Source: Hallo, W.H.
The Context of Scripture: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World,
The Laws of Hammurabi—A Sampling of Laws Relating to
By the beginning of the second millennium, Amorite and other nomadic population groups integrated
into Mesopotamian urban political and social life.
The Amorite Sumu-abum (ca. 1894–1881 BCE) settled
in Babylon, in the wasp-waist center of Mesopotamia, at the time that the rival cities of Isin and Larsa were
struggling for dominance in the south.
He and his successors for 100 years stayed focused largely on their
immediate geographical area, engaging in local political and military consolidation, fortifi
cation and temple
building projects, canal maintenance, and some military actions.
By the time the 6th ruler of this dynasty,
hammurabi (ca. 1792–1750 BCE), came to the throne, he found himself circumscribed by the rising powers
of Larsa to the south, the Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia to the north, Mari to the west, and Eshnunna
and Elam to the east.
In his fi
rst years, Hammurabi, like his predecessors, remained involved in building
projects in Babylon itself, but then turned outward and began military forays into other territories; by his
32nd regnal year, he had decisively defeated all the rivals mentioned.
As “King of Sumer and Akkad,” Ham-
murabi now had the luxury of turning his attention again to domestic programs, largely neglected during
the years of military efforts.
It is at this point that the law collection inscribed on the monumental stelae
was compiled and publicized in multiple copies placed in major cities of his realm, fulfi
repeated claims of a just and righteous rule.
In all this, Hammurabi and his law collection stand fi
rmly in the