A Comparison of the Flood of Gilgamesh and the Bible
People grow up listening to the story of Noah and the flood. They remember the length of the flood, the dove, and the rainbow very vividly. However, most people do not realize that the story is told throughout many different cultures and with accounts older than Genesis¹s version in the Bible. Although each of the accounts tells of the flood, there are many variations to the story. One such story can be found in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Although the Epic of Gilgamesh is similar to the Genesis version, there are some differences in the days leading to, during, and after the flood.
The days leading to the flood are different as well as similar in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Genesis version of the flood. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the gods decided to send a flood because the people on Earth were noisy. One man, Utnapishtim, was given a dream by one of the gods because of an oath. Contrastingly, in Genesis, God sent a flood to destroy the evils that man had created. He warned Noah about the flood because Noah was good. Both Utnapishtim and Noah constructed boats to survive the flood. Utnapishtim¹s boat was 120 cubits and a perfect cube. It was completed with seven decks that were divided into nine sections each. On the other hand, Noah¹s ark was three hundred cubits in length, fifty cubits in width, and thirty cubits in height. It had a skylight and a door in the side. It was only three stories high. After the boat was constructed, Gilgamesh ³loaded into her all that I (he) had of gold and of living things, my family, my kin, the best of the field both wild and tame, and all the craftsmen²(p. 37). Noah, similarly, loaded his family, food, and a male and female pair of each animal. Now each group waited for the flood. Utnapishtim¹s rain began that night but stormed the next day. After 7 days, Noah¹s flood began.
During the flood there are several similarities between the two stories. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the flood lasted six days and nights. The whole world looked like an ocean except for the top of a mountain where the boat ultimately landed. In Genesis, ³the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights² (p. 69). The water covered the entire earth including the...