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Rulers of the Near East were not trying to express universal wisdom through their laws. They were trying to maintain their personal political and economic power and their image as lawgivers. If a previous king had already done this they just borrowed the ideas for their own legal system. A king was supposed to hand down laws that were clear, just, and true, no matter where he got them.

In contrast, the Bible teaches that God’s people received their laws from God Himself, not from their neighbors…

Laws usually deal with a nation’s social order; they tell how citizens should act toward one another. But the laws of the Bible also tell how God’s people should act toward Him. Indeed, they are primarily religious laws…

Biblical law was a public law, and this was another important difference from the Pagan laws of the Near East. In many nations of the ancient Near East, the King carried the laws in his head, as they were his personal possession. He did not publish them until he was ready to give up his throne. Thus a person could be arrested for breaking a law he had never known. The laws were kept secret, even when a person was put on trial for breaking them (there are few instances in which anyone cited royal codes in a court case).

But in Israel, the leaders of government read God’s Law to the people at regular times of the year (cf. Deut. 31:10-13). Thus every citizen could learn the laws he had to obey…

God built Israelite society on His rules; so when a person offended society, he thereby offended God (I Sam. 12:9-10). In fact, some social offenses were so serious that only God could pardon them.