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Bedouin Culture in the Bible$
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Clinton Bailey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300121827

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300121827.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Desert Laws

Desert Laws

Chapter:
(p.107) 4 Desert Laws
Source:
Bedouin Culture in the Bible
Author(s):

Clinton Bailey

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300121827.003.0005

To compensate for the traditional lack of centralized authority in the desert, Bedouin society developed a conventionalized legal system that included an individual’s right to use private might to deter and rectify violations perpetrated against him or his clan, whether homicide, the violation of women, or many lesser offenses. In keeping with the biblical portrayal of the earliest Israelites as desert-dwelling nomads, some of the laws ascribed to them are consistent with those of the nomadic Bedouin. This chapter identifies these laws, which mainly reflect the same absence of governmental law enforcement that always obliged Middle Eastern nomads to fend for themselves. To further appreciate the similarities between Bedouin and biblical law, this chapter explores the rationale and workings of the institutions of vengeance, the protection of the weak, and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

Keywords:   Laws without government, Vengeance, Protection of the weak, Peaceful resolution of conflict

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