15.  LAWS BEFORE SINAI.

The existence of Laws in the book of Genesis and Exodus is evident, though there is no formal record of their delivery.  Cp. Ex. 18:16.

Doubtless some were made known to mankind, as such, by God, e.g. (1)  the Law of the Sabbath (Gen. 2:3).  (2)  The days noted in connection with the flood are all sabbaths except one, Gen. 8:5, Tuesday.  See note on gen. 8:10, 12, 14.  (3)  The law of the place to worship (Gen. 4:3, 4, 16).  (4)  The law of offerings (Gen. 4:4), &c.

But, side by side with these special Divine communications, the Babylonian laws were codified in the age of Abraham.

In A.D. 1901, the Code of Amraphel (Khammurabi), Gen. 14:1, was discovered in Susa by M. J. de Morgan.  The latest date for this code is 2139 B.C.

Eight hundred years before Moses, these laws governed the peoples from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea, and from Persia to the Mediterranean, and were in force throughout Canaan.

This discovery overthrew the two main pillars of the "higher critics", one of which was that such writing was unknown before Moses; the other, that a legal code was impossible before the Jewish kings.

Hence, we have now before us both codes; and are in a position to answer Jehovah's question in Deut. 4:8, "What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?"

Khammurabi calls his laws the "judgments of righteousness", but some of them, at least, are both unrighteous and unequal, as the following brief contrast shows at a glance :--
 

Offense. Punishment by Jehovah's Law. Punishment by Khammurabi's Law.
Stealing. Restoring double (Ex. 22:9). Death ( 4).
Burglary. Restoring double (Ex. 22:7). Death ( 21).
Harboring a fugitive slave. No offense (Deut. 23:15). Death ( 16).
Injuring a slave. Freedom given to slave. Master compensated ( 199).
Injuring a rich man. Same injury inflicted on injurer. Same injury inflicted on injurer ( 196, 197).
Injuring a poor man. Same injury inflicted (Ex. 21:23-25). Fine of one mina of silver ( 198).
Injury followed by death to a rich man's daughter. Each case judged on its own merits. Death of injurer's daughter ( 209).
Injury followed by death to a poor man's daughter. Each case judged on its own merits. Fine of 5 shekels of silver ( 211, 213).

We see the laws of Khammurabi operating in Genesis in the following instances :--

1.  The law of adoption made Eliezer Abram's heir (Gen. 15).  191.

2.  The giving of Hagar to Abraham (Gen. 16); and of Bilhah (Gen. 30:4) and Zilpah (Gen. 30:9) to Jacob, accorded with this code.  146.

3.  The purchase of Machpelah by Abraham (Gen. 23) was conducted in strict conformity with its commercial enactments.  7.

4.  The taking of life for stealing, proposed by Jacob to Laban (Gen. 31:32), was enacted by this code, which punished sacrilege with death.  6.

5.  The taking of life by burning, with which Judah threatened his daughter-in-law Tamar (Gen. 38:24), is also according to the Babylonian code.  110.

6.  The proposal of Joseph's steward, that the one with whom the cup was found should die (Gen. 44:9), harmonized with the law punishing with death any theft from a palace.  6.

7.  The giving of a special portion by Jacob to his favorite son Joseph (Gen. 48:22) was provided for by this code.  165.

8.  The cutting off of Reuben from his birthright (Gen. 49:4) was the prescribed way of punishing his offense according to Khammurabi's law.  158.

9.  The inability of Abram to see Hagar (Gen. 16:6).  119.

The following is a list of thirty-four laws seen in force in Genesis, given by Jehovah, and subsequently confirmed in the Mosaic code :--

The law of the sabbath (Gen. 2:3).  Ex. 16:23; 20:10; 31:13-17.  Deut. 5:14.

The law of the place to worship (Gen. 3:24; 4:3, 4, 16; 9:26, 27).  Ex. 25:8.  Deut. 12:5-7.  Lev. 17:3, 4.

The law of the acceptance of sacrifice by fire from heaven (Gen. 4:4, 5).  Cp. strange fire, Ex. 30:9.  Lev. 6:9; 10:1.

The law of sacrifices (Gen. 4:4; 15:9; 22:2, 13).  Ex. 29:36.  Lev. 1:2-5.

The law of clean and unclean (Gen. 7:2; 8:20).  Lev. 11.  Deut. 14:3-20.

The law of the altar (Gen. 8:20; 12:7, 8; 13:4, 18; 22:9; 26:25).  Ex. 20:24.

The law of eating flesh (Gen. 9:3).  Deut. 12:20.

The law against eating blood (Gen. 9:4).  Lev. 7:26; 17:10-14.

The law against murder (Gen. 9:5, 6).  Ex. 20:13.  Deut. 5:17.

The law of parental authority (Gen. 9:25; 18:19; 22; 37:13).  Ex. 20:12.  Lev. 19:3.  Deut. 5:16.

The law of monogamy (Gen. 12:18; 16:1).  Deut. 24:1, 2.

The law against adultery (Gen. 12:18; 20:3, 9; 26:10, 11; 38; 39:9; 49:4).  Lev. 20:10.

The law as to (1) priesthood (Gen. 14:18).  Ex. 28:1.  (2) priestly garments (Gen. 27:15; 37:3).  Ex. 28:4.

The law of tithes (Gen. 14:20; 28:22).  Lev. 27:30-32.

The law as to covenant-making (Gen. 15:10, 18; 21:27, 32).  Ex. 34:27; 19:5.

The law of intercession (Gen. 17; 18; 20:17; 24.)

The law of righteousness (Gen. 17:1).  Deut. 18:13.

The law of circumcision (Gen. 17:9, 10).  Lev. 12:3.

The law of hospitality (Gen. 18).  Lev. 19:33, 34.  Deut. 10:18, 19.

The law against licentiousness (Gen. 18:20).  Lev. 18.

The law against fornication (Gen. 34:7).

The law as to oaths (Gen. 21:23; 24:41; 26:28).  Ex. 22:11.  Num. 5:19.

The law of binding sacrifices (Gen. 22:9).  Ps. 118:27.

The law of birthright (Gen. 25:33).  Deut. 21:16, 17.

The law of anointing with oil (Gen. 28:18; 31:13).  Ex. 40:15.

The obligation of vows (Gen. 28:20-22; 31:13).  Deut. 23:21.  Num. 30:2.

The law against idolatry (implied in the word "dominion", Gen. 1:26; 31:32, 35).  Ex. 20:3-6.  Deut. 5:7-10.

The law of uncleanness (Gen. 31:35).  Lev. 15.

The law against marriage between circumcised and uncircumcised (Gen. 34:14).  Deut. 7:3.

The law of ceremonial cleansing for worship (Gen. 35:2).  Ex. 19:10.

The law of drink offerings (Gen. 35:14).  Ex. 29:40.  Lev. 23:18.

The law of marrying the brother's widow (Gen. 38:8).  Deut. 25:5-10.

The law of preaching (2Pet. 2:5).  Lev. 10:11.  Deut. 33:10.

The law of dowry (Gen. 34:12).  Ex. 22:16.

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