X. Goring Ox
The Bible, the Hammurabi Law Code (1750BCE), and the Eshnuna Laws (1800 BCE) all have very similar laws about an ox that gores (i.e. "the goring ox"). There are certain similarities and differences. The existence of these laws in the different law codes suggests that the Bible inherited its law code from an earlier ANE law tradition, from which ANE societies inherited their own law codes. The law is recorded in Exodus 21:28–32, 35–36. It occurs in the "Covenant Code" and the law is written in casuistic form ("when/if...then..."):
v28: If ox gores a man or woman to death, ox stoned, flesh not eaten, owner not liable.
v29: If ox had a history of goring and owner didn’t confine it, ox stoned and owner shall be killed.
v30: … or owner pays any ransom that is demanded in exchange for his life.
v31: … Law also applies to an ox that gores a son or daughter.
v32: … But if it is a slave that is gored, then the owner is fined 30 shekels.
v35: If ox gores another ox so that it dies, the two owners share the value two oxen.
v36: If ox had a history of goring and owner didn’t confine it, owner trades oxen (live for dead).
The similarities between the Bible and ANE laws are clear. However, it is the differences that are important! The Bible seems to polemicize in certain aspects against those ANE codes; e.g., while ANE laws don't demand the death of the ox that gores a person, the Bible does. Thus, the Bible is more concerned about the sanctity of life (Greenberg). Also, while the ANE laws show partiality between certain types of classes (e.g., the "citizen" class has the best deal), the Bible has the same punishment when a person, son, or daughter is gored; they are all considered equal. However, similar to ANE laws, slaves in the Bible have a lower status and thus monetary retribution is allowed for a slave that is gored by an ox.
Eshnunna law code (Akkadian 1900 BCE)
53. If an ox gored an(other) ox and killed (it), both ox owners shall divide the price of the live ox and also the equivalent of the dead ox.
54. If an ox is known to gore habitually and the authorities have brought the fact to the knowledge of its owner but he has not had his ox dehorned; (if then) it gored a citizen and killed (him), the owner of the ox shall pay two thirds of a mina of silver.
55. If it gored a slave and killed (him) he shall pay fifteen shekels of silver
Hammurapi (Akkadian 1792–50 BCE)
250. If an ox, when it was going along the street, gored a citizen and killed (him), that case is not subject to claim.
251. If a citizen’s ox was an habitual gorer and his city-ward notified him that it was an habitual gorer, but he did not pad its horns (or) keep watch over his ox and that ox gored and killed a member of the citizen class, he shall pay one half mina of silver.
252. If it was a citizen’s slave, he shall pay one third of a mina of silver.