Throughout the history of mankind we have migrated from one place to another. Human beings mix, mingle, and intermarry. We share thoughts, ideas, and DNA. The ancient Chinese gave us gunpowder, and changed the face of warfare. Coffee, America's favorite beverage, came to us from abroad as did many of the spices we use in our cooking even today. We are a nation of immigrants, and with those immigrants came different cultures, habits, and languages. When others came to this country they brought with them their own set of beliefs and values. For the most part they are not wrong, they just happen to be different.
We, as humans, tend to adapt to each other's presence by adapting each other's mannerisms, language, and cultures. This applies to beliefs as well. Many of us would like to think that whatever we believe is the universal truth, but is it really? If one were to look with intellectual honesty at what we believe, it may surprise us to find that our beliefs may have come from another source and we have in fact adopted those beliefs. Of course we could all just slam our holy books down on the table and scream, "This is THE TRUTH!", but does that make it so? Could it be that, as Jack Nicholson once said, " You can't handle the truth!"?.
Hammurabi was the sixth king of Babylon (which is modern day Iraq) and reigned from 1750-1795 BCE. To establish order in his kingdom, he developed what has become to be known as Hammurabi's Code, a set of 282 laws which is believed to have been published approximately 1780 BCE (BCE means Before Common Era, or before the time of Christ as an established time line). Stone tablets bearing these laws were discovered by archaeologists in 1901, largely intact, with the exception of laws 66-99, which were unreadable. Comparing these laws to the Ten Commandments brings out some very interesting facts. The Ten Commandments were believed to have been brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai between 1540-1515 BCE, about 300-350 years after the advent of Hammurabi's Code. The tablets bearing this code were discovered in the Persian mountains, which is modern day Iran. Those familiar with the Old Testament of the Christian Bible know that the areas of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the entire middle eastern world, were the areas in which our ancestors roamed and is the birthplace of modern Christianity. Further comparison to the Ten Commandments brings out some striking similarities. Listed below are some of the commandments and their comparative laws from Hammurabi's Code.
5th Commandment: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you".
Hammurabi's code: 192. If a son of a paramour or a prostitute say to his adoptive father or mother: "You are not my father, or my mother," his tongue shall be cut off.
193. If the son of a paramour or a prostitute desire his father's house, and desert his adoptive father and adoptive mother, and goes to his father's house, then shall his eye be put out.
195. If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off.
6th Commandment "You shall not murder".
Hammurabi's Code: 153. If the wife of one man on account of another man has their mates (her husband and the other man's wife) murdered, both of them shall be impaled.
7th Commandment: "You shall not commit adultery".
Hammurabi's Code: 129. If a man's wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man, both shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon his wife and the king his slaves.
130. 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.
155. If a man betroth a girl to his son, and his son have intercourse with her, but he (the father) afterward defile her, and be surprised, then he shall be bound and cast into the water (drowned).
Eighth Commandment: "You shall not steal".
Hammurabi's Code: 8. 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 thirtyfold therefor; 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 death.
21. If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.
22. If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.
253. 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.
9th Commandment: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor".
Hammurabi's Code: 3. 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.
". 10th Commandment: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's".
Hammurabi's Code: 25. 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 self-same fire.
There are some commandments that are not covered here, obviously, but as previously noted, laws 66-99 are missing from the tablets and may have indeed referred to those same situations covered by those commandments. An interesting contrast to the Ten Commandments is the fact that the laws of Hammurabi spell out the punishments for the crimes while the Commandments only admonish us not to commit those infractions listed.
The South is considered to be the" Bible Belt", and Memphis is often referred to as the "Belt Buckle". Christians of numerous denominations, as well as other faiths mingle here freely, and many people will not hesitate to tell you that their way is the only way, and their's is the universal truth. It would shock many of them to discover that everything they beleive may have possibly, just possibly, been adapted from another culture, or belief system. Their reaction to this possiblity is as universal as their truth. You can almost hear their minds slam shut from across a room. As people of faith, we should be better than that. Wouldn't that be what God would want?
http://www.examiner.com/article/hammura ... ur-beliefs
The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking."
A. A. Milne
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