The Chaldean Flood Tablets from the city of Ur in what
is now Southern Iraq, describe how the Bablylonian God Ea had decided to eliminate humans
and other land animals with a great flood which was to become "the end of all
flesh". He selected Ut-Napishtim, to build an ark to save a few humans, and samples
of other animals.
The Babylonian text "The Epic of
Galgamesh" and the Hebrew story of Noah's Flood are essentially identical with
about 20 major points in common:
- The Genesis story describes how mankind had become
obnoxious to God; they were hopelessly sinful and wicked. In the Babylonian story, they
were too numerous and noisy.
- The Gods (or God) decided to send a worldwide
flood. This would drown men, women, children, babies and infants, as well as eliminate all
of the land animals and birds.
- The Gods (or God) knew of one righteous man,
Ut-Napishtim or Noah.
- The Gods (or God) ordered the hero to build a
multi-story wooden ark (called a chest or box in the original Hebrew).
- The hero initially complained about the assignment
to build the boat
- The ark would be sealed with pitch.
- The ark would have with many internal compartments
- It would have a single door
- It would have at least one window.
- The ark was built and loaded with the hero, a few other
humans, and samples from all species of other land animals.
- A great rain covered the land with water.
- The mountains were initially covered with water.
- The ark landed on a mountain in the Middle East.
- The hero sent out birds at regular intervals to find if
any dry land was in the vicinity.
- The first two birds returned to the ark. The third bird
apparently found dry land because it did not return.
- The hero and his family left the ark, ritually killed an
animal, offered it as a sacrifice.
- God (or the Gods in the Epic of Gilgamesh) smelled the
roasted meat of the sacrifice.
- The hero was blessed.
- The Babylonian gods seemed genuinely sorry for the
genocide that they had created. The God of Noah appears to have regretted his actions as
well, because he promised never to do it again.
The were also a number of differences between the two
- Noah received his instructions directly from Jehovah;
Ut-Napishtim received them indirectly during a dream.
- Noah's ark was 3 stories high and rectangular in shape.
Two estimated dimensions are 547 x 91 ft. and 450 x 75 ft. The Babylonian ark was 6
stories high and square.
- Ut-Napishtim invited additional people on board: a pilot
and some skilled workmen.
- Noah's ark landed on Mt. Ararat; Ut-Napishtim'sat on Mt.
Nisir; these locations are both in the Middle East, and are located few hundred miles
- In the Bible, some of the water emerged from beneath the
earth. And the rains from above lasted for 40 days and nights. A 40 day interval often
symbolized a period of judgment in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Babylonian account,
the water came only in the form of rain, and lasted only 6 days.
- Noah released a raven once and a dove twice;
Ut-Napishtim released three birds: a dove, swallow and raven.