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A Comparison of Flood Stories

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A Comparison of Flood Stories

The Hebrew Flood story of Noah and his obligation to preserve man kind after God had punished all living creatures for their inequities parallels The Epic of Gilgamesh in several ways. Even though these two compilations are passed on orally at different times in history the similarities and differences invoke deliberation when these stories are compared. Numerous underlining themes are illustrated throughout each story. Humans are guilty of transgressions and must be punished, God or Gods send a flood as punishment to destroy this evil race, a person is selected by the gods to build a craft that will withstand the flood and allow this person to create a new race. An investigation of the inconsistency and similarities of both flood stories exposes the relationship between the Gods and the stories hero, insight on each cultures moral perspective on friendship and values as it applies to the flood, and each stories common origin.

There are many similarities and differences in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew scriptures. In both works you have Supreme beings or a being that has come to the conclusion that the earth and the people that reside on it are wicked. Because of these iniquitous individuals the earth must be destroyed. The supreme beings chose to destroy the earth by flood. In the Epic of Gilgamesh the gods influenced by Enlil their counselor make the decision to destroy the earth “The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the Babel. So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind.” (Norton35). In the Hebrew scriptures the same conclusion was made by God that the earth was evil and would need to be destroyed “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Norton60). In both works the gods or God seem to have the same attitude and feelings after the flood. The Gods show feelings of remorse and grief in the Epic of Gilgamesh Ishtar speaks out in distress “Alas the Days of the old are turned to dust because I commanded evil: Why did I command this evil in the council of the Gods?” (Norton37). In the Hebrew scripture the Lord did not seem to be as remorseful but did acknowledge that what he did may not have been a correct remedy and he would not do it again “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living as I have done.” (Norton 62).

The Epic of Gilgamesh not only told a story of the people of a Sumerian Civilization and the battles of their great ruler. The Epic spoke of current environmental and natural issues “It shows an understanding of ecological processes and the consequences of human action on the earth that anticipates current ecological work.”( Perlin 35)

Both Stories illustrate each cultures morals to a certain extinct. In the Epic of Gilgamesh true friendship and comradery is exemplified through the relationship of Gilgamesh & Enkidu. They desire companionship and closeness “Enkidu is pleased: "he longed for a comrade, for one who would understand his heart” (Brown). Gilgamesh’s want for compassion and Friendship as well it is shown in his dreams and describe by his Mother. “I made it for you, a goad and spur, and you were drawn as though to a woman. This is a strong comrade, the one who brings help to friend in his need. He is the strongest of wild creatures.”(Norton 15) This strong bond shows how the Sumerian feels about friendship and comradery. Enkidu relationship with Gilgamesh is stronger then that of just friend but like brothers. Gilgamesh’s mother Ninsun adopts Enkidu as her son, not only endorsing his friendship to Gilgamesh but also making him Gilgamesh’s brother “ Strong Enkidu you are not the child of my body, but I will receive you as my adopted son; you are my other child like the foundlings they bring to the temple.”(Norton 19)

In the Hebrew culture a principal that is exposed is obedience. Noah was a follower of God. Noah was given specific instructions by God and not once did he questions Gods commands or not has faith that God would do what he had promised. God saw the world was bad and had intended on destroying the earth “God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.” (Beavers) After God came to this conclusion he gave Noah specific instructions on what to do. He instructed Noah on what to make

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