Comparing the Floods of Genesis and Gilgamesh
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KSU   -   English 2110/07     Mr. Hagin   -   Revised: 15 June 2004
WLRC
 

1.  Which deity generates the flood?
GENESIS:            God (6:5)
GILGAMESH:    Enlil and his Council
 

2.  What are the deities’ attitudes toward the flood?
GENESIS:            God was “grieved” (6:6)
GILGAMESH:    the gods are “terrified” and seek shelter with Anu, but only after the flood has ravaged the earth;
                            Ishtar later laments and blames herself for “commanding evil”
 

3.  At what behavior is each deity angry?
GENESIS:            “the wickedness of man” and “only evil” (6:5), as well as the “corruption” of the earth (6:11)
GILGAMESH:    “the clamour” of the people below who live in the world “like a bull”; the gods collectively agree
 

4.  Which people are allowed to live?
GENESIS:            Noah, his wife, and their three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japeth (6:10)
GILGAMESH:    Utnapishtim, his family, his shipbuilders and craftsmen, including Puzur Amurri, his steerman,
                            and Urshanabi, his ferryman
 

5.  Why are these people chosen to survive above all others on earth?
GENESIS:            Noah “walked with God” (6:9) and was “righteous”  (7:1)
GILGAMESH:    blind chance; Utnapishtim was warned in a dream given to him by Ea
 

6.  How do the deities communicate with Noah/Utnapishtim?
GENESIS:            God directly commands Noah who “walks with God” (6:9)
GILGAMESH:    Ea warns Utnapishtim by speaking to him in his dream and later whispering through a wall
 

7.  Of what materials is the ark made?
GENESIS:            gopher wood and pitch (6:14)
GILGAMESH:    a house of reeds and clay
 

8.  What kinds of animals are brought on the ark?
GENESIS:            seven of each clean beast, male and female; and two of each unclean beast,
                            male and female (7:2), plus seven of each foul, male and female (7:3)
GILGAMESH:    The “seed” of all living creatures as well as “wild and tame” animals (some for food; others for sacrifice)
 

9.  What are the dimensions of the arks?
GENESIS:            300 cubits (L) x 50 cubits (W) x 30 cubits (H) (6:15)
GILGAMESH:    120 cubits (L) x 120 cubits (W)
 

10.  How many levels does each boat have?
GENESIS:            three stories with a door on the side and a window at the top (6:16)
GILGAMESH:    seven decks with nine sections, with a roof “like a vault” and ground space that equals one acre
 

11.  How do the deities make the skies rain so much?
GENESIS:            God opens the “fountains of the deep” and the “windows of heaven,” using a
                            “great wind” to spread the waters (8:1)
GILGAMESH:    Adad, rider of the storm, brings rain, led by the heralds Shullat and Hanish Nergal
                            who lifted the dams, Ninurta (the war lord) threw open the dykes, while the Anunnaki
                            (the seven judges of hell) raised torches
 

12.  For how many days does the rain pour down?
GENESIS:            forty days and forty nights (7:12)
GILGAMESH:    one day

 
13.  How deep does the water get?
GENESIS:            fifteen cubits of water covered the mountains (7:20)
GILGAMESH:    the water “covered the mountains like a roof” with no land for fourteen leagues
 

14.  How long do the waters take to recede?
GENESIS:            150 days (7:24), 210 days (8:4), or ten months and a day (about 300 days),
                            until Noah could see the tops of the mountains (8:5)
GILGAMESH:    12-13 total days (the storm raged for one day while the flood raged for six days;
                            the ship was grounded for six days)
 

15.  On which mountain does the boat run aground?
GENESIS:            Mount Ararat (8:4)
GILGAMESH:    Mountain of Nisir
 

16.  What is the order of birds sent to discover dry land?
GENESIS:            a raven (returned), a dove (returned), a second dove (returned seven days later
                            with an olive branch), and a third dove (did not return after seven days) (8:7-12)
GILGAMESH:     a dove (returned), a swallow (returned), and a raven (did not return)
 

17.  How long do the boats remain grounded before the people emerge from the ark?
GENESIS:             two months and 27 days after the third dove was released and the earth was dry (8:14);
                              God commands Noah to leave the ark at this time (8:15)
GILGAMESH:     six days after landfall (on the seventh day)
 
 
18.  How do the survivors thank their deities for their safety and survival?
GENESIS:             Noah built an altar and sacrificed his “clean beasts” (8:20)
GILGAMESH:      Utnapishtim sacrifices his animals; his altar burns wood, cane, “cedar, and myrtle”
 

19.  How do the deities respond to the sacrifices made by Noah/Utnapishtim?
GENESIS:             God “smelled the sweet savor of the clean beast” and offers His covenant (8:20-21)
GILGAMESH:     the gods smelled the “sweet savor” and gathered “like flies.”  Enlil gets mad that humans survived,
                              but he is chided by Ea.  Enlil then blesses Utnapishtim and his wife, granting them immortality
 

20.  How do we know that the gods won’t destroy mankind in the future?
GENESIS:             God offers His covenant, symbolized by the rainbow (8:21; 9:13)
GILGAMESH:     We don’t.  Ishtar offers her necklace, and the gods admit that “these days I shall never forget,”
                              but no promises are made; Enlil was then excluded from the gods and is replaced by Ea
 

21.  What special compensation are the survivors given?
GENESIS:             God tells Noah that “every animal will now fear man” (9:2)
GILGAMESH:      Utnapishtim is granted immortality as recompense when Enlil blesses Utnapishtim and his wife
                              on their knees by touching their foreheads
 

22.  What is the next action taken by the surviving humans?
GENESIS:             Noah drinks and falls drunk and naked in his tent; he curses his son Ham for viewing his father’s naked body
GILGAMESH:      Utnapishtim and his wife establish a new life to the East of civilization as the keepers of human wisdom