Origins of Sayings - An Eye for an Eye

About the history and origins behind the famous saying an eye for an eye.

Stories behind Famous Sayings


Who Said It: Hammurabi

When: Between 1792 and 1750 B.C.

The Story behind It: While a similar saying appears twice in the Old Testament of the Bible (Deut. 19:21, Ex. 21:24), it originated in the legal code of Hammurabi, who was the sixth king of the first Amorite dynasty of Babylon. The ancient laws, carved on an 8-ft. diorite column, deal with everything from robbery to marriage. The saying is found in a passage on physical punishment and reads, "If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye." Also included in the passage are "If a son strike his father, they shall cut off his fingers" and "If one break a man's bone, they shall break his bone."

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