, and
field and hires it out, and some one else takes possession of his house, garden, and field and uses it for three years: if the first owner return
and claims his house, garden, and field, it shall not be given to him, but
he who has taken possession of it and used it shall continue to use it.
If a chieftain or a man is captured on the "Way of the
King" (in war), and a merchant buy him free, and bring him back to his
place; if he have the means in his house to buy his freedom, he shall buy
himself free: if he have nothing in his house with which to buy himself
free, he shall be bought free by the temple of his community; if there be
nothing in the temple with which to buy him free, the court shall buy his
freedom. His field, garden, and house shall not be given for the purchase
of his freedom.
If any one buy the field, garden, and house of a
chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent, his contract tablet of sale
shall be broken (declared invalid) and he loses his money. The field, garden, and house return to their owners.
If any one fence in the field, garden, and house of a
chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent, furnishing the palings
therefor; if the chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent return to
field, garden, and house, the palings which were given to him become his
If any one take over a field to till it, and obtain no
harvest therefrom, it must be proved that he did no work on the field, and
he must deliver grain, just as his neighbor raised, to the owner of the
If he do not till the field, but let it lie fallow, he
shall give grain like his neighbor's to the owner of the field, and the
field which he let lie fallow he must plow and sow and return to its
If any one take over a waste-lying field to make it
arable, but is lazy, and does not make it arable, he shall plow the fallow
field in the fourth year, harrow it and till it, and give it back to its
owner, and for each ten gan (a measure of area) ten gur of grain shall be
If the tiller, because he did not succeed in the first
year, has had the soil tilled by others, the owner may raise no objection;
the field has been cultivated and he receives the harvest according to
If any one owe a debt for a loan, and a storm prostrates
the grain, or the harvest fail, or the grain does not grow for lack of
water; in that year he need not give his creditor any grain, he washes his
debt-tablet in water and pays no rent for this year.
If any one take money from a merchant, and give the
merchant a field tillable for corn or sesame and order him to plant corn
or sesame in the field, and to harvest the crop; if the cultivator plant
corn or sesame in the field, at the harvest the corn or sesame that is in
the field shall belong to the owner of the field and he shall pay corn as
rent, for the money he received from the merchant, and the livelihood of
the cultivator shall he give to the merchant.
If any one be too lazy to keep his dam in proper
condition, and does not so keep it; if then the dam break and all the
fields be flooded, then shall he in whose dam the break occurred be sold
for money, and the money shall replace the corn which he has caused to be
If a shepherd, without the permission of the owner of
the field, and without the knowledge of the owner of the sheep, lets the
sheep into a field to graze, then the owner of the field shall harvest his
crop, and the shepherd, who had pastured his flock there without
permission of the owner of the field, shall pay to the owner twenty gur of
corn for every ten gan.
If after the flocks have left the pasture and been shut
up in the common fold at the city gate, any shepherd let them into a field
and they graze there, this shepherd shall take possession of the field
which he has allowed to be grazed on, and at the harvest he must pay sixty
gur of corn for every ten gan.
If any one give over a field to a gardener, for him to
plant it as a garden, if he work at it, and care for it for four years, in
the fifth year the owner and the gardener shall divide it, the owner
taking his part in charge.
If he do not plant the field that was given over to him
as a garden, if it be arable land (for corn or sesame) the gardener shall
pay the owner the produce of the field for the years that he let it lie
fallow, according to the product of neighboring fields, put the field in
arable condition and return it to its owner.
If any one hand over his garden to a gardener to work, the gardener shall pay to its owner two-thirds of the produce of the
garden, for so long as he has it in possession, and the other third shall
If a merchant give an agent corn, wool, oil, or any
other goods to transport, the agent shall give a receipt for the amount, and compensate the merchant therefor. Then he shall obtain a receipt form
the merchant for the money that he gives the merchant.
If the agent accept money from the merchant, but have a
quarrel with the merchant (denying the receipt), then shall the merchant
swear before God and witnesses that he has given this money to the agent, and the agent shall pay him three times the sum.
If the merchant cheat the agent, in that as the latter
has returned to him all that had been given him, but the merchant denies
the receipt of what had been returned to him, then shall this agent
convict the merchant before God and the judges, and if he still deny
receiving what the agent had given him shall pay six times the sum to the
If a tavern-keeper (feminine) does not accept corn
according to gross weight in payment of drink, but takes money, and the
price of the drink is less than that of the corn, she shall be convicted
and thrown into the water.
If any one be on a journey and entrust silver, gold, precious stones, or any movable property to another, and wish to recover
it from him; if the latter do not bring all of the property to the
appointed place, but appropriate it to his own use, then shall this man, who did not bring the property to hand it over, be convicted, and he shall
pay fivefold for all that had been entrusted to him.
If any one have consignment of corn or money, and he
take from the granary or box without the knowledge of the owner, then
shall he who took corn without the knowledge of the owner out of the
granary or money out of the box be legally convicted, and repay the corn
he has taken. And he shall lose whatever commission was paid to him, or
If the prisoner die in prison from blows or
maltreatment, the master of the prisoner shall convict the merchant before
the judge. If he was a free-born man, the son of the merchant shall be put
to death; if it was a slave, he shall pay one-third of a
mina of gold, and
all that the master of the prisoner gave he shall forfeit.
If any one fail to meet a claim for debt, and sell
himself, his wife, his son, and daughter for money or give them away to
forced labor: they shall work for three years in the house of the man who
bought them, or the proprietor, and in the fourth year they shall be set
If any one fail to meet a claim for debt, and he sell
the maid servant who has borne him children, for money, the money which
the merchant has paid shall be repaid to him by the owner of the slave and
she shall be freed.
If any one store corn for safe keeping in another
person's house, and any harm happen to the corn in storage, or if the
owner of the house open the granary and take some of the corn, or if
especially he deny that the corn was stored in his house: then the owner
of the corn shall claim his corn before God (on oath), and the owner of
the house shall pay its owner for all of the corn that he took.
If any one place his property with another for safe
keeping, and there, either through thieves or robbers, his property and
the property of the other man be lost, the owner of the house, through
whose neglect the loss took place, shall compensate the owner for all that
was given to him in charge. But the owner of the house shall try to follow
up and recover his property, and take it away from the thief.
If any one who has not lost his goods state that they
have been lost, and make false claims: if he claim his goods and amount of
injury before God, even though he has not lost them, he shall be fully
compensated for all his loss claimed. (I.e., the oath is all that is
If any one "point the finger" (slander) at a sister of a
god or the wife of any one, and can not prove it, this man shall be taken
before the judges and his brow shall be marked. (by cutting the skin, or
If a man violate the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of
another man, who has never known a man, and still lives in her father's
house, and sleep with her and be surprised, this man shall be put to
death, but the wife is blameless.
If a man is taken prisoner in war, and there is a
sustenance in his house, but his wife leave house and court, and go to
another house: because this wife did not keep her court, and went to
another house, she shall be judicially condemned and thrown into the
If a man be taken prisoner in war and there be no
sustenance in his house and his wife go to another house and bear
children; and if later her husband return and come to his home: then this
wife shall return to her husband, but the children follow their father.
If any one leave his house, run away, and then his wife
go to another house, if then he return, and wishes to take his wife back:
because he fled from his home and ran away, the wife of this runaway shall
not return to her husband.
If a man wish to separate from a woman who has borne him
children, or from his wife who has borne him children: then he shall give
that wife her dowry, and a part of the usufruct of field, garden, and
property, so that she can rear her children. When she has brought up her
children, a portion of all that is given to the children, equal as that of
one son, shall be given to her. She may then marry the man of her heart.
If a man's wife, who lives in his house, wishes to leave
it, plunges into debt, tries to ruin her house, neglects her husband, and
is judicially convicted: if her husband offer her release, she may go on
her way, and he gives her nothing as a gift of release. If her husband
does not wish to release her, and if he take another wife, she shall
remain as servant in her husband's house.
If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: "You are
not congenial to me, " the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If
she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and
neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her
dowry and go back to her father's house.
If a man take a wife and this woman give her husband a
maid-servant, and she bear him children, but this man wishes to take
another wife, this shall not be permitted to him; he shall not take a
If a man take a wife, and she bear him no children, and
he intend to take another wife: if he take this second wife, and bring her
into the house, this second wife shall not be allowed equality with his
If a man take a wife and she give this man a
maid-servant as wife and she bear him children, and then this maid assume
equality with the wife: because she has borne him children her master
shall not sell her for money, but he may keep her as a slave, reckoning
her among the maid-servants.
If a man take a wife, and she be seized by disease, if
he then desire to take a second wife he shall not put away his wife, who
has been attacked by disease, but he shall keep her in the house which he
has built and support her so long as she lives.
If a man give his wife a field, garden, and house and a
deed therefor, if then after the death of her husband the sons raise no
claim, then the mother may bequeath all to one of her sons whom she
prefers, and need leave nothing to his brothers.
If a woman who lived in a man's house made an agreement
with her husband, that no creditor can arrest her, and has given a
document therefor: if that man, before he married that woman, had a debt, the creditor can not hold the woman for it. But if the woman, before she
entered the man's house, had contracted a debt, her creditor can not
arrest her husband therefor.
If a man betroth a girl to his son, but his son has not
known her, and if then he defile her, he shall pay her half a gold
mina, and compensate her for all that she brought out of her father's house. She
may marry the man of her heart.
If any one, who has brought chattels into his
father-in-law's house, and has paid the purchase-money, looks for another
wife, and says to his father-in-law: "I do not want your daughter, " the
girl's father may keep all that he had brought.
If a man bring chattels into the house of his
father-in-law, and pay the "purchase price" (for his wife): if then the
father of the girl say: "I will not give you my daughter, " he shall give
him back all that he brought with him.
If a man bring chattels into his father-in-law's house
and pay the "purchase price, " if then his friend slander him, and his
father-in-law say to the young husband: "You shall not marry my daughter, "
the he shall give back to him undiminished all that he had brought with
him; but his wife shall not be married to the friend.
If a man marry a woman and she bear him no sons; if then
this woman die, if the "purchase price" which he had paid into the house
of his father-in-law is repaid to him, her husband shall have no claim
upon the dowry of this woman; it belongs to her father's house.
If a man give to one of his sons whom he prefers a
field, garden, and house, and a deed therefor: if later the father die, and the brothers divide the estate, then they shall first give him the
present of his father, and he shall accept it; and the rest of the
paternal property shall they divide.
If a man take wives for his son, but take no wife for
his minor son, and if then he die: if the sons divide the estate, they
shall set aside besides his portion the money for the "purchase price" for
the minor brother who had taken no wife as yet, and secure a wife for him.
If a man marry a wife and she bear him children: if this
wife die and he then take another wife and she bear him children: if then
the father die, the sons must not partition the estate according to the
mothers, they shall divide the dowries of their mothers only in this way;
the paternal estate they shall divide equally with one another.
If a man wish to put his son out of his house, and
declare before the judge: "I want to put my son out, " then the judge shall
examine into his reasons. If the son be guilty of no great fault, for
which he can be rightfully put out, the father shall not put him out.
If he be guilty of a grave fault, which should
rightfully deprive him of the filial relationship, the father shall
forgive him the first time; but if he be guilty of a grave fault a second
time the father may deprive his son of all filial relation.
If his wife bear sons to a man, or his maid-servant have
borne sons, and the father while still living says to the children whom
his maid-servant has borne: "My sons, " and he count them with the sons of
his wife; if then the father die, then the sons of the wife and of the
maid-servant shall divide the paternal property in common. The son of the
wife is to partition and choose.
If, however, the father while still living did not say
to the sons of the maid-servant: "My sons, " and then the father dies, then
the sons of the maid-servant shall not share with the sons of the wife, but the freedom of the maid and her sons shall be granted. The sons of the
wife shall have no right to enslave the sons of the maid; the wife shall
take her dowry (from her father), and the gift that her husband gave her
and deeded to her (separate from dowry, or the purchase-money paid her
father), and live in the home of her husband: so long as she lives she
shall use it, it shall not be sold for money. Whatever she leaves shall
belong to her children.
If her husband made her no gift, she shall be
compensated for her gift, and she shall receive a portion from the estate
of her husband, equal to that of one child. If her sons oppress her, to
force her out of the house, the judge shall examine into the matter, and
if the sons are at fault the woman shall not leave her husband's house. If
the woman desire to leave the house, she must leave to her sons the gift
which her husband gave her, but she may take the dowry of her father's
house. Then she may marry the man of her heart.
If, however, a State slave or the slave of a freed man
marry a man's daughter, and after he marries her she bring a dowry from a
father's house, if then they both enjoy it and found a household, and
accumulate means, if then the slave die, then she who was free born may
take her dowry, and all that her husband and she had earned; she shall
divide them into two parts, one-half the master for the slave shall take, and the other half shall the free-born woman take for her children. If the
free-born woman had no gift she shall take all that her husband and she
had earned and divide it into two parts; and the master of the slave shall
take one-half and she shall take the other for her children.
If a widow, whose children are not grown, wishes to
enter another house (remarry), she shall not enter it without the
knowledge of the judge. If she enter another house the judge shall examine
the state of the house of her first husband. Then the house of her first
husband shall be entrusted to the second husband and the woman herself as
managers. And a record must be made thereof. She shall keep the house in
order, bring up the children, and not sell the house-hold utensils. He who
buys the utensils of the children of a widow shall lose his money, and the
goods shall return to their owners.
If a "devoted woman" or a prostitute to whom her father
has given a dowry and a deed therefor, but if in this deed it is not
stated that she may bequeath it as she pleases, and has not explicitly
stated that she has the right of disposal; if then her father die, then
her brothers shall hold her field and garden, and give her corn, oil, and
milk according to her portion, and satisfy her. If her brothers do not
give her corn, oil, and milk according to her share, then her field and
garden shall support her. She shall have the usufruct of field and garden
and all that her father gave her so long as she lives, but she can not
sell or assign it to others. Her position of inheritance belongs to her
If a "sister of a god, " or a prostitute, receive a gift
from her father, and a deed in which it has been explicitly stated that
she may dispose of it as she pleases, and give her complete disposition
thereof: if then her father die, then she may leave her property to
whomsoever she pleases. Her brothers can raise no claim thereto.
If a father give a present to his daughter—either
marriageable or a prostitute (unmarriageable)—and then die, then she is to
receive a portion as a child from the paternal estate, and enjoy its
usufruct so long as she lives. Her estate belongs to her brothers.
If a father devote a temple-maid or temple-virgin to God
and give her no present: if then the father die, she shall receive the
third of a child's portion from the inheritance of her father's house, and
enjoy its usufruct so long as she lives. Her estate belongs to her
If a father devote his daughter as a wife of Mardi of
Babylon (as in 181), and give her no present, nor a deed; if then her
father die, then shall she receive one-third of her portion as a child of
her father's house from her brothers, but Marduk may leave her estate to
whomsoever she wishes.
service, or of a prostitute, can not be demanded back.
If an artizan has undertaken to rear a child and teaches
him his craft, he can not be demanded back.
If he has not taught him his craft, this adopted son may
return to his father's house.
If a man does not maintain a child that he has adopted
as a son and reared with his other children, then his adopted son may
return to his father's house.
If a man, who had adopted a son and reared him, founded
a household, and had children, wish to put this adopted son out, then this
son shall not simply go his way. His adoptive father shall give him of his
wealth one-third of a child's portion, and then he may go. He shall not
give him of the field, garden, and house.
If a man give his child to a nurse and the child die in
her hands, but the nurse unbeknown to the father and mother nurse another
child, then they shall convict her of having nursed another child without
the knowledge of the father and mother and her breasts shall be cut off.
If any one deceive a barber, and have him mark a slave
not for sale with the sign of a slave, he shall be put to death, and
buried in his house. The barber shall swear: "I did not mark him
wittingly, " and shall be guiltless.
If it ruin goods, he shall make compensation for all
that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this
house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own
If a shipbuilder build a boat for some one, and do not
make it tight, if during that same year that boat is sent away and suffers
injury, the shipbuilder shall take the boat apart and put it together
tight at his own expense. The tight boat he shall give to the boat owner.
If a man hire a sailor and his boat, and provide it with
corn, clothing, oil and dates, and other things of the kind needed for
fitting it: if the sailor is careless, the boat is wrecked, and its
contents ruined, then the sailor shall compensate for the boat which was
wrecked and all in it that he ruined.
If a merchantman run against a ferryboat, and wreck it, the master of the ship that was wrecked shall seek justice before God; the
master of the merchantman, which wrecked the ferryboat, must compensate
the owner for the boat and all that he ruined.
If any one agree with another to tend his field, give
him seed, entrust a yoke of oxen to him, and bind him to cultivate the
field, if he steal the corn or plants, and take them for himself, his
hands shall be hewn off.
If a herdsman, to whom cattle or sheep have been
entrusted for watching over, and who has received his wages as agreed
upon, and is satisfied, diminish the number of the cattle or sheep, or
make the increase by birth less, he shall make good the increase or profit
which was lost in the terms of settlement.
If a herdsman, to whose care cattle or sheep have been
entrusted, be guilty of fraud and make false returns of the natural
increase, or sell them for money, then shall he be convicted and pay the
owner ten times the loss.
If the herdsman overlook something, and an accident
happen in the stable, then the herdsman is at fault for the accident which
he has caused in the stable, and he must compensate the owner for the
cattle or sheep.
If any one hire a day laborer, he shall pay him from the
New Year until the fifth month (April to August, when days are long and
the work hard) six gerahs in money per day; from the sixth month to the
end of the year he shall give him five gerahs per day.
If any one hire a skilled artizan, he shall pay as wages
of the . . . five gerahs, as wages of the potter five gerahs, of a tailor
five gerahs, of . . . gerahs, . . . of a ropemaker four gerahs, of . . .
gerahs, of a mason . . . gerahs per day.
If while in a foreign country a man buy a male or female
slave belonging to another of his own country; if when he return home the
owner of the male or female slave recognize it: if the male or female
slave be a native of the country, he shall give them back without any
If a slave say to his master: "You are not my master, "
if they convict him his master shall cut off his ear.
An Introduction to
The Rosetta Stone
By His Own Hand
A New Look at the
Joseph Smith Papyri
Laws of justice which Hammurabi, the wise king, established.
A righteous law, and pious statute did he teach the land.
Hammurabi, the protecting king am I.
not withdrawn myself from the men, whom Bel gave to me, the rule
over whom Marduk gave to me, I was not negligent, but I made
them a peaceful abiding-place. I expounded all great
difficulties, I made the light shine upon them. With the mighty
weapons which Zamama and Ishtar entrusted to me,
with the keen vision with which Ea endowed me,
with the wisdom that Marduk gave me, I have uprooted the enemy
above and below (in north and south), subdued the earth, brought
prosperity to the land, guaranteed security to the inhabitants
in their homes; a disturber was not permitted.
great gods have called me, I am the salvation-bearing shepherd,
whose staff is straight, the good shadow that is spread over my
city; on my breast I cherish the inhabitants of the land of
Sumer and Akkad; in my shelter I have let them repose in peace;
in my deep wisdom have I enclosed them. That the strong might
not injure the weak, in order to protect the widows and orphans,
I have in Babylon the city where Anu and Bel raise high their
head, in E-Sagil, the Temple, whose foundations stand firm as
heaven and earth, in order to declare justice in the land, to
settle all disputes, and heal all injuries, set up these my
precious words, written upon my memorial stone, before the image
of me, as king of righteousness.
The king who rules
among the kings of the cities am I. My words are well
considered; there is no wisdom like mine. By the command of
Shamash, the great judge of heaven and earth, let righteousness
go forth in the land: by the order of Marduk, my lord, let no
destruction befall my monument. In E-Sagil, which I love, let my
name be ever repeated; let the oppressed, who have a case at
law, come and stand before this my image as king of
righteousness; let him read the inscription, and understand my
precious words: the inscription will explain his case to him; he
will find out what is just, and his heart will be glad, so that
he will say:
"Hammurabi is a ruler, who is as a
father to his subjects, who holds the words of Marduk in
reverence, who has achieved conquest for Marduk over the north
and south, who rejoices the heart of Marduk, his lord, who has
bestowed benefits for ever and ever on his subjects, and has
established order in the land."
When he reads the
record, let him pray with full heart to Marduk, my lord, and
Zarpanit, my lady; and then shall the protecting deities and the gods, who frequent E-Sagil, graciously grant the desires daily presented before Marduk, my lord, and Zarpanit, my lady.
In future time, through all coming generations, let the king, who may be in the land, observe the words of righteousness which I have written on my monument; let him not alter the law of the land which I have given, the edicts which I have enacted; my monument let him not mar. If such a ruler have wisdom, and be able to keep his land in order, he shall observe the words which I have written in this inscription; the rule, statute, and law of the land which I have given; the decisions which I have made will this inscription show him; let him rule his subjects accordingly, speak justice to them, give right decisions, root out the evil-doers and criminals from this land, and grant prosperity to his subjects.
Hammurabi, the king of righteousness, on whom Shamash has conferred the law am I. My words are well considered; my deeds are not equaled; to bring low those that were high; to humble the proud, to expel insolence. If a succeeding ruler considers my words, which I have written in this my inscription, if he do not annul my law, nor corrupt my words, nor change my monument, then may Shamash lengthen that king's reign, as he has that of me, the king of righteousness, that he may reign in righteousness over his subjects.
If this ruler does not esteem my words, which I have written in my inscription, if he despises my curses, and fears not the curse of God, if he destroys the law which I have given, corrupts my words, changes my monument, effaces my name, writes his name there, or on account of the curses commissions another to do so, that man, whether king or ruler, patesi, or commoner, no matter what he be, may the great God (Anu), the Father of the gods, who has ordered my rule, withdraw from him the glory of royalty, break his scepter, curse his destiny.
lord, who fixes destiny, whose command can not be altered, who
has made my kingdom great, order a rebellion which his hand can
not control; may he let the wind of the overthrow of his
habitation blow, may he ordain the years of his rule in
groaning, years of scarcity, years of famine, darkness without
light, death with seeing eyes be fated to him; may he (Bel)
order with his potent mouth the destruction of his city, the
dispersion of his subjects, the cutting off of his rule, the
removal of his name and memory from the land.
great Mother, whose command is potent in E-Kur,
the Mistress, who harkens graciously to my petitions, in the
seat of judgment and decision, turn his affairs evil before Bel,
and put the devastation of his land, the destruction of his
subjects, the pouring out of his life like water into the mouth
of King Bel.
May Ea, the great ruler, whose fated decrees come to pass, the thinker
of the gods, the omniscient, who makes long the days of my life,
withdraw understanding and wisdom from him, lead him to
forgetfulness, shut up his rivers at their sources, and not
allow corn or sustenance for man to grow in his land.
May Shamash, the great Judge of heaven and earth, who supports all means of
livelihood, Lord of life-courage, shatter his dominion, annul
his law, destroy his way, make vain the march of his troops,
send him in his visions forecasts of the uprooting of the
foundations of his throne and of the destruction of his land.
May the condemnation of Shamash overtake him; may he be deprived
of water above among the living, and his spirit below in the
May Sin, the Lord of Heaven, the divine father, whose crescent gives
light among the gods, take away the crown and regal throne from
him; may he put upon him heavy guilt, great decay, that nothing
may be lower than he. May he destine him as fated, days, months
and years of dominion filled with sighing and tears, increase of
the burden of dominion, a life that is like unto death.
May Adad, the lord of fruitfulness, ruler of heaven and earth, my helper,
withhold from him rain from heaven, and the flood of water from
the springs, destroying his land by famine and want; may he rage
mightily over his city, and make his land into flood-hills
(heaps of ruined cities).
the great warrior, the first-born son of E-Kur, who goes at my
right hand, shatter his weapons on the field of battle, turn day
into night for him, and let his foe triumph over him.
May Ishtar, the goddess of fighting and war, who unfetters my weapons, my
gracious protecting spirit, who loves my dominion, curse his
kingdom in her angry heart; in her great wrath, change his grace
into evil, and shatter his weapons on the place of fighting and
war. May she create disorder and sedition for him, strike down
his warriors, that the earth may drink their blood, and throw
down the piles of corpses of his warriors on the field; may she
not grant him a life of mercy, deliver him into the hands of his
enemies, and imprison him in the land of his enemies.
May Nergal, the might among the gods, whose contest is irresistible, who
grants me victory, in his great might burn up his subjects like
a slender reedstalk, cut off his limbs with his mighty weapons,
and shatter him like an earthen image.
the sublime mistress of the lands, the fruitful mother, deny him
a son, vouchsafe him no name, give him no successor among men.
the daughter of Anu, who adjudges grace to me, cause to come
upon his members in E-kur high fever, severe wounds, that can
not be healed, whose nature the physician does not understand,
which he can not treat with dressing, which, like the bite of
death, can not be removed, until they have sapped away his life.
May he lament the loss of his life-power, and may the
great gods of heaven and earth, the Anunaki,
altogether inflict a curse and evil upon the confines of the
temple, the walls of this E-barra (the Sun temple of Sippara),
upon his dominion, his land, his warriors, his subjects, and his
troops. May Bel curse him with the potent curses of his mouth
that can not be altered, and may they come upon him forthwith.
Translated by L.W. King (1910)