Besides the local assembly or council of elders, there arose several other types of law-court. Similar to the practice in other ancient societies, the Hebrew clergy exercised various judicial functions.1 However, they do not appear to have been part of the local bench but to have formed special tribunals in the sanctuary (Deuteronomy 17:9; 19:17; 21:5; 33:10; Ezekiel 44:24). Originally the priests were perhaps satisfied with the jurisdiction in religious matters, but in the course of time they came also to hear civil cases, especially where the matter had to be submitted for divine decision.
The administration of the oracle was ascribed to prophets and to priests (Exodus 18:15, 19; 28:15, 30). Thus the cases of the blasphemer and of the offender against the Sabbath rules were submitted to divine decision (Leviticus 24:12; Numbers 15:34). The Hebrew parash is here the synonym of the Akkadian parashu, meaning, to cut, to decide.2 In a similar way, a civil case of inheritance by females was brought before God for individual ruling (Numbers 27:5).
Moses and the high priest were said to have acted alone; priests in general, however, were mentioned in the plural. This was in accordance with Egyptian as well as Babylonian practice3 and was also followed by later Jewish tradition.4 1 Chronicles 23:4 and 2 Chronicles 19:11; 34:13 described the judicial functions of the Levites, who probably served as scribes and officers of the courts, composed of priests.5
The major part of judicial work, however, was probably done by special judges. In the patriarchal age, this function was part of the prerogatives of the chief. Their successors were the tribal judges of the pre-monarchical period. The office of judge, it is well known, was not acquired by appointment but was rather the result of a charismatic personality. Even military commanders of the lower ranks acted ex officio in a judicial capacity (Exodus 18:21). Under the monarchy both military and judicial appointments were made by the Crown. This leads us to assume that the judges mentioned in Deuteronomy 16:18; 25:2 were royal officials. The establishment of royal courts was indeed ascribed to King Jehoshaphat:
He appointed judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges: Consider what you do, for you judge not for man, but for God, He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of God be upon you, take heed what you do, for there is no perversion of justice with God, our God, or partiality, or taking bribes. Moreover in Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed certain Levites, priests and heads of families of Israel, to give judgment for God and to decide disputed cases. They returned to (had their seat at) Jerusalem. And he charged them: Thus you shall do in the fear of God, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart. Whenever a case comes to you from your brethren who live in their cities, concerning bloodshed, law or commandment, statutes or ordinances, then you shall instruct them, that they may not incur guilt before God and wrath may not come upon you and your brethren. Thus you shall do, and you will not incur guilt. And behold, Amariah the chief-priest is over you in all matters of God; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the governor of the house of Judah, in all the king's matters; and the Levites will serve you as officers. Deal courageously, and may God be with the upright! (2 Chronicles 19:5–11)6
The judicial system described above is similar to that recorded in Deuteronomy 26:18 and 17:8–13 and ascribed to the Mosaic age. Besides the local elders, special judges appear to have been commissioned by the central authorities to sit as courts of first instance. In Jerusalem, a court consisting of priests, Levites, and Israelites was established to hear cases referred to it by the lower courts.
The local courts seem to have consisted of a single judge, sitting perhaps together with the elders.7 In the penal actions described in Numbers 25:5 and Deuteronomy 25:1–3, the judge acted alone, while the punishment of false witnesses was referred to a number of judges, to God, and to the priests (Deuteronomy 19:17), i.e., to the court at the central sanctuary. In the same way, the expiation of an unsolved murder was carried out by a commission of elders and judges appointed by the central court (Deuteronomy 21:2).
Deuteronomy 17:9, 12 mentions a single judge as sitting together with the priests and Levites in the supreme court. This is probably a reference to the president of the tribunal (e.g., Zebadiah the governor of the house of Judah) rather than to the number of the judges. It was he who presided when Crown cases, i.e., taxation and other worldly matters, were under consideration. Matters of God, which seem to have concerned the sanctuary and all its connected problems, were decided by a court sitting under the chairmanship of a priest.
A plurality of judges in the local courts is mentioned in Ezra 10:14, signifying the change that took place after the Babylonian exile. Henceforth a local judge did not act alone but as a member of a group; the reason was probably that judges were no longer appointed but elected by the community. Under the Persian rule, indeed, the local congregation often assumed judicial functions (compare Ben Sira 1:30; 7:7; 23:24; 42:11). Nevertheless, the priests still acted as teachers of the law and perhaps also as chairmen of lay tribunals (Ben Sira 45:17–18).
Above the various courts, the king constituted the highest judicial authority in the land. He replaced the ancient tribal chief and the judge of the pre-monarchical period. Application could be made to him whenever justice had been denied by a lower court. He could punish, on his own initiative, any criminal or political offender (1 Samuel 8:5; 2 Samuel 8:15; 12:1; 14:4; 1 Kings 3:9, 16; Psalm 72:1–4; Jeremiah 22:15–16).
Consequently, some of the royal symbols came to be symbols of justice. The throne was identified with the administration of justice and the hall in which it was placed served also as a court of law (1 Kings 7:7).8 The local court, on the other hand, seems to have met in the open at the gates of the city, sometimes sitting together with the elders, sometimes without them. Perhaps the "place of justice" (Ecclesiastes 3:16) was a special court of law, though the Akkadian bit dinim (house of judgment) had no counterpart in biblical Hebrew.
Where witnesses could not be produced by either party, the matter was referred, by Hebrew as well as by other laws, to divine decision. Mention has been made above of the decisions delivered by God to Moses and the priests. Such rulings were obtained after trial by ordeal, by taking the risk that a curse would fall upon the guilty party, by taking an oath or by lot.9
a. Curse and Oath. For judicial purposes, a curse used to be imposed to examine the guilt or innocence of a known accused or to punish an unknown wrongdoer. In Numbers 5:11–31, if a husband suspected his wife of adultery, she was tried by ordeal and by a curse.10 A plaintiff could likewise impose a curse on a recalcitrant witness who was withholding evidence on some point in issue (Leviticus 5:1).11 Divine punishment was called upon an unknown thief by formulae described in Judges 17:2, 1 Kings 8:31, Zechariah 5:3, and Proverbs 24:24.
An oath was sworn by the defendant in order to exculpate himself from the plaintiff's allegations. Exodus 22:7–8 shows a bailee declaring that the goods deposited were stolen from him. To absolve himself from liability and put the loss upon the owner, the bailee must draw close to God to affirm his innocence. This obviously took the form of an oath.12 The same point was stated more explicitly with regard to the shepherd, who had no witness to prove his innocence (Exodus 22:9–10).13 According to Leviticus 6:2–3, a person alleged to have misappropriated a deposit, acquired goods by force, or wrongfully converted to his own use a lost article, was required to take an oath. Of a similar character was the assertion of the eastern tribes concerning their altar (Joshua 22:21–34) and the oath that the kings were required to swear when charged with having concealed Elijah (1 Kings 18:10).14 Exculpatory oaths were also used among the Jews of Elephantine.15
The formula of the oath was similar to that of the curse. Originally, the person taking it would specify the consequences, should his words prove false (e.g., Isaiah 65:15; Jeremiah 29:22). In order to avoid bad omens, the formula then became a mere paraphrase: "God do thus to me and more also, if . . ." (e.g., 1 Samuel 3:17). The same idea was expressed in another form by a positive conditional sentence, where a negative assertion was intended and by a negative conditional sentence in the case of a positive assertion. The person swearing "If . . ." or "if not . . ." omitted the bad consequences to befall him should his sworn statement prove false.16
As this oath formula was based on a curse, it could be called "an oath to do evil" (Leviticus 5:4; Psalm 15:4), viz., to do evil to the perjurer.17 The opposite formula, i.e., the oath to do good, seems to have been based upon the custom of blessing the receiver of the oath. The general phrase: "As you live . . ." (e.g., 1 Samuel 1:26; 17:55; 20:3; 25:26; 2 Samuel 11:11; 2 Kings 2:2; 4:30) was probably a wish for the well-being of the person spoken to, as if one said, "God do such and such good to you and more also, if it is the truth that . . ."
Besides these formulae, an oath could also be made effective by mentioning the divine name. God was called as a witness in promissory oaths and as a judge in declaratory and exculpatory ones. A simple assertion "that . . ." was in the end also considered to be a binding oath.18
b. Prayer and Confession. Some forms of biblical prayer were clearly influenced by legal procedure. Hebrew thought, as already mentioned, described the relations between God and man under the rule of law, and from there resulted some specific patterns of worship.19
The usual term for prayer, tefilah, was derived from the root palal, meaning to act as judge, to assess, to estimate, and to intervene.20 Originally a person praying to God asserted his righteousness and asked God to do justice. The supplicant would also mention his merits (e.g., 2 Kings 20:2–3), the good deeds of his ancestors, or the promise made to them (e.g., 1 Kings 8:23–28). Various passages in Job (e.g., 10) reflect these ideas, which also form the background of a number of psalms (e.g., Psalm 35:1; 43:1; 119:154; Lamentations 3:59; Micah 7:9).
Another term describing both a confession and a doxology was todah (e.g., Joshua 7:19; 1 Kings 8:33, 35). Biblical law, in common with other legal systems, asked a person sentenced to death to make a public confession of his sin and to praise God.21 This was necessary not only to effect the atonement but also to make the judges sure of the correctness of their decision. The term today would likewise express the thanksgiving offering and thanksgiving in general (Leviticus 7:12–13; Psalm 26:7; 42:5).
The concepts of ordeal and legal procedure can be traced in some of the hymns composed for the accompaniment of the thanks offering. Though expressing mainly the gratitude of the offerer for divine deliverance, the sacrifice also probably demanded an act of confession. The ritual of most sacrifices included the laying of hands upon the head of the victim (Leviticus 1:4; 3:2, 8; 4:4, 15, 24, 29, 33; 16:21). Only in the ritual of atonement is mention made of a confession, although a similar declaration was probably part of the ritual of the guilt offering (Leviticus 5:5) and of the burnt offering (Leviticus 1:4).22 In the words of Philo,
in the laying of hands on the head of the animal we find the clearest possible type of blameless actions and of a life saddled with nothing that leads to censure but in harmony with the laws and statutes of nature. For the law desires, first, that the mind of the worshipper should be sanctified by exercise in good and profitable thoughts and judgements; secondly, that his life should be a consistent course of the best actions, so that as he lays his hands on the victim, he can boldly and with a pure conscience speak in this wise: "These hands have taken no gift to do injustice, nor shared in the proceeds of plunder or overreaching, nor being soiled with innocent blood. None have they maimed or wounded, no deed of outrage or violence have they wrought. They have done no service of any other kind at all which might incur arraignment or censure, but have made themselves humble ministers of things excellent and profitable, such as are held in honour in the sight of wisdom and law and wise and law-abiding men."23
The confession described by Philo was similar to that recorded in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and included a "negative confession." According to the ideas obtained during the middle kingdom, the soul, in order to obtain admission to the afterlife, was supposed to make a declaration about its well-spent life before the court of Osiris. The dead person mentioned a long list of those sins that he had not committed, followed by a positive assertion concerning some of his good deeds.24 Originally based upon the moral concept of the last judgment, the negative confession later became part of the magic formulae of the Book of the Dead, which was in itself a kind of laissez passer to heaven.
Similar formulae, it is well known, were used in Israel at the expiation of an unsolved murder and at the completion of the third year of tithing (Deuteronomy 21:7–8; 26:13–14).25 The same pattern is also used at the end of the discussion between Job and his three friends (Job 31). Taking an exculpatory oath in answer to his friends' accusations, Job first asserts his purity of soul by one example and then proceeds to describe the numerous curses that are to befall him if he has sinned.
Bearing in mind that participation in the temple service was conditioned on a state of moral worthiness, we may assume the existence of negative confessions as part of the offering ceremonies. Psalms 15 and 24 ask the worshipper whether he is fit, in the light of his moral behavior, to worship in the temple.26 Galling27 has accordingly described a special type of psalm, the Beichtspiegel, which was used by the worshipper to assert his innocence.
Coming back to the homily of Philo, it seems that the specific occasion for these negative confessions was the imposition of hands upon the sacrifice. The celebrant, in fact, underwent an ordeal and the acceptance of the offering was dependent on his enduring it. Psalm 1, it seems, was used as a kind of sermon to test the worshipper's moral qualities. Psalms 2:1–12 and 3:1–8, parallel admonitions, both asked the offerer to desist from his intention if he felt himself unworthy. Some of the psalms classified by H. Schmidt28 as Gebete des Angeklagten do not actually reflect any judicial procedure but are rather a means of justifying the worshipper's approach to God.29 Thus Psalm 26 seems to be a negative confession to be made by the person offering a thanksgiving. In Psalm 66:18, we also find such a declaration as part of an ordinary prayer.
c. Ordeal Techniques. Besides the ordeal by words, the Divine Will was also said to be revealed by the casting of lots. This form of response was used for the detection of criminals (Joshua 7:13–26; 1 Samuel 14:38), for the election of the king (1 Samuel 10:19), and for obtaining decisions in civil cases (Proverbs 18:18). Since the operation of this technique was the privilege of priests, the lots formed part of the official vestments. The high priest wore a special "breastpiece of judgment" containing the oracular set of the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:15, 30; Proverbs 16:33).30 There existed moreover, a similar custom among the laity. The drawing of lots settled questions connected with the distribution of land, as still maintained today among the Bedouins (Numbers 26:55; 33:54; Ben Sira 14:15).31
In order to demonstrate the actual contact with the power of God, the person undergoing the ordeal was asked to draw near to God or, at least, to touch a divine object. For example, the householder taking the oath of exculpation had to approach the sanctuary so that the curse would indeed fall upon him, should his allegation prove false (Exodus 22:7).32 According to Talmudic practice, the oath should be made while touching the scroll of the Law or at least the phylacteries (Babylonian Talmud Shevu'ot 38b).33
While the Assyro-Babylonian river-ordeal does not seem to have existed among the Hebrews,34 there are some references to ordeals by water. A wife suspected of adultery was examined by the "water of bitterness," i.e., a mixture of water from a sacred spring, dust from the sanctuary, and the ink in which the curse was written (Numbers 5:22). A similar procedure was followed with regard to those guilty of making the golden calf (Exodus 32:20; Babylonian Talmud 'Abodah Zarah 44a). The place names 'en mishpaṭ (well of judgment) and mey merivah (waters of contention) were perhaps also connected with similar customs.
We have already mentioned the system of self-help that existed during the patriarchal age. Any violation of a person was avenged by the victim's next of kin by way of "redemption" of blood.35 Even after the conquest, redress was primarily obtained by private action without assistance from a judge. In contrast to Babylonian law,36 the Hebrew creditor was accorded the right of levying a distress on the debtor's property. Exodus 22:25–26 and Deuteronomy 24:6, 10–13, 17 are appeals to the creditor's benevolence, necessary since no court was involved.37
The punishment of the master who had killed his slave was, accordingly, called "vengeance" (Exodus 21:20). The most important manifestation of private justice was the "redemption" of blood, a concept preserved till late into the monarchical period (2 Samuel 3:27, 30). However, this right was limited by the institution of cities of asylum (Numbers 35; Deuteronomy 19) and by the creation of a distinction between unintentional and premeditated killing (Deuteronomy 19; Exodus 21:13).38 As a result there arose a need for judicial decision. Judgment was given either by the community or by the elders after hearing both the accused and the avenger. The intervention of a judge was also necessary for the infliction of talion, thus limiting the plaintiff's right to revenge himself upon the assailant. A wrong committed against a member of the same clan was adjudicated by the common chief by virtue of his potestas.
|Legal Proceedings in Biblical Times|
|Laban against Jacob ...............................Genesis 31:25–55|
|Trial of the Blasphemer ..........................Leviticus 24:10–23|
|Trial of the Sabbath Breaker ...................Numbers 15:32–36|
|Inheritance of the Daughters ....................Numbers 27:1–11|
|Marriages of the Daughters ......................Numbers 36:1–13|
|Trial of Achan ..............................................Joshua 7:1–26|
|Boaz at the town gate .....................................Ruth 4:1–12|
|Trial of Ahimelech ...................................1 Samuel 22:6–23|
|Petition of the Woman of Tekoa .................2 Samuel 14:4–11|
|Petition of the Two Harlots ..........................1 Kings 3:16–28|
|Trial of Naboth ..........................................1 Kings 21:1–16|
|Trial of Micah the Morasthite ...................Jeremiah 26:18–19;|
|Trial of Uriah ben Shemaiah ...................Jeremiah 26:20–23|
|Trial of Jeremiah .....................................Jeremiah 26:1–24|
|Trial of Susanna .................................Daniel 13:1–64 (LXX)|
The appointment of an arbitrator became necessary in disputes between members of different clans. The kinsmen of both parties formed a mixed tribunal to decide the issue between Laban and Jacob (Genesis 31:37), and there was an implied agreement that their decree would be obeyed and adverse action excluded. Especially when the redemption of blood was replaced by the payment of ransom was there a need for prior accord on the part of both families and an independent award fixing the amount payable (Exodus 21:30).39
During the tribal age the husband was entitled to punish his adulterous wife without having recourse to judicial proceedings. The act was considered a wrong against the husband (2 Samuel 12:1–4), and could be condoned by him or settled by the payment of an agreed amount of compensation (Proverbs 6:35).40
Early justice being a form of mediation, no court could be moved without the filing of a private claim and the tacit submission of the defendant to the decision (Deuteronomy 25:1; Job 9:19; 23:4). There existed, however, certain crimes that were the concern of the community as a whole. According to the idea of the covenant, the people felt themselves bound to purge the evil from among them, lest they be held collectively responsible for the sin of the individual.41
Criminal law seems to have begun with the laws of idolatry (Deuteronomy 13; 17:2–7), where the public was required to inquire into the charges. The witnesses, in these cases, acted both as informants and accusers and were the first to inflict the penalty. At an early date murder and adultery must also have become public rather than private wrongs (Numbers 35:31–34; Deuteronomy 22:22–24). The redemption of blood had become a form of public prosecution, to be applied even within the family (2 Samuel 13:28; 14:5–11).
In civil cases the plaintiff would take hold of the defendant and bring him before the court (Deuteronomy 21:19) or summon him to appear at a hearing (Job 9:19). On the other hand, in crimi nal cases the accused was put to trial upon the information of witnesses and taken into custody until judgment was pronounced (Leviticus 24:12; Numbers 15:34; 1 Kings 22:27; Jeremiah 37:15). Both parties then submitted their pleadings, accusing their opponents and asserting their own innocence. The form of forensic speech seems to have been preserved in various metaphors used by certain prophets and by the authors of Job and Psalms.42 Sometimes the accused was accompanied by counsel standing on his right hand (Psalm 109:31), while there may have been also written statements of claim (Job 31:35).43
Rules of evidence were rather rigid and did not give the judge discretion in weighing the evidence submitted by the parties. The original method of proof consisted of real evidence (Genesis 31:39; Exodus 22:12; Deuteronomy 22:17; Amos 3:12). Evidence given by two witnesses was conclusive and this form of proof seems to have been extended from criminal trials to cases of all kinds (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; 1 Kings 21:10). Recalcitrant witnesses could be compelled to give testimony by the imposition of an oath (Leviticus 5:1).
In the absence of proof, the accused had to take an oath or undergo another form of ordeal, and omission to do so implied admission of guilt. There was the case of the Amalekite of whom David said: "Your blood be upon your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, I have slain the Lord's anointed" (2 Samuel 1:16; 4:4–12). The passage seems to indicate that an accused could be sentenced without any evidence for the prosecution besides his own confession. According to Talmudic procedure this was impossible. It is however possible to reconcile the Talmudic rule against self-incrimination with this passage, so that even in biblical law, a person charged with a crime punishable by death could not be convicted on the strength of his own confession. For in this particular case the confession was not true (1 Samuel 31:4) and the author's intention was perhaps to condemn the procedure. The same idea seemed to underlie Joshua 7:19, 22, where the confession of Achan was corroborated by an ordeal as well as by the production of the corpus delicti.44
We do not, unfortunately, know much about the written evidence used in Hebrew legal procedure, since such documents have not been preserved. Besides the ancient stone or heap of stones that served as a memorial to some legal act, inscribed tablets were used at quite an early date.45 The deed of divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1) and the deed of sale (Jeremiah 32:10–14) were necessary parts of the acts. The latter appears as a double document, the upper half of which was rolled and sealed, while the lower part remained open for inspection. While the deed of divorce is said to have been written by the husband, i.e., by the transferor, Jeremiah himself wrote the conveyance in his favor. The witnesses signed on the verso after the sealing, as was the rule in demotic deeds. The other particulars apparently were similar to those found in the Aramaic papyri.46
On various occasions, the Law prescribed rules of procedure aimed at ensuring an equitable decision (Exodus 23:6–9, Deuteronomy 1:16–17). Having heard the pleadings and received the evidence, the judges took their decision by vote. Exodus 23:2 warns each judge not to change his opinion, if his colleagues tended to do evil; the judgment, however, was made by the majority.47
Both parties were addressed in the judgment—the righteous being justified and the guilty condemned (Deuteronomy 25:1; 1 Kings 8:32). This was also the pattern in Egyptian judgments.48 A husband who had accused his bride of unfaithfulness was himself found guilty if his wife succeeded in proving her innocence (Deuteronomy 22:18–19).
The judges, it seems, were not bound to give reasons for their decisions, although there may have been a tendency to convince the guilty party of his injustice (2 Samuel 12:1–12). Since no ordinary system of judicial review existed, difficult points of law were referred to the central court or to the king (2 Samuel 12:1–12; 14:5–8). There is no reference to the custom of making an unsuccessful plaintiff promise that he would not open his case again, as in Babylonian practice49 and in the Aramaic papyri.50
The judge's duty also included the execution of the punishment by giving the necessary order to the officers, the witnesses, or the people in general (Deuteronomy 13:10; 17:7; 25:2–3). In civil cases, however, the ancient system of self-help certainly lingered on for a long time. The successful claimant, therefore, himself carried out the decision of the court by levying distress upon the defendant's goods or upon his children.
1. Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions, trans. John McHugh (London: Darton, 1961), 238–39; Erwin Seidl, Einführung in die ägyptische Rechtsgeschichte bis zum Ende des neuen Reiches (Glückstadt: Augustin, 1951), 33.
2. Compare Codex Hammurabi 5; Godfrey R. Driver and John C. Miles, The Babylonian Laws (Oxford: Clarendon, 1952–55), 2:149.
3. Seidl, Einführung, 33; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:77, 491.
4. Mishnah Sanhedrin 1:1; compare Ketubbot 1:5.
5. De Vaux, Ancient Israel, 239.
6. Compare William F. Albright, "The Judicial Reform of Jehoshaphat," in Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1950), 61–82; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 237.
7. Women are not mentioned as judges except for Deborah (Judges 4), who was appointed by God.
8. Ze'ev W. Falk, "Two Symbols of Justice," Vetus Testamentum 10 (1960): 72.
9. De Vaux, Ancient Israel, 242ff.; Friedrich Horst, Gottes Recht: Gesammelte Studien zum Recht im Alten Testament (Munich: Kaiser, 1961), 292ff.
10. Compare Codex Hammurabi 131–32; Middle Assyrian Laws A17; Horst, Gottes Recht, 292; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:284; Godfrey R. Driver and John C. Miles, trans., The Assyrian Laws (Oxford: Clarendon, 1936), 68.
11. Compare Boaz Cohen, Jura 9 (1958): 1ff.
12. Compare Codex Hammurabi 103; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:193.
13. Compare Codex Hammurabi 266; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:438–39, 468.
14. Compare Codex Hammurabi 20.
15. Arthur E. Cowley, ed. and trans., Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century, B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923), 15–25, 148; Reuven Yaron, Introduction to the Law of the Aramaic Papyri (Oxford: Clarendon, 1961), 31–32.
16. Compare Horst, Gottes Recht, 301ff.
17. This was perhaps the background to the interpretation given by Judan (fourth century) in Midrash and Psalm 106:32–33: "Moses had sworn, as it is said: 'And Moses lifted up his hand' (Numbers 20:11. . . ." Moses' punishment is attributed to his rash oath; his ill fate resulted from the formula of his oath, viz.: "God do evil to me if . . ."
18. Horst, Gottes Recht, 304–6.
19. Compare Berend Gemser, "The 'rib-' or Controversy-Pattern in Hebrew Mentality," Vetus Testamentum Supplement 3 (1955): 126, citing various Babylonian parallels.
20. Ephraim A. Speiser, "The Root pll in Hebrew," Journal of Biblical Literature 82 (1963): 301–6; the author cites Psalm 109:4, 7. Otherwise, see Dr. Dafydd Rhys Ap-Thomas, "Notes on Some Terms Relating to Prayer," Vetus Testamentum 6 (1956): 230–31.
21. Hubert Grimme, Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 58 (1941): 234; Horst, Gottes Recht, 162ff., Ben Shammai, "Confession of Sin" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it (Jerusalem: Bialik, 1950), 2:874; compare Mishnah Sanhedrin 6:2.
22. Compare Tosefta Menaḥot 10:12.
23. Philo, "The Special Laws," vol. 7 of Philo, trans. F. H. Colson (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1929), 214–17.
24. Joachim Spiegel, Die Idee vom Totengericht in der ägyptischen Religion (Glückstadt: Augustin, 1935); William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1946), 170ff.
25. Compare Shammai, "Confession of Sin," 2:874; Albright, Stone Age to Christianity, 170ff.
26. Compare Targum to 2 Samuel 5:8, Song of Solomon 6:6; Saul Lieberman, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1950), 166.
27. Kurt Galling, "Der Beichtspiegel," Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 47 (1929): 125ff. Compare Ernst Würthwein, "Erwägung zum Psalm CXXXIX," Vetus Testamentum 7 (1957): 170ff.
28. Hans Schmidt "Die Psalmen," in Handbuch zum Alten Testament, ed. Otto Eissfeldt (Tübingen: Mohr, 1934).
29. Compare Gemser, "The 'rib-' or Controversy-Pattern," 128, explaining these psalms by the "rib pattern" used as a metaphor.
30. De Vaux, Ancient Israel, 241; Naphtali Sinai, "Urim and Thummim" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 1:179; Samuel E. Loewenstamm, "Breastplate of Judgment" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 3:318.
31. Compare Samuel E. Loewenstamm, "Dividing Inheritance by Lot" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 1:459. Rabbinical rationalism puts the opposition to decisions by lot already in the mouth of Achan (Joshua 7:18): "Achan said to Joshua: Are you going to catch me by means of the lot? In this generation there is nobody as pious as you and Pinehas. Now, draw the lots between you and him, certainly one will be caught. . . . Our teacher Moses taught us: At the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses he that is to die shall be put to death" (Deuteronomy 17:6; Palestinian Sanhedrin 6:3, 23b; Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 43b).
32. Compare Anne E. Draffkorn, "Ilani/Elohim," Journal of Biblical Literature 76 (1957): 216–24; Ze'ev W. Falk, "Exodus 21:6," Vetus Testamentum 9 (1959): 86; Charles F. Fensham, "New Light on Ex. 21:6 and 22:7 from the Laws of Eshnunna," Journal of Biblical Literature 78 (1959): 160–61.
33. The term drawing near for judgment is based on this practice. See Ze'ev W. Falk, "Hebrew Legal Terms," Journal of Semitic Studies 5 (1960): 350.
34. Compare Codex Ur Nammu 10; Codex Hammurabi 131–32; Driver and Miles, Assyrian Laws, 86–106.
35. Compare Neufeld, Hittite Laws, 1ff.; see de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 26–27; Chaim Z. Hirschberg, "Blood Vengeance" (in Hebrew), in Encyclopaedia Miqra'it, 2:392; Klaus Koch, "Der Spruch, 'Sein Blut bleibe auf seinem Haupt' und die israelitische Auffassung vom vergossenen Blut," Vetus Testamentum 12 (1962): 396ff.
36. Thus, Codex Hammurabi 113; compare Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:214. Earlier Babylonian law, however, allowed the extra-judicial seizure of goods by the creditor, unless the debtor applied to the court; Julius G. Lautner, Die richterliche Entscheidung und die Streitbeendigung im altbabylonischen Prozessrechte (Leipzig: Weicher, 1922), 16–17.
37. Compare Benjamin Cohen, "Self Help in the Jewish and Roman Law," Revue Internationale des Droits de l'Antiquité 3 (1955), 107ff.; Ephraim Neufeld, "Self-Help in Ancient Hebrew Law," Revue Internationale des Droits de l'Antiquité 5 (1958): 291ff.; and p. 95, below.
38. Max Löhr, Das Asylwesen im Alten Testamentum (Halle: Niemeyer, 1930); Nikolai M. Nicolsky, "Das Asylrecht in Israel," Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 48 (1930): 146–75; Moshe Greenberg, "The Biblical Concept of Asylum," Journal of Biblical Literature 78 (1959): 125–32.
39. Compare Middle Assyrian Laws A10, B2; Driver and Miles, Assyrian Laws, 33.
40. Compare Middle Assyrian Laws A15; Neufeld, Hittite Laws, 198; Moshe Greenberg, "Some Postulates of Biblical Criminal Law," in Yehezkel Kaufmann Jubilee Volume: Studies in Bible and Jewish Religion, ed. M. Haran (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1960), 5–28.; Samuel E. Loewenstamm, Bulletin of the Israel Society for Biblical Research 7 (1962): 55ff (in Hebrew); Moshe Weinfeld, Bulletin of the Israel Society for Biblical Research 9 (1963–64): 58 (in Hebrew); Hirschberg, "Blood Vengeance," 2:392.
41. Note the similarity in concept of pollution with regard to the creation of public criminal law in Hebrew and Greek laws: Numbers 35:33, Deuteronomy 21:1–2, and John W. Jones, The Law and Legal Theory of the Greeks (Oxford: Clarendon, 1956), 254–55.
42. Gemser, "The 'rib-' or Controversy-Pattern," 120–37; de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 239–41; Herbert B. Huffman, "The Covenant Lawsuit in the Prophets," Journal of Biblical Literature 78 (1959): 285–95.
43. Compare the judicial petition; pp. 3–4.
44. See p. 55 and n. 31, above; confession is not admissible under Talmudic law: Tosefta Sanhedrin 11:1; Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 80b.
45. Compare Falk, "Form of Testimony," 88; Ze'ev W. Falk, "Mutual Obligation in the Ketubah," Journal of Jewish Studies 8 (1958): 215.
46. Compare Yaron, Introduction, 7ff.
47. Compare Codex Hammurabi 5.
48. Seidl, Einführung, 37.
49. Lautner, Die richterliche Entscheidung, 16–17; Driver and Miles, Babylonian Laws, 1:74.
50. Yaron, Introduction, 30–31, 81; Ze'ev W. Falk, "Testate Succession in Jewish Law," Journal of Jewish Studies 12 (1961): 168.