Hammurabi was a Babylonian king who reigned in the 18th century BC. His code of law was discovered by French archaeologists in 1901-2.
Among the 300-odd laws are many that are similar to those of the Mosaic law. For example, some of the laws deal with the concept of ‘an eye for an eye’, and these are quite closely parallel to those contained in the so-called ‘book of the covenant’ (Exodus 21-23).
The following examples are cited by Peter Enns (Inspiration and Incarnation):-
[ezcol_1half]If a son has struck his father, they shall cut off his hand. If a nobleman has put out the eye of another nobleman, they shall put out his eye. If he has broken another nobleman’s bone, they shall break his bone. (Code of Hammurabi 195–97)[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Exodus 21:23–25)[/ezcol_1half_end]
[ezcol_1half]If he has put out the eye of a commoner or broken the bone of a commoner, he shall pay one silver mina. If he has put out the eye of a nobleman’s slave or broken the bone of a nobleman’s slave, he shall pay one-half of its value. If a nobleman has knocked out the tooth of his equal, they shall knock out his tooth. If he has knocked out the tooth of a commoner, he shall pay one-third of a silver mina. (Code of Hammurabi 198–201)[/ezcol_1half][ezcol_1half_end]If a man hits a manservant or maidservant in the eye and destroys it, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the eye. And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth. (Exodus 21:26–27)[/ezcol_1half_end]
[ezcol_1half]If a nobleman has struck another nobleman’s daughter and has caused her to have a miscarriage, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for her fetus. (Code of Hammurabi 209)[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. (Exodus 21:22)[/ezcol_1half_end]
According to Peter Enns, the ‘problem’ for a doctrine of biblical inspiration is twofold: the law of Hammurabi predates the law of Moses by several centuries, and the latter is said to have been revealed directly by God on Mount Sinai. Orthodoxy’s response would be, I think, to invoke the doctrine of ‘common grace’.