XLIV. (242) I have now then gone through all the five heads of laws in the first table, and have noticed also all the particular points which had any reference to any individual. I must also now point out the punishments affixed to the transgression of these laws. (243) Now there is one common penalty affixed to them all, namely, death, through which all such offences have a kind of relationship to one another. But the causes of this sentence being pronounced in such cases are different, and we must begin with the last, the one that relates to parents, since it is in reference to this one that the words are still ringing in our ears, “If any one shall beat his father or his mother, let him be Stoned.”{45}{#ex 21:15.} And very justly, for it is not fit that that man should live who insults those who are the causes of his living; (244) but some of the men of high rank, and some of the lawgivers, looking rather at the vain opinions of men than at the truth, have softened this commandment, and instituted as a penalty, for those who beat their fathers, that their hands should be cut off; and for the sake of bearing a good reputation in the eyes of hasty and inconsiderate persons, they profess to them that it is becoming, that the parts with which such men have struck their parents should be cut off; (245) but it is a piece of folly to be angry with the servants rather than with those who are the causes of such folly; for it is not the hands that behave with such insolence, but insolent men perform their actions with their hands, and it is the men who must be punished, unless indeed it can be called fitting to let men go who have committed murder with the sword, and to content one’s self with throwing away the sword; and unless, on the contrary, one ought not to give honour to those who have shown preeminent valour in war, but to the inanimate coats of armour, by means of which they have behaved themselves valiantly; (246) and unless again it is reasonable, in the case of those who have gained the victory in the gymnastic games, in the stadium, or the double race, or the long straight course, or in the contest of boxing, or in the pancratium, to attempt to crown only the legs and arms of the conquerors, and to let the whole of their bodies remain unhonoured. Surely it would be a ridiculous thing to lay down such principles as these, and to abstain in consequence from punishing or honouring those who were the real causes of the results in question; for we do not pass over a man who has given a splendid exhibition of musical skill, playing exquisitely on the flute or the lyre, and think the instruments themselves worthy of proclamations and honours. (247) Why, then, should we deprive of their hands men who beat their fathers, O you most noble lawgivers? Is it that they may for the future be wholly useless for any purpose whatever, and that they may exact as a tribute, not once a year but every day, from those whom they have treated with iniquity, compelling them to supply them with necessary food, as being unable to provide for themselves? For their father is not so wholly hard-hearted as to endure to see even a son who has so grievously offended against him dying of hunger, after his anger has been blunted by time. (248) And even if he has not laid hands upon his parents, but has only spoken ill of those whom he was bound to praise and bless, or if he has in any other manner done anything which can tend to bring his parents into disrepute, still let him Die.{46}{#ex 21:16.} For since he is a common enemy, and if one may tell the plain truth, he is a public enemy of all men, to whom else can he be kind and favourable when he is not so to the authors of his being, by whose means he came into this world, and of whom he is a sort of supplement?