The Mabbul and Mesopotamian Myths
|Sumerian Account |
Epic of Ziusudra
|Babylonian Account |
Epic of Atrahasis
|Babylonian Account |
Epic of Gilgamesh
|Hero||Ziusudra (meaning: finder of long life)||Atrahasis (meaning: exceedingly wise)||Utnapishtim (meaning: finder of eternal life)||Noach (meaning: rest)1|
|Placement in Primeval History||Hero is the 9th or 10th king from creation.2||Hero is the 10th generation of humans from creation.|
|Reason for flood||Missing section3||Mankind is too noisy |
"The land was bellowing like wild oxen, and the god was disturbed by their uproar. Enlil heard their noise and addressed the great gods: The noise of humankind is too loud for me..."
|No reason given |
"The hearts of the great gods moved them to inflict the Flood."
|Corruption of mankind |
"כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וְכָל יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ רַק רַע כָּל הַיּוֹם."
|Reason for salvation of hero||Ziusudra is described as a priest serving the gods but no direct connection is made.||No reason given||No reason given||Righteousness of Noach |
"נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה בְּדֹרֹתָיו אֶת הָאֱלֹהִים הִתְהַלֶּךְ נֹחַ."
|Telling the Hero||Head god wants to keep the flood a secret; flood hero is told furtively by a lesser god.||Direct command to build ark. Hashem explains why He is about to destroy mankind. |
"וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים לְנֹחַ קֵץ כָּל בָּשָׂר בָּא לְפָנַי כִּי מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ חָמָס מִפְּנֵיהֶם וְהִנְנִי מַשְׁחִיתָם אֶת הָאָרֶץ. עֲשֵׂה לְךָ תֵּבַת עֲצֵי גֹפֶר..."
|Hero telling others||[missing]||Hero lies to others about the reason for his building.||Not in the text.4|
|Description of Boat||[missing]||Boat, roof, pitch and bitumen.||Boat, square dimensions given, roof, 7 levels, 9 compartments per level, covered with bitumen and pitch.||Ark, non-square dimensions given, 3 levels, compartments (קנים), covered with pitch.|
|Who is brought to the boat and saved?||[missing]||Told to bring grain, goods and chattels, family, craftsmen, animals and birds.||Hero brings gold, silver, animals, craftsmen, and his own family to the boat.||Hero brings pairs of impure animals and sevens of pure animals and his own family.|
|Closing of Door||[missing]||Hero seals the door. |
"I boarded the ship and battened up the gate." (EG)
|Hashem seals the door. |
"וַיִּסְגֹּר ה' בַּעֲדוֹ."
|Description of Flood||Stormy winds and flood |
"All the evil winds, all stormy winds gathered into one and with them, then, the flood was sweeping over the cities"
|Ferocious winds, roaring, darkness |
"Adad was roaring in the clouds; the winds became ferocious… People could not see one another; The flood bellowed like a wild ox,while the wind howled like a whinnying wild ass. The darkness was thick…"
|Storm with winds and thundering, darkness |
"A black cloud rose up from the horizon. Inside it Adad thunders… Turning to blackness all that had been light… No one can see his fellow… Six days and six nights blows the flood wind, as the south-storm sweeps the land."
|Rain from heavens and springs |
"בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה נִבְקְעוּ כָּל מַעְיְנֹת תְּהוֹם רַבָּה וַאֲרֻבֹּת הַשָּׁמַיִם נִפְתָּחוּ."
|Length of Rain||7 days and 7 nights||7 days and nights||6 days and nights5||40 days and nights (water remains high 150 days)|
|Reaction of Gods during flood||Trembling, hungering and thirsting |
"The noise of the flood caused the gods to tremble... The Anunnaki, the great gods, sat hungering and thirsting."
|Fearful, weeping, thirsting |
"The gods were frightened by the Flood... The gods were cowering like dogs... the gods humbly sat weeping... their lips burning, parched with thirst."
|Ark rests||[missing]||Mt. Nimush||Ararat|
|Sending of Birds||[missing]||Dove, swallow, raven sent 7 days after landing.||Raven and 3 doves sent at 7 day intervals.|
|Leaving Boat||Ziusudra drills a hole.||[missing]||Gilgamesh determines when to leave.||Hero leaves upon Hashem's command.|
|Sacrifices||Hero brings sacrifices||Hero brings sacrifices, gods smell fragrance and swarm over them like flies. |
"The gods smelled the savour, The gods smelled the sweet savour, The gods crowded like flies about the sacrifice." (EG)
|Hero brings sacrifices and Hashem smells fragrance. |
"וַיָּרַח ה' אֶת רֵיחַ הַנִּיחֹחַ."
|Post–flood reaction of gods||[missing]||Head god furious that some have survived. |
"As soon as Enlil arrived, And saw the ship, Enlil was wroth, He was filled the wrath against the Igigi gods: 'Has some living soul escaped? No man was to survive the destruction!'" (EG)
|Hashem makes a covenant never to send another all-devastating flood. |
"וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת בְּרִיתִי אִתְּכֶם וְלֹא יִכָּרֵת כָּל בָּשָׂר עוֹד מִמֵּי הַמַּבּוּל וְלֹא יִהְיֶה עוֹד מַבּוּל לְשַׁחֵת הָאָרֶץ."
|Hero's end||Ziusudra given eternal life, like the gods. |
"And An and Enlil after honoring him were granting him life like a god's..."
|Utnapishtim given eternal life, like the gods. |
"Thereupon Enlil… touched our foreheads to bless us: ‘Hitherto Utnapishtim has been but human. Henceforth Utnapishtim and his wife shall be like unto us gods'."
|Noach remains mortal.|
|Blessing of Progeny||none||New solutions reached for population (and thus noise) control.||none||Hashem blesses Noach to be fruitful and multiply. |
"וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת נֹחַ וְאֶת בָּנָיו וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ."