HAMMURABI’S CODE OF LAWS (adapted from the L.W. King translation)

1. If any one accuses another of murder but cannot prove it, then the accuser shall be put to death.

2. If anyone accuses someone else of sorcery, the accused shall leap into the river, and if s/he drowns the accuser shall take possession of the accused's house and belongings. However, if the accused reaches the shore unharmed and the river thus proves that the accused is innocent of the charges, then the accuser shall be put to death, while the one who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house and belongings of the accuser.

3. If any one brings an accusation that involves a capital murder charge and does not prove what he has charged, the accuser shall be put to death.

5. If a judge tries a case, reaches a decision, and presents his judgment in writing but later an error is found that is the judge’s own fault, then the judge must pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case; in addition, he shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, never again to sit on the bench nor render judgment.

6. If anyone steals anything from the temple or the court, he will be put to death, and also the one who has received the stolen goods will be put to death.

7. If anyone buys from the son or the slave of another silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass or anything, (without witnesses or a contract)... or if he agrees to take charge of stolen property, he is considered a thief and shall be put to death.

21. If anyone breaks into a house to steal, he will be put to death before that point of entry and be buried there (walled into the house).

22. If anyone is caught while committing a robbery, then s/he shall be put to death.

23. If the robber is not caught, then shall the one who was robbed claim under oath the amount of his loss; then shall the community on whose ground and territory and in whose domain the robbery occured compensate him for the goods stolen.

25. If fire breaks out in a house, and someone who comes to help put it out casts his eye upon the property of the owner of the house and then steals the property of the master of the house (looting), he shall be thrown into that self-same fire.

27. 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 returns, his field and garden shall be returned to him, and he shall take it over again.

30. 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.

31. If he hire it out for one year and then return, the house, garden, and field shall be given back to him, and he shall take it over again.

48. If anyone owes a debt for a loan, and a storm wipes out the grain, or the harvest fails, or the grain does not grow for lack of water; in that year he need not give his creditor any grain in payment, he washes his debt-tablet in water and pays no rent for this year.

53. If any one be too lazy to keep his dam in proper condition, and if the dam then breaks and all the fields get flooded, then whoever let the dam break shall be sold for money (enslaved), and the money shall replace the crops which he has caused to be ruined.

108. If a woman wineseller/tavern-keeper (feminine) does not accept grain according to gross weight in payment of drink, but takes money so that the price of the drink is less than that of the grain, she shall be convicted and thrown into the water.

109. If outlaws meet in the tavern and are not captured and delivered to the court/palace, the female tavern-keeper shall be put to death.

110. If a holy woman opens a tavern door or enters a tavern for a drink, she shall be burned to death.

117. If anyone fails to repay a 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 free.

119. If anyone fails to repay a debt and thus settles the debt by sellinga 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.

127. If any one "point the finger" at (slanders or accuses of adultery) a holy woman or someone else’s wife but cannot prove it, this man shall be taken before the judges and his brow shall be marked (by cutting the skin, or perhaps cutting off half his hair.)

128. If a man takes a woman to wife, but has no intercourse with her or does not draw up a marriage contract, this woman is no wife to him.

129. If a man's wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto/having sex) with another man, both shall be tied together and thrown into the water, but if the husband wishes to pardon his wife, then the king may also pardon the man, but otherwise, the king has no power to free them.

130. If a man violates the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of another man, who is still a virgin living in her father's house, and gets caught in the act, this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless.

131. If a man bring a charge against one's wife, but she is not actually caught with the other man, she must take an oath and then may return to her house.

132. If the "finger is pointed" at a man's wife about another man (if she is accused of adultery), but she is not caught sleeping with the other man, she shall jump into the river for her husband’s sake.

133. If a man is taken prisoner in war, and there is enough sustenance in his house, but his wife does leave and go to another house, because this wife did not keep her vows, she shall be judicially condemned and thrown into the water.

134. If any one is captured in war and there is not sustenance in his house, if then his wife goes to another house this woman shall be held blameless.

135. If a man is taken prisoner in war and there be no sustenance in his house and his wife goes to another house and bear children; and if later her husband returns home, then this wife shall return to her husband, but the children must stay with their father.

137. If a man wishes 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 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.

138. If a man wishes to separate from his wife who has borne him no children, he shall give her the amount of her purchase money and the dowry which she brought from her father's house, and let her go.

141. If a man's wife, who lives in his house, wishes to leave to engage in business, plunging them into debt, trying to ruin her house, and neglecting her husband, and is judicially convicted, if her husband wants a divorce, 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 instead chooses to take another wife, the first wife shall remain as servant in her husband's house.

142. 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.

143. If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house, neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water.

144. If a man takes a wife and this wife gives her husband a maid-servant for the purpose of bearing children, which she is herself unable to provide, and the maidservant then bears him children, but this man wishes to take another wife, this shall not be permitted; he shall not be allowed to take a second wife.

145. If a man takes a wife, and she bears him no children, and he intends to take another wife: if he takes this second wife, and brings her into the house, this second wife shall not be allowed equality with his first wife.

146. If a man takes a wife and she gives this man a maid-servant as a childbearer and the maid-servant does bear him children, then this maid assumes 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.

147. If she has not borne him children, then her mistress may sell her for money.

148. If a man takes a wife, and she is seized by disease, if he then desires 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.

149. If this woman does not wish to remain in her husband's house, then he shall compensate her for the dowry that she brought with her from her father's house, and she may go.

153. If the wife of one man on account of another man has the spouses or her husband murdered, both of the wife and her lover shall be impaled on stakes.

154. If a man is guilty of incest with his daughter, he shall leave the city (exiled).

156. If a man betroths (contracts for marriage) a girl to his son, but his son has not had sex with her, and if then the father who has made the legal arrangements then does defile her by having sex with her himself, 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.

157. If any one be guilty of incest with his mother after his father dies, both shall be burned.

192. If an adopted son says 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.

194. If a man gives his child to a nurse and the child dies in her hands, but the nurse unbeknownst to the father and mother has been nursing 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.

195. If a son strikes his father, his hands shall be cut off.

196. If a man put out the eye of a nobleman (amelu), his eye shall be put out. [An eye for an eye ]

197. If he breaks a nobleman's (amelu) bone, his bone shall be broken.

198. If he puts out the eye of a freed man, or breaks the bone of a freed man, he shall pay one gold mina.

199. If he puts out the eye of a man's slave, or breaks the bone of a man's slave, he shall pay one-half of its value.

200. If a man knocks out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out. [tooth for a tooth]

201. If he knocks out the teeth of a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a gold mina.

202. If any one strikes the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox-whip in public.

206. If during a quarrel one man strikes another and wound him, then he shall swear, "I did not injure him on purpose," and pay the physicians.

207. If the man dies of his wound, he shall swear similarly, and if he (the deceased) was a free-born man, he shall pay half a mina in money.

209. If a man strikes a free-born woman so that she loses her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss.

210. If the woman dies, his daughter shall be put to death.

211. If a woman of the free class loses her child by a blow, he shall pay five shekels in money.

212. If this woman dies, he shall pay half a mina.

213. If he strikes the maid-servant of a man, and she loses her child, he shall pay two shekels in money.

214. If this maid-servant dies, he shall pay one-third of a mina.

215. If a physician performs eye surgery and saves the eye, he shall receive ten shekels in money.

216. If the patient be a freed man, he receives five shekels.

217. If he be the slave of some one, his owner shall give the physician two shekels.

218. If a physician performs an operation and kills someone or cuts out his eye, the doctor’s hands shall be cut off.

219. If a physician performs an operation on the slave of a freed man and kills him, the doctor shall replace the slave with another slave.

226. If a barber cuts off the marking of a slave without the knowledge of his master, the hands of this barber shall be cut off.

227. If anyone deceive a barber, and have him mark a slave not for sale with the sign of a slave, the deceiver shall be put to death, and buried in his house. The barber shall swear: "I did not mark him wittingly," and shall be guiltless.

229 If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.

230. If it kills the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put to death.

232. If it ruins 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 means, that is at his own expense.

282. If a slave says to his master: "You are not my master," if they convict him his master shall cut off his ear.