Every culture has some form of how we as individuals should treat other people. Here in the Christian West it is called the Golden Rule, but if the basic idea is pursued it varies greatly, and here is a list arranged by date:
Egypt – 2040 BC – The Eloquent Peasant – Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you.
Mesopotamia – 1780 BC – the Code of Hammurabi had a balancing of one’s personal behavior with a reciprocity “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth“. That is, you get what you have given.
China – 500 BC – Confucius – Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.
Greece – 500 BC – Sextus – What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either.
Iran – 500 BC – Pahlavi – Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.
India – 500 BC – Mahābhārata, – Treat others as you treat yourself.
Tamil – 200 BC – Tiruvalluvar – Do no evil, even in return, to those who have cherished enmity and done them evil.
Rome – 43 BC – Publilius Syrus – Expect from others what you did to them.
Israel – 30 BC – Hillel – That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.
Chicago – 1893 AD – Parliament of the World’s Religions – We must treat others as we wish others to treat us.
Wikipedia – Golden Rule “All versions and forms of the proverbial Golden Rule have one aspect in common: they all demand that people treat others in a manner in which they themselves would like to be treated.”
What was Jesus’ Golden Rule?
What Jesus was reported to have said in his Golden Rule was best stated in the King James version. Here is a link to 53 Bible versions of Matthew 7:12; 11 of these English translations use the word should, 6 use like and 21 want.
The difference between should and want is critical to your human development, because at every level from infant to sage a person knows what they want, and they have an idea of what they should want. They know that what they should want is available to them if they try to achieve it, but to reach that level will require some personal effort and knocking at the right door. Jesus opens the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes; it is the ladder of increasing challenge for a seeker of personal development to climb to Heaven.
Matthew 5, King James Version (KJV)
5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
That ladder is the opening to the only complete sermon available to us by Jesus, and the sermon points to the Golden Rule as its essence. Thus, the Beatitudes are the way to climb to heaven, and the Golden Rule is the method, and the rest is commentary and illustration. It is very important that each of these key elements of the Sermon on the Mount be understood correctly, and for that to happen it is essential that they be translated from the original statements to our modern English as clearly as possible. Having 53 different translations confuses the issue. Clearly for a person to raise themselves from a present state of human development to a higher one would be the direction a great sage would be teaching to his followers.
Jesus is providing the ladder and the method and warning that it is a narrow door through which we must pass to reach the highest state; and that there will be many who will try to deceive and take everything we have. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” St. John 10:10. What you give is what you receive, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” KJV Matthew 7:12.
It is on your present level of the ladder of the Beatitudes that you will give what you will receive; and as on any ladder you must be secure on one level before you can step to the next one. Now you know the how and the why, but you must reach for the higher actions to climb the ladder. To learn the next level you should give to others what they need to be on that next higher rung than the one where you are presently located; that is, what you should do is to learn how to step a little higher yourself than where you are presently located. If you give others what you already have on the level you are already located on you will only be training yourself to be stuck at that level. If you are already there, you will never advance beyond it by teaching at that level. For example, a brilliant man who spends his life teaching children how to count will never learn to add. And one who spends his life teaching children how to add will never learn to multiply; to learn the next level we should teach the next level, and there are many things to learn. If you are on the level where you hunger and thirst after righteousness then you should teach and practice being merciful because then you can become competent at being merciful. When you are competent at being merciful you can seek to be pure in heart by teaching and practicing the things needed to live at that level.
A strange thing I found in a Google search of [Golden Rule Vulgate] was The Holy Bible translated from the Latin Vulgate MDCCCLVII (1857) by James Duffy Dublin; Ireland
JOSUE Chap. VII 21 For I saw among the spoils a scarlet garment exceeding good, and two hundred sicles of silver, and a golden rule of fifty sicles: and I coveted them, and I took them away, and hid them in the ground in the midst of my tent, —
That is clearly a very different Golden Rule, from Jesus’ sermon, but it should be noted, a Golden Rule may have been an official king’s measuring ruler. It would be like finding the official measure of The Meter stored in the Paris site of weights and measures. However, for some reason this Golden Rule was the spoils of war, and now being hidden away as a very special trophy. For an archaeologist to find that measuring unit would probably answer many historical measurement problems. The Ladder of the Beatitudes is a Golden Rule given to you to use, not to bury.