Are you willingness to give your eye to someone if you cause that one losing his eye? For present day, if you commit that criminal act, you would be punished to be in the prison or otherwise, as accepted by the sufferers, you could substitute that to money compensation instead of taking your eye out to give that one back as the principle of justice. But if you were in the time of the Babylon king Hammurabi, you would not be able to do so because they perceived justice strikingly difference from today codes and criminal procedures, however those laws is founded in today use was also the outcome from the invention of Hammurabi regulations. One phrase in the code mentioned that “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”. It sounds like justice was defined in way of barter economic which has no median of exchange. And, this is the problem whether the code had contributed the real justice for peaceful Babylon empire or just a seriously revenge to make the society into more trouble.
II. The Hammurabi Code
The Hammurabi codes, the talion laws, were found in the old Babylon nation around 1727 BCE and 1680 BCE, and were well known as the codes of Hammurabi because the creator was the King Hammurabi himself once he was believed as the hero to bring the absolute principle of justice to the region and made the society in a good order by protecting the low power citizen from brutalized practice by the high powerful people. It might also surprise you because the code order doesn’t contain the 13th article as it was considered as an unlucky number in history of Babylon, and this perception had been also continued to perceive for almost European countries in present day. The laws were comprised of 282 types of punishment which is classified into sections such as the criminality, consumer protection, and the responsibility of leaders and government to the citizens.
III. The quote “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”
The term of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” coincides the meaning that if you make someone suffered by mean of your commitment or unintentional act, you will get suffered from punishment as like the way you used to suffer that person. The meaning of this code doesn’t apply to other substitute punishments as the present day law enforced because whatever people acted at that time would be reflected them back like the barter economic which has no median of exchange. For instance, if you kill someone, you are to return your life back to them later by the capital punishment. That is what we call retaliation one life equal to one life, one hand equal to one hand and one eye equal to one eye.
The invention of these rules has offered many benefits to the society such as the favorable ground to the present day law, providing value of justice, make society in a well order, and showing the achievement of the king himself. First, if we observed in the law adopted and being used in nowadays court, we will know that most of the concepts are extracted from the code of Hammurabi. Without these code there would be no one could think of the punishments to organize the society, because the people at that time tent to attack each other for self-interest, so that when the codes came into be existed, then the number of criminal acts and other related immoral performances became decrease as well. Second, the law also gave respect to the principle of justice. It means that justice is high appreciated and considered as the most important factor to the Babylon society as a whole. No one could breach of contract or fail to return their promises as they are required to obey the rule and justice to other party. Third, the code itself has determined a well social order to the citizen so that they would not be scared by the powerful to threaten them and take advantages from the poor or trick them for a business prospect.
Even the code had contributed many advantages to the society but the drawbacks would also be occurred in such a way that the both parties are suffered together and sometime it turned to be more injustice than ever thought. First, it seems evidence that there is no benefit to both side of the parties because what they gained from the punishment is together suffering as one of the famous influential politician Mahatma Ghandi stated that “An eye for an eye leave the world blind”. In this term, he wants to convey the meaning that absolute revenge will not benefit the most to the whole society rather making trouble and cause serious disruptions because everyone will get suffer not one side of the party but the both sides. Is that the positive result of the code of Hammurabi leave for the Babylon citizen? But I think that would not be the real justice being provided to them; on the contrary, it is rather served as a political mean to attack the other low power or opposition enemy. For instance, the government would create a case to excuse the people who don’t obey their orders as a capital punishment. That’s why there seems to be not a genuine justice at all. Another reason that rise against this code is the objective of punishment as sometime doesn’t give justice but rather injustice. For instance, if one person raped the other person’s wife, then did they have to give back his wife to be raped by the person whose his wife was raped? In this case, the suffered person is not the both men but their wives actually. So, it was sure that the code did not guarantee a hundred percent justice to the citizen. The last reason will be addressed between the case of slave and master. This would not a good reason to punish only the same level of case at that time because they can substitute as gold coins once the master or the boss caused a serious injury to his own slaves and then they needed not to be injured by mean of the boss did to his slave. In this context, it is obvious that justices are behind the science of the Hammurabi code.
After viewing both ideas of the Hammurabi code, in my own perspective, the positive points would exceed negative effects. Actually, in order to organize a group or society, there has to be an effective law cover on all aspects of immoral performance. Similarity, in the Hammurabi code, punishments are created to enforce and alleviate those illegal acts, too cruel in some cases but making and keeping a good society. Moreover, it is better than nothing because if there were no such codes for controlling the Babylon empire at that time, it would be hard to give peace or people would fight against each other and soon they would lost their own empire to the invaders as it lost the internal coherence.
In summary, the codes of Hammurabi has contributed many advantages and disadvantages to our past and present society such essential factors are found in many basis like a good condition to moderate today law and regulation, thereflection to the core value mean of justice, organize the social order and gave the discipline to the army and soldiers, and represented as the famous achievement of the king Hammurabi himself. There are also some negative factors are detected such as the suffering of people classes between master and slave, the serious punishment which resulted in both suffer like the case had been mentioned above in term of rape.
After all, in response to this explanation, I would recommend that the codes should not take too cruel retaliation back in that way because the intention of people is good and just because of poor living which leaded them to commit other immoral acts, so if they got enough food, settlers, and money, they would not choose to harm other at all. That’s why the government or leader should impose laws in purpose of making or guiding those people backward, than leaving those with sorrow or take equally revenge from what they had done. Sometime the court could not determine the really justice by mean of those regulation procedures, for instance, now they got liable to punishment but later on if the court has found other useful evidence and finally admitted that that one is innocent. So, is there any possible way to recover that death man back to live? Moreover, if those people could be substituted to serve the society such as farming or working in the prison, then it will more useful than kill or seriously punish them.
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