In both Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis 6-8, sin subdued the world. Human being had greatly multiplied his evils by rejecting the ways of God and following their own pleasures. God did not like the situation on earth and He sought to terminate the evil deeds that filled the earth with the flood (Sailhamer 314). In both Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis account, God destroyed the first world using water. In both accounts, the description made tend to be similar. According the Epic, God instructed Gilgamesh to build an ark to save the world from destruction whereas in the Genesis account the God instructed Noah to build an ark and preach to the world for 120 years concerning the pending destruction of world (Mueller 307). The two accounts are similar in the sense that the bible and epic are talking about the destruction of the world through floods. Additionally, prior to destruction, God gave instructions concerning the building of the boat in the epic and the ark according to Genesis. Arguably, the instructions given are similar in the sense that the builder of the ark or the boat did not know the right measurements to be used for the purpose that God had instructed. For this reason, they sought God’s wisdom for the purposes of successful completion of the task. The epic of Gilgamesh was written 720-612 BC, whereas Genesis was written in 1400 BC.
In the Bible, the building of the ark took 120 years, whereas the building of the boat in the epic was completed by sunset. These two accounts are dissimilar in the sense that the building of the boat took a shorter time compared to 120 years that Noah took to build the ark. Another issue related to building of the boat and the ark was that in building the boat, builders took wine, beer, ale, and oil whereas in building the ark Noah worked with a few workmen and his family. There was no feast that was conducted during the building of the ark whereas people made feast when they were building the boat.
In the biblical account, after Noah had completed building the ark, Noah spoke to animals and they responded by entering the ark (Mueller 308). On the other hand, the epic states that Gilgamesh parked silver, gold and other precious jewelries into the boat. After successfully completing the work, the workmen pushed the boat into the water. The two accounts are dissimilar because whereas the workmen in the epic pushed the boat into the water, Noah and his people did not struggle to push the ark into the water. Moreover, the bible does not illustrate any instant when Noah or his workmen took the trouble of pushing the ark to the water.
Another difference is that God closed the door of the ark, whereas Gilgamesh closed the door of the boat. These two cases illustrate the power of God in influencing the activities that happened prior to the heavy rainfall after the God had closed the door barring people from entering. On the other hand, Gilgamesh took the prerogative of closing the door of the boat thereby limiting the number of people that could enter the boat. Evidently, in the Genesis account man had no power to control the outcomes whereas in the epic Gilgamesh acted as a wise person. In conclusion, the biblical and the epic have similar and dissimilar accounts.
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Mueller, J. John. Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding Christian Faith. New York: Saint Mary’s Press, 2007. Print.
New International Version Genesis 6-8.
Sailhamer, H. John. The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation. New York: InterVarsity Press, 2010. Print.
The Epic of Gilgamesh. The Story of the Flood.