Articles and Teachings
Ancient Laws and Language Brought Forward
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This document is the corresponding sister material to my document titled "Historical proof from Egypt to Moses." Although this document cannot nearly be considered an exhaustive work on the subject of the ancient law codes, and how they have been consistently brought forward through almost all ancient and even modern day societies legal codes; but more importantly; how they clearly depict their obvious plagiarism into what most traditional followers of Judaic/Christian religions believe they know to be the Commandments of God! My motivation is to show the reader where most of these supposed original Hebrew Ten Commandments, along with the addition of 600+ amendments and subsequent religious rituals found after Exodus chapter 20 actually originated. Of course I am not nearly alone in this knowledge; however, unlike most scholars and archeologist on both sides of Judaism & Christianity; I am neither trying to negate the absolute fact that the Most High Eternal Creator God did in fact provide all man with His righteous and eternal agreement which we call Torah instructions; nor am I trying to further prove the legitimacy or up-hold in any way the existing Egyptian and Talmudic law code which most people of faith have been falsely led to believe is in fact the actual and perfectly given Law code as given from the mouth of God Himself. This writing is merely attempting to point the way through the mortal additions, to hopefully emerge on the other side face to face with the more original instructions which have always existed; that which were reiterated to Moses.
I would also like to advise the reader; that I am not going to provide every single parallel corresponding Torah text available within the confines of this document. Firstly because it would easily double the size of the document; but mainly because as it is with all my documents; my goal is to point the reader in a specific direction, in the hopes that the reader will open his or her Torah to read all related areas in their complete context; which will then allow the expanded understanding of this and other documents which compliment this understanding.
It is thought that the laws of ancient Egypt were at least partially codified. In fact, we learn from one Greek writer that in the Late Period there were probably eight books that set out the legal code. But nothing remains of these documents, or for that matter, legal codes from other periods. However, we can derive some of the laws of ancient Egypt from funerary texts, as well as court and other documents.
Essentially, we believe that Egyptian law was based on a common sense view of right and wrong, following the codes based on the concept of Ma'at. Ma'at represented truth, order, balance and justice in the universe. This concept allowed that everyone, with the exception of slaves, should be viewed as equals under the law, regardless of wealth or social position. However, when punishment was carried out, often the entire family of the guilty suffered as well. For example, when individuals were sentenced to exile, their children were automatically outlawed along with them. If a relative deserted from military service, or defaulted on the labor demands of the state, the entire family might be imprisoned.
A gold Ma'at pendant which I see is currently in the British Museum was more or less an official badge of legal officials. Some statues of high officials from the Late Period are shown wearing the pendant. After the Exodus of Egyptian/Hebrew slaves; we clearly see mostly Egyptian law influence adopted by the Hebrew elders over the commands given to Moses; (see Exodus 20) for Egyptian based laws). During the Greek period, Greek law existed alongside that of the Egyptian law, but usually these laws favored the Greeks. When the Romans took control of Egypt, the Roman legal system which existed throughout the Roman Empire was imposed in Egypt. However, prior to the Greek period, ultimately it was the king as a living god who was the supreme judge and lawmaker. Of course much of this power was delegated to others. The legal and administrative systems seem not to have been well defined, and so at times anyone in an authoritative position may have made legal judgments. We know that the king's viziers often acted as judges, and theoretically, anyone with a legal problem could bring a case before a vizier, though arranging such an audience with busy, important government officials may have at times been difficult; (This example of tribal governance is evident after Jethro, father in law of Moses, gave his advice to Moses to set up their system with this exact structure; which is exactly what Moses incorrectly did. But more specifically, we believe that the title, Overseer of the Six Great Mansions, refers to our modern equivalent of a magistrate. Mansions probably refer to the main law court in Thebes, though we believe there were other major courts in Egypt. Minor cases were tried by a local council of elders and each town or village had its own local kenet or (Keneset) in charge of legal proceedings. Such cases usually involved minor problems, such as default on loans. Still, the most important matters were probably reported to the king or (Moses), who would then decide the case and the proper justice.
An interesting variation was that sometimes judgments were made by divine oracles rather than by human officials. For example, in Deir el-Medina the deified founder of the village was often asked to decide cases. While it is impossible to know exactly how this worked, we see that a document was made for both sides of the case, and put on either side of a street. Whichever side the god's image inclined towards was rendered the winner; again, some of the later Hebrew fables read very much the same way with slight variations on the theme. Also, specifically during the 21st Dynasty (1069-945 BC), law was given though the oracle of Amun. Documentation on prior cases were recorded and retained, and like our own modern legal systems, these court documents were used as precedent for later cases. Some of these documents remain, and are some of our best evidence of how the ancient Egyptian legal system functioned; as well as how later regional peoples also adapted the very same practices.
An example of such documentation is the record of the famous trial of the tomb robbers, recorded on the Leopold II - Amherst Papyrus. This document, now in the British Museum, records the robbery of tombs during the reigns of Ramesses IX and Ramesses XI. The thief Amenpanufer confesses before Ramesses IX that "We went to rob tombs in accordance with our regular habit, and found the pyramid tomb of King Sekhemreshedtawdy....". While the papyrus documents the thief's guilt, it does not provide the actual punishment. We also have the Salt Papyrus, which is a petition of the workman Amennakhte denouncing the crimes of the foreman Paneb, another papyrus that documents tomb robbery; as well as the scribal papyrus of Ipuwer which depicts many levels of basic daily labor and commerce, as well as extensive documentation in the form of lamentation which depict the plagues of Egypt as also paralleled with the Hebrew Torah, and subsequent military takeover by the Hyksos army.
Tomb robbery was considered to be one of the most heinous crimes. Of course, there are a number of other documented legal proceedings. From these, we know of the punishment in criminal proceedings. For example, from court documents at Deir el-Medina, we know that punishment for stolen or embezzled goods might be as simple as the return of the goods with a fine of twice their value; (Another Egyptian example we see shadowed throughout the Hebrew Torah). Simple corporal punishment could involve a hundred strokes of the cane and in more serious cases, 5 bleeding cuts added, or brands as a sign of permanent dishonor.
The Pharaoh himself might very well decide the most important criminal cases, or at other times he might appoint a special commission with full authority to pass judgment. Depending on the severity of the case, being exiled to Nubia or the Western Oasis or sent to labor in the distant mines or quarries was not uncommon. Some crimes were punished with mutilation consisting of cutting off a hand, tongue, nose or ears or stones in a pit; (Yet another example borrowed by the Talmudic Hebrews). In extreme cases, capital punishment was inflicted by implement on a stake, burning alive, drowning, decapitation or stoning. Because the guilty had violated Ma'at, it was also assumed the individual would suffer failure, poverty, sickness, blindness or deafness, with the final settlement waiting in the Court of the Dead. It should be noted that, while ancient Egyptian punishment is often seen as barbaric, there was some support of basic human rights. For example the pharaoh Bocchoris suppressed imprisonment or slavery for debt; (Unlike the Talmudic Hebrews who amazingly instituted slavery for this cause even after they themselves were rescued from such a thing).
Probably one of the most famous cases is that of the Eloquent Peasant (the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant), which examines a poor man's search for justice from high officials and the king himself. This particular story was widely told in the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2055-1650) and illustrates the point that even the problems of common peasants were considered important. Although males dominated the legal & religious systems in ancient Egypt; (which is a feature yet again adopted by the Talmudic Hebrews); Egyptian records indicate and differ in that females enjoyed considerable rights under the law; wherein Talmudic Hebrew law, women not so much. Upon an individual's death, property was often divided equally among both male and female children. Woman could own and bequeath property, file lawsuits, be witnesses in court and file for divorce; however as we see in all Talmudic Hebrew law, much of these rights had been omitted. Children and the poor had considerable legal rights, and even slaves were allowed to own property under certain circumstances. Prior to the 7th century BC most contracts and deeds were oral, but with the advent of the Demotic script, as given by their gods; all transactions were required to be written in great detail, these documents give us a better picture of their legal proceedings. A plaintiff was required to bring suit, and if the case was deemed to have validity; (something we modern enlightened people don’t even do); the defendant would be ordered to appear before the court. There were no legal advocates – (Lawyers!); so both parties would present their own arguments. While witnesses were sometimes called, the judge would usually rule on the grounds of documentary evidence and the testimony of each party; WOW! Novel idea!
The law code brought forward:
In many respects, the ancient Egyptian laws remain with us today. The Greek lawgiver Solon visited Egypt in the 6th century BC, studied their law and adapted many aspects of it into the legal system of Athens. During Egypt's Greek period, Egyptian law continued to influence the Greek legal system. When the Romans took Egypt, their legal system was heavily affected by both the Greeks and Egyptians; and today we implement many aspects of Talmudic and Roman law. Yes; something most people are completely unaware of is that most of American USC law is based in Talmudic law. Of course I realize that sounds insane; but articles on this very fact exist which were even recently written by our own chief justices.
Continuing with the Law Code of King Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating to ca. 1700 BC (short chronology). It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets. The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth) - as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man. (Sound familiar?) See Ex – 21:24
Nearly one-half of the Code deals with matters of contract, establishing for example the wages to be paid to an Ox driver, or Ox owner or a doctor – (Sound familiar?). Other provisions set the terms of a transaction, establishing the liability of shoddy house builder for example, or property that is damaged while left in the care of another – (All sounding familiar? – Exodus chap 21:28-36 ring a bell?). Approximately a third of the code addresses issues concerning household and family relationships such as inheritance, divorce, paternity and sexual behavior and cleanliness – (Sound familiar? See Lev-12/Lev-18:7-23/Lev-15:16-30/Duet 24). Only one provision appears to impose obligations on an official; this provision establishes that a judge who reaches an incorrect decision is to be fined and removed from the bench permanently - (Well; here’s one that Talmudic law seems to have over-looked. Lol) A handful of provisions address issues related to military service.
One nearly complete example of the Code survives today on a diorite stele in the shape of a huge index finger, approx. 7.5 ft. tall. The Code is inscribed in the Akadian language using cuneiform script carved into the stele which is on display in the Louvre, in Paris. King Hammurabi ruled for 42 years, 1792 to 1750 B.C.; in the preface to the law code he states: "Anu and Bel called me by name; Hammurabi! - The exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule in the land." Didn’t the reverend Jim Baker have a similar experience?
In 1901 Egyptologist Gustave Jéquier, then a member of an expedition headed by Jacques de Morgan, found the stele containing the Code of Hammurabi in what is now Khûzestân - Iran (ancient Susa, Elam), where it was taken as plunder by the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte in the 12th century B.C. It is currently on display at the Louvre, in Paris.
The Code of Hammurabi is one of several sets of laws in the Ancient Near East.
Other ancient laws include:
1. (2050 BC) The Code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur.
2. (1930 BC) The Laws of Eshnunna.
3. (1870 BC) The codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin.
Other more known law codes include; the various Babylonian 1 & 2 codes, the Hittite law code; the Assyrian law code, and of course the Mosaic Law code which is mostly Talmudic law and incorrectly identified as all being via Moses. These codes are gleaned from similar regional cultures from a relatively small geographical area; all sharing many similar attributes of language, some plagiarizing direct passages and at the very least complete ideas and language in which they rewrote to suit their needs. Only the original minimal law code given directly to Moses via the Eternal creator can be culled out of all previous law codes as being totally dissimilar in all respects.
Upon the realization of the original minimal instructions given to man; you will quickly notice that none of them are direct legal instructions or advice on how we are to live and treat our fellow brother; that is because the entire essence of the character of our Creator should already be known, and emulated within each of us; thus no further instruction would be necessary. Because what is the whole matter of Torah? Treat your fellow man as you would have them treat you! All else is commentary and smoke. The only people who need over 2 million laws hanging above their necks daily as we here in America have; are people who are inherently lawless; i.e. without Torah!
Stele (finger) of Hammurabi's code of laws.
On the side view of the stele (fingertip); The code has been seen as an early example of a fundamental law regulating a government — (i.e., a primitive form of what we may call a constitution) The law code is also one of the earliest examples of the idea of presumption of innocence; it also suggests that both the accused and accuser have the opportunity to provide evidence; (and in capital crime cases introduces the need of TWO Witness’s! – sound familiar?). The occasional nature of many provisions suggests that the Code may be better read as a codification of supplementary judicial decisions of the king. Rather than being a modern legal code or constitution, it may have as its purpose the self-glorification of Hammurabi by memorializing his wisdom and justice; (i.e. in the form of Ten or more main headings – sound familiar? See Ex-20). Its copying in subsequent generations indicates that it was used as a basic model of legal and judicial reasoning and presidents.
Here are nineteen example laws with the Code of Hammurabi. (Translated into English):
If anyone ensnares another, putting a ban upon him, but he cannot prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death. (Sound familiar?) See all of Ex-21; plenty of death there for everything under the sun.
If anyone brings an accusation against a man, and the accused goes to the river and leaps into the river, if he sinks in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river proves that the accused is not guilty, and he escapes 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 anyone finds runaway male or female slaves in the open country and brings them to their masters, the master of the slaves shall pay him two shekels of silver. – (Hauntingly familiar language) Ex-21:2-8 for starters.
If anyone brings an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if a capital offense is charged, be put to death.
If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then the builder shall be put to death. (Another variant of this is: If the owner's son dies, then the builder's son shall be put to death. – (Again; very familiar language).
If a son strikes his father, his hands shall be hewn off.
If a man gives his child to a nurse and the child dies in her hands, but the nurse, unbeknown to the father and mother, nurses 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 anyone steals the minor son of another, he will be put to death.
If a man takes a woman as a wife, but has no intercourse with her, this woman is no wife to him.
If a man strikes a free-born woman so that she loses her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss. (Again familiar) See Ex-21:22
If a man puts out the eye of a patrician, his eye shall be put out. – (Again familiar).
If a man knocks the teeth out of another man, his own teeth will be knocked out.
If anyone strikes the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox-whip in public.
If a freeborn man strikes the body of another freeborn man of equal rank, he shall pay one gold mina.
If the slave of a freed man strikes the body of a freed man, his ear shall be cut off.
If anyone commits a robbery and is caught, he shall be put to death.
If anyone opens his ditches to water his crop, but is careless, and the water floods his neighbor's field, he shall pay his neighbor corn for his loss. (Again familiar language).
If a judge tries a case, reaches a decision, and presents his judgment in writing; and later it is discovered that his decision was in error, and it was his own fault, he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case and be removed from the judge's bench...
There are 282 such laws in the Code of Hammurabi, each usually no more than a sentence or two. The 282 laws are bracketed by a Prologue in which Hammurabi introduces himself, and an Epilogue in which he sets forth his hopes and prayers for his code of laws.
Archeology has unearthed various copies of King Hammurabi’s law code on baked clay tablets, some even older than the diorite stele on display in the Louvre. The Prologue of the Code - the first 305 in- scripted squares on the stele is such a tablet. Some gaps in the list of benefits bestowed on cities recently annexed by Hammurabi imply that it is possibly older than the famous stele which is currently dated to the early 18th century BCE. Likewise, the Museum of the Ancient Orient; part of the Istanbul Archaeology Museums; also has a (Code of Hammurabi) clay tablet dated to 1750 BC. In July 2010, archaeologists reported that a fragmentary Akadian cuneiform tablet was discovered at (Tel Hazor, Israel), containing a 1700 BC text that is said to be parallel to portions of the Hammurabi code. The Tel Hazor law code fragments are currently being prepared for publication by a team from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
It really doesn’t take much effort or scholarship to identify that most of the later Talmudic law code of the Israelites was taken directly from this law code, as well as the later Egyptian law code. The question is not whether these laws or the later Talmudic laws are in fact fair or equitable; for the most part they all seem to be. The fact that we need to be aware of is that the later Talmudic Israelite law code was in fact man made, instituted by men, and absolutely not given by The Eternal Creator. This fact however does not preclude the very real fact that The Eternal Creator did in fact give man His own code of instruction to Moses; which in fact was nothing new; but a reiteration to Moses of His code which already preexisted Moses. It is also evident that when we finally come to grips with these identifiable facts; and find the original Torah/Instructional code as given to Moses; we also identify that The Eternal One’s Torah code does not exhibit or portray any of the character of these other more ancient man made law codes. What I see? Is not a law code given by a Holy God; but the necessity of a detailed law code required for a seriously reprobate multitude who did not have the absolute basics of humanity within them naturally; therefore need the sharp blade of man’s law hovering above their necks day and night!
After culling all later additions to His original minimal instruction which now resides in chapter 34 of Exodus we have: Note: Nowhere in Torah did He ever tell us there were 10 laws.
1 – You will not bow yourselves to an alien god; nor do anything that the pagans do.
2 – You will not make any graven image of anything.
3 – All first born are all separated possessions, both traveler and people from the tribes.
4 – 6 days you will work, and on the 7th day you will cease from your work.
5 – You will observe a festival of Shavuot – (weeks) – at the first gathering of wheat.
6 – You will observe also a festival at the final gathering in its annual time.
7 – Three times a year you will appear before me.
Dr. Asher Th.D ©2010
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