26. If a chieftain or a man, who has been ordered to go upon the king’s highway [for war] does not go, but hires a mercenary, if he withholds the compensation, then shall this officer or man be put to death, and he who represented him shall take possession of his house.
Continuing The Code of Hammurabi.
The Code was chiseled on an oblisk by Hammurabi. The Code is presented in twelve easy 5 minute installments. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages.
Previously in The Code of Hammurabi.
Time: 1754 BC
26. If a chieftain or a man [common soldier], who has been ordered to go upon the king’s highway [for war] does not go, but hires a mercenary, if he withholds the compensation, then shall this officer or man be put to death, and he who represented him shall take possession of his house.
27. If a chieftain or man be caught in the misfortune of the king [captured in battle], and if his fields and garden be given to another and he take possession, if he return and reaches his place, his field and garden shall be returned to him, he shall take it over again.
28. If a chieftain or a man be caught in the misfortune of a king, if his son is able to enter into possession, then the field and garden shall be given to him, he shall take over the fee of his father.
29. If his son is still young, and cannot take possession, a third of the field and garden shall be given to his mother, and she shall bring him up.
30. If a chieftain or a man leave his house, garden and field and hires it out, and some one else takes possession of his house, garden and field and uses it for three years: if the first owner return and claims his house, garden and field, it shall not be given to him, but he who has taken possession of it and used it shall continue to use it.
31. If he hire it out for one year and then return, the house, garden and field shall be given back to him, and he shall take it over again.
32. If a chieftain or a man is captured on the “Way of the King” [in war], and a merchant buy him free, and bring him back to his place; if he have the means in his house to buy his freedom, he shall buy himself free: if he have nothing in his house with which to buy himself free, he shall be bought free by the temple of his community; if there be nothing in the temple with which to buy him free, the court shall buy his freedom. His field, garden and house shall not be given for the purchase of his freedom.
33. If a … or a … [from the connection, some man higher in rank than a chieftain] enter himself as withdrawn from the “Way of the King,” and send a mercenary as substitute, but withdraw him, then the … or … shall be put to death.
34. If a … [same as in 33] or a … harm the property of a captain, injure the captain, or take away from the captain a gift presented to him by the king then the … or … shall be put to death.
35. If any one buy the cattle or sheep which the king has given to chieftains from him he loses his money.
35. The field, garden and house of a chieftain, of a man, or of one subject to quit-rent, cannot be sold.
37. If any one buy the field, garden and house of a chieftain, man or one subject to quit-rent, his contract tablet of sale shall be broken [declared invalid] and he loses his money. The field, garden and house return to their owners.
38. A chieftain, man or one subject to quit-rent cannot assign his tenure of field, house and garden to his wife or daughter, nor can he assign it for a debt.
39. He may, however, assign a field, garden or house which he has bought, and holds as property, to his wife or daughter or give it for debt.
40. He may sell field, garden and house to a merchant [royal agents] or to any other public official, the buyer holding field, house and garden for its usufruct.
41. If any one fence in the field, garden and house of a chieftain, man or one subject to quit-rent, furnishing the palings therefor; if the chieftain, man or one subject to quit-rent return to field, garden and house, the palings which were given to him become his property.
42. If any one take over a field to till it, and obtain no harvest therefrom, it must be proved that he did no work on the field, and he must deliver grain, just as his neighbor raised, to the owner of the field.
43. If he do not till the field, but let it lie fallow, he shall give grain like his neighbor’s to the owner of the field, and the field which he let lie fallow he must plow and sow and return to its owner.
44. If any one take over a waste-lying field to make it arable, but is lazy, and does not make it arable, he shall plow the fallow field in the fourth year, harrow it and till it, and give it back to its owner and for each ten _gan_ [a measure of area] ten _gur_ [dry measure] of grain shall be paid.
45. If a man rent his field for tillage for a fixed rental, and receive the rent of his field, but bad weather come and destroy the harvest, the injury falls upon the tiller of the soil.
46. If he do not receive a fixed rental for his field, but lets it on half or third shares of the harvest, the grain on the field shall be divided proportionately between the tiller and the owner.
47. If the tiller, because he did not succeed in the first year, has had the soil tilled by others, the owner may raise no objection; the field has been cultivated and he receives the harvest according to agreement.
48. If any one owe a debt for a loan, and a storm prostrates the grain, or the harvest fail, or the grain does not grow for lack of water; in that year he need not give his creditor any grain, he washes his debt-tablet in water [a symbolic action indicating the inability to pay] and pays no rent for this year.
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