(The Code of Hammurabi, the earliest known Code, consists of 282 sections, certain selections from which follow.)

1. If a man weaves a spell about another man (i. e. accuses him) and throws a curse on him, and cannot prove it, the one who wove the spell shall be put to death.

2. If a man weaves a spell about another man, and has not proved it, he on whom suspicion was thrown shall go to the river, shall plunge into the river. If the river seizes hold of him, he who wove the spell shall take his house. If the river shows him to be innocent, and he is uninjured, he who threw suspicion on him shall be put to death. He who plunged into the river shall take the house of him who wove the spell on him.

3. If a man has accused the witnesses in a lawsuit of malice and has not proved what he said, if the suit was one of life (and death), that man shall be put to death.

4. If he has sent corn and silver to the witnesses, he shall bear the penalty of the suit.

5. If a judge has delivered a sentence, has made a decision and fixed it in writing, and if afterwards he has annulled his sentence, that judge for having altered his decision shall be brought to judgment; for the penalty inflicted in his decision, twelve-fold shall he pay it, and publicly shall they remove him from his judgment seat. He shall not come back and shall not sit in judgment with the other judges.

6. If a man has stolen property from the god or palace, that man shall be put to death.

7. If a man has bout or received in deposit, silver, gold, a man or woman slave, an ox, a sheep, an ass, or whatever it may be, from the hands of a son of another or a slave or another, without witness or contract, that man shall be put to death as a thief.

8. If anyone has stolen an ox, a sheep, an ass, a pig, or a boat, if it belongs to the god or to the palace, he shall return it thirty-fold; if it belongs to a noble he shall return it ten-fold; if the thief has nothing with which to repay, he shall be put to death.

9. If anyone who has lost something, finds his something that was lost in the hand (possession) of another; if the man in whose hand the lost object was found says: "A trader sold it to me, before witnesses I paid for it," and if the owner of the lost object says: "Witnesses who know my lost object I will bring," then shall the purchaser bring the seller who sold it to him, and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner of the lost object shall bring witnesses who know his lost goods; the judge shall consider their words, and the witnesses before whom the purchase was made, and the witnesses who know the object shall bear testimony before God. The seller is a thief and shall be put to death. The owner of the lost object shall get back the money he paid from the house of the seller.

10. If the buyer does not bring the seller who sold it to him and the witnesses before whom he bought it; if the owner of the lost object brings the witnesses who know his object, the buyer is a thief and shall be killed; the owner shall get his lost object.

11. If the owner of the lost object does not bring his expert witnesses, then he is a miscreant; he has accused falsely, he shall die.

12. If the seller has gone to his fate, the buyer shall receive from the house of the seller five times the costs of the suit.

13. If that man has not his witnesses at hand, the judge shall give him a respite of six months. If in six months his witnesses do not come, that man is a miscreant and shall bear the costs of the suit.

14. If anyone steals the minor son of a man, he shall be put to death.

15. If anyone has caused a male slave of the palace or a female slave of the palace, the male slave of a noble or the female slave of a noble, to go out of the gate, he shall be put to death.

16. If anyone harbours in his house a runaway male or female slave from the palace or the house of a noble, and does not bring them out at the command of the majordomo, the master of the house shall be put to death.

17. If anyone has caught a runaway male or female slave in the field, and brings him back to his master, the master of the slave shall give him two shekels of silver.

18. If that slave will not name his owner, to the palace he shall bring him; his case shall be investigated; to his owner one shall bring him.

19. If he retains that slave in his house, and if, later, the slave is found in his hands, that man shall be put to death.

20. If the slave escapes from the house of the one who caught him, that man shall swear to the owner of the slave in the name of God and he shall be quit.

21. If anyone has broken a hole in a house, in front of that hole one shall kill him and bury him.

22. If anyone has committed a robbery and is caught, he shall be killed.

23. If the robber is not caught, the man who has been robbed shall make claim before God to everything stolen from him, and the town and its governor within the territory and limits of which the robbery took place shall give back to him everything he has lost.

24. If it was a life, the city and governor shall pay one mina of silver to his people.

25. If a fire breaks out in the house of a man, and some one who has gone thither to put it out raise his eyes to the goods of the master of the house and take the goods of the master of the house, that man shall be thrown into that fire.

42. If anyone has taken a field to cultivate, and has not made grain to grow in the field, he shall be charged with not having done his duty in the field; he shall give grain equal to that yielded by the neighboring field to the owner of the field.

43. If he has not tilled the field, has let it lie, he shall give to the owner of the field grain equal to the yield of the neighbouring field; and the field which he left untilled, he shall harrow, sow, and return to its owner.

44. If any one has hired an unreclaimed field for three years, to open (cultivate) it, but has neglected it, has not opened the field, in the fourth year he shall harrow the field, hoe it, and plant it and return it to the owner of the field, and 10 Gur of grain for every 10 Gan he shall measure out.