Flood Myth of Epic of Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible

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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
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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 mountains for 150 days. Eventually the ark rested on a mountaintop, but the mountaintops were not shown for three months. To test to see if the waters had receded, Utnapishtim waited for six days to see if his boat would hold onto the mountaintop. Then on the seventh day, Utnapishtim released a dove from a hatch in the boat. The dove came back. Then he released a swallow that also came back. Lastly, he ³loosed a raven...and she did not come back² (p. 38). After the flood ended, Noah also released birds. First, he sent a raven, which flew around until the water dried up. Then he sent a dove, which came back. Noah waited seven days and released it again. This time the dove came back with an olive leaf. Noah waited seven more days; he released the dove again, which did not return.

After testing the earth to see if it was dry, both men disembarked and began their new lives. Utnapishtim made sacrifices to his gods on the mountaintop. Noah also made sacrifices to his god. Utnapishtim¹s gods decided that a flood as a means of destruction was not a good idea. They also
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