SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GILGAMESH FLOOD AND NOAH’S FLOODS
Gilgamesh refers to a hero of the Sumerian Epic myths. The Gilgamesh flood is a mythical story which explains how god Enlil used a ferocious flood to punish mankind. The biblical flood however, emanates from the ancient Jewish doctrine which teaches of the wrath of an almighty God descending upon mankind in the form of a flood due to their constant rebellion against His laws. Even though these two flood stories originate from different cultures, societal backgrounds and historic timings; they have a number of similarities and contrasts as portrayed in this research work.
Both Biblical and Gilgamesh floods share a central symbol of judgment and God’s wrath befalling the rebellious mankind. In fact, in Genesis 6, God told his faithful servant Noah that he would not relent to wipe the entire world by a flood due their transgressions and their sinful nature. In a similar manner, Gilgamesh god, Enlil advised Utnapishtim the steadfast servant of god Ea to build a huge boat as many people were to be punished by the fierce flood due to their transgressions.
In both cases the gods and God have few righteous individuals whom they use to warn the people of their pending judgement. For instance, in Gilgamesh, god Ea uses Utnapishtim while in the biblical flood; God uses his faithful servant Noah. In both cases they are used to warn the people and to construct the arks. However, in both stories they are despised and mocked by the people and in the long run only a few people are rescued from the menace.
In both cases it’s evident that most mankind and other life forms were destroyed by the floods and the earth was literally cleaned from its past sinful state. Mankind appeared to have suffered God’s wrath due their wicked ways and were forced to abandon their evil ways to follow the righteous path.
Even though these flood stories have a number of similar ideas, they also bear a lot of contrasting issues as discussed here below. For example, the period under which both arks were constructed largely differed since Noah’s ark took several years to build while Utnapishtim’s ark took only a single day to construct. On the other hand, the number of occupants of both arks largely differed in both biblical and Gilgamesh flood stories e.g. Noah’s ark was only occupied by his family and all animals while Utnapishtim’s ark was occupied by many people. On the other hand, the culmination of Gilgamesh flood was symbolised by the appearance of a stone while ending of the biblical flood was symbolised by a rainbow which appeared in the sky after forty day and nights.
However similar and dissimilar these flood accounts are, mankind are compelled to learn that there is always a God who created and watches over our lives, and that this God could turn any form of nature into a disaster in our lives upon our transgressions of his laws. From the two flood stories we should learn that our God’s wrath is inevitable.