Homicide in the Biblical World
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Analyzing the treatment of homicide in the Hebrew Bible, this study demonstrates that it is directly linked to the social structure and religion of ancient Israel. Pamela Barmash reconstructs biblical law from both legal texts and narrative texts and analyzes the law collections and documents of actual legal cases from the ancient Near East.
reference in one place and a general reference in the other. So in Exod 20:24, it refers to a sacred place. But in Exod 23:20, it refers to the land of Israel. These references do not allow us to extrapolate a technical meaning for !wqm. If we turn to another biblical legal corpus of greater length, like Deuteronomy, !wqm is used to refer to cultic sites for both the central sanctuary chosen by God (Deut 12:5, 11, 14, 18, 21, 26; 14:23, 24, 25; 15:20; 16:2, 6, 7, 11, 15, 16; 17:8, 10; 18:6; 26:2;
original offense was wrong. The agent of harm becomes the recipient of the same action of the type that constituted the offense. It was a reversal of roles: The slayer became the slain. This concept applied to other offenses. Just as a thief, for example, has taken a particular type of animal away from its owner, so was that particular type of animal demanded from the thief. The offender suffers a loss in the same coinage. This is what lex talionis, “an eye for an eye,” signiﬁed. It was a
in which the cases ought to be understood. ` LE can illustrate the use of these principles vis-a-vis the statutes on unlawful death (LE 23–24, 47A, 54–58). LE 22–24 discuss the laws of distraint, a case in which a loan has fallen due and the creditor has distrained a person from the debtor’s household: 22 If a man had no claim against a free man yet distrained the man’s slave woman, the owner of the slave woman will swear by a god, “You have no claim upon me,” and he shall weigh out as much
against his brother and killed him. 9 The Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen, your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the soil. 11 Now, you are cursed from the soil, which has opened its mouth to take your brother’s blood from your hands. 12 When you till the soil, it will no longer yield its strength to you. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the
instigated Ipqatum’s murder was afﬁrmed. Cf. J. G. Lautner, Die richterliche Entscheidung und die Streitbeendigung im altbabylonisichen Prozessrechte (Leipziger rechtswissenschaftliche Studien 3; Leipzig: Theodor Weicher, 1922), 84. 87 Dhorme notes that the oaths taken are similar to one made by the person who has possession of disputed property averring that property is his, according to LH 9 (“M´elanges,” 105). However, there are signiﬁcant differences from LH 9: 1) The person claiming the