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Ancient legal tablet found at Tel Hazor

A legal tablet dating back to the 18th or 17th centuries BC has been uncovered at Tel Hazor in Northern Israel.

It is the first time a document resembling Hammurabi’s laws has been uncovered in Israel. The Code of Hammurabi constituted the most ancient and extensive legal codex in the ancient Near East. Some of the laws are similar to biblical laws, which are believed to have been inspired by the Code of Hammurabi.

“The document we have uncovered includes laws pertaining to body parts and damages. These laws are similar to laws in the Hammurabi Codex, as well as to laws along the lines of ‘an eye for an eye,’ mentioned in Exodus,” said Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology. Ben-Tor and Dr. Sharon Zuckerman are heading the team of archaeologists at Tel Hazor who made the find.

The document is written in Akkadian cuneiform, which was the diplomatic language of the period.

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