N.S. Gill at About.com some time ago featured the Code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest legal codes.
See Hammurabi’s Code of Laws in the translation by L.W. King.
As written at the Library of Congress in the Country Study of Iraq:
“The Amorites established cities on the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers and made Babylon, a town to the north, their capital. During the time of their sixth ruler, who was King Hammurabi (1792-1750 B.C.)
[LawPundit: that date is false – in our opinion – by at least 400 years, as Hammurabi is – in our opinion – Abraham spelled backwards, and actually lived 400 or more years previous as Sargon I, the first Semitic monarch – we quote the Catholic Encyclopedia: ” it arises, for instance, that Hammurabi’s date is given as 1772-17 in Hasting’s “Dictionary of the Bible“, while the majority of scholars would place him about 2100 B.C., or a little earlier; nor are indications wanting to show that, whether the “Unknown Dynasty” be fictitious or not, the latter date is approximately right.“],
Babylonian rule encompassed a huge area covering most of the Tigris-Euphrates river valley from Sumer and the Persian Gulf in the south to Assyria in the north. To rule over such a large area, Hammurabi devised an elaborate administrative structure. His greatest achievement, however, was the issuance of a law code designed “to cause justice to prevail in the country, to destroy the wicked and the evil, that the strong may not oppress the weak.” The Code of Hammurabi, not the earliest to appear in the Near East but certainly the most complete, dealt with land tenure, rent, the position of women, marriage, divorce, inheritance, contracts, control of public order, administration of justice, wages, and labor conditions.
In Hammurabi’s legal code, the civilizing trend begun at Sumer had evolved to a new level of complexity. The sophisticated legal principles contained in the code reflect a highly advanced civilization in which social interaction extended far beyond the confines of kinship. The large number of laws pertaining to commerce reflect a diversified economic base and an extensive trading network. In politics, Hammurabi’s code is evidence of a more pronounced separation between religious and secular authority than had existed in ancient Sumer.” [links added by LawPundit]
As written at the Wikipedia:
The laws are numbered from 1 to 282 (numbers 13 and 66-99 are missing) and are inscribed in Old Babylonian cuneiform script on the eight-foot tall stela. It was discovered in December 1901 in Susa, Elam, which is now Khuzestan, Iran, where it had been taken as plunder by the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte in the 12th century BC. It is currently on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
It is possible – very speculatively – in our view, that the above numbers are not missing by chance, but rather that the laws were given a calendric order (our discovery) and that the numbers are missing by design:
12 (laws 1-12, 13 missing) = The 12 months of the year
52 (laws 14-65, 66-69 missing) = The 52 weeks of the year (7 days in a week x 52 = 364)
182 viz. 183 (laws 100-282) = Half the year 2 x 182 = 364 or 2 x 183 = 366
In other words, the laws were perhaps organized according to the same basic calendric system as used in ancient Egypt where psalms were read each day by the priests and marked by the ushebtis (see at that link Funerary Figurines including Shabti, Shawabti and Ushabti for the connection to astronomy). As we have written at LexiLine:
“The Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran indicate that the Biblical tales go far back in time, having Akkadian comparables. This dates the psalms back to 2000 BC at least.
Interesting is that the Dead Sea Scrolls show clearly that each day of the year had a specific psalm
which had to be read on that day by the priest(s).
This “year” of psalms corresponded to the Egyptian and Sumerian year of 360 viz. 365 days but not to the lunar year of the Canaanites. These Psalms come from the solar calendar of Indo-Europeans.
It is also quite clear [so our opinion] that the Psalms relate to the heavens (of astronomy) and there are references to the stars in them.
As seen in the Tomb of Tutankhamun, there were 365 Ushebtis [holy ones] (wooden figures with one psalm on each Ushebti, for each day of the year).
There were also 36 extra Ushebtis (for the 36 night stations of the Moon) and in the case of Tutankhamun there were even 12 more Ushebtis (who represented the 12 houses of heaven).
When the Egyptologists correctly read the hieroglyphs on the Ushebtis it will be clear that the Biblical Psalms derive from them.“