The Code of Hammurabi:
Can Itís Teachings Help Our Society?

The Code of Hammurabi is a compilation and revision of older laws of the Sumerians and Akkadians. These deal with most every facet of life in the ancient Near East. (Western, 12) If everyone were to follow these laws and rules, then crime in our society would be limited and any criminal-to-be would be intimidated by the consequences provided by the Code of Hammurabi. These consequences can be harsh and fatal.
Most of the Code of Hammurabi teaches the saying, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." This is demonstrated in law number 197 and 200. "197. If a seignior has destroyed the eye of a member of the aristocracy, they shall destroy his eye." "200. If a seignior has knocked out a tooth of a seignior of his own rank, they shall knock out his tooth." The consequences to these actions are very logical, legitimate, and appropriate. I believe that these consequences would discourage a person who was willing to do such a deed. If this person was dismayed, it is one less crime occurring. If many people were dismayed, the crime rate would drastically drop. Especially if the consequence included death.
In law number 22 the Code of Hammurabi states that, "If a seignior committed robbery and has been caught, that seignior shall be put to death." This law is made to discourage robbery and it does an extremely good job. If you revealed of committing a robbery, then you are automatically, no questions asked, put to death. This law would definitely subdue a criminal to perform a robbery, especially if you will lose your life over the deed. Not only is robbery and assault a big problem in todayís society, perjury is also widely spread.
Perjury is a big part of our life today, eminently the Lewinsky vs. Clinton trial. Perjury occurs in many of the trials taking place today and is a major factor of a true and just-worthy trial. Obviously, lying at the stand was also a big problem at the turn of the twentieth century, when the Code of Hammurabi was written. Code number three states that, "if a seignior came forward with false testimony in a case, and has not proved the word which he spoke, if that case was a case involving life, that seignior shall be put to death." This law says that if you commit perjury in a case involving life, you shall be put to death. If no person were to lie at the stand, our judiciary system would be more true and the sentencing would be more true. If people would follow the Code of Hammurabi, crime would be lessened in the perjury area.
In conclusion, if people were to follow the Code of Hammurabi, crime would be greatly decreased. The consequences of crimes stated in the Code of Hammurabi are logical, reasonable and just. These consequences should be practiced in todayís judicial system to purify it and decrease crime rates all over the nation.


Beatty, John L., Johnson, Oliver A., Heritage of Western Civilization, 1987, Prentice-Hall Inc., pg. 12-22