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Stefanus
18th April 2010, 20:35
Flood Myths - One Flood or Two?

392This little article is just something to clear up a question pondered by many people - when was the great flood?

As I first started reading about ancient mysteries and the different flood myths involved I became confused about the timelines of the different flood myths and why there seemed so much disagreement. I'm sure many other people are kind of confused on this part and are unsure of the answer as well.

Basically, there are 2 flood myths we hear about all the time - not one!

The most famous of them all is that of Noah's flood. There are other heroes of this flood as well, such as Utnapishtim, but I'm sure the name Noah clears it up better for you. This flood took place around 4000 B.C. in the ancient Mesopotamia area - now known as Iraq.

The flood covered about 400 square miles and was largely based between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (Mesopotamia literally means "land between the rivers"). During these times, Mesopotamia was really the only striving civilization around so when they talk about a flood covering the world, to them, Mesopotamia really was the entire world. After the flood, the Sumerian civilization developed and all's history from there.

The other great flood referred to in a hundred other flood myths throughout the world is the one dealing with the sinking of Atlantis. This happened about 10,500 B.C. This one did, literally, affect most of the planet. There are numerous theories on happenings around this time - some including pole shifts and the scientifically accepted end of the last ice age. Studies have shown the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphynx could date to this era.

Hopefully this article clears a little up about the 2 main flood myths. Simply put, one happened around 4000 B.C. in the Persian Gulf area, the other around 10,500 B.C. which changed the world. If I cleared this up for one other person confused like I was, then this article was worth it. It took me a couple years to figure out there were a couple different floods!

by Doug Pineau

Stefanus
2nd May 2010, 18:05
Two flood myths

394 I'd like to continue with my argument. Let's examine the flood myth in Genesis. Did you know that there are actually two flood myths being told at the same time? Together, they contradict each other, but when separated they turn into a coherent story.

In one version (J), God instructs Noah to take into the ark two of each unclean animal, and seven pairs of "clean" animals, for a sacrifice after the flood (Gen. 7:3). It says that the flood was caused by rain alone, and it rains for 40 days and nights. Noah then lets a dove out three times to look for land. First, it returns unable to find land. Second, it comes back with an olive leaf, and on the third try it doesn't come back (Gen. 8:8-12).

In the other version (P), God tells Noah to take two of each kind of animal, whether clean or unclean, onto the ark (Gen. 6:19-20). This version was probably a much older version of the flood myth. The cause of the flood is much more grandiose in this one as well, because the "windows of heaven" and the "fountains of the deep" are broken up (Gen. 7:11) ... and the flood lasts 150 days (Gen. 7:24). After the flood, Noah simply sends a raven to look for dry land (Gen. 8:7).

The first version I mentioned is based off a flood myth called "Atrahasis" (the cuneiform tablet above), and the second is based on "Enuma elish". At the end of "Atrahasis", the gods are attracted by the sweet smell of sacrifice and resolve to never again destroy humanity. Now look at Gen. 8:21. There are actually many variants of the flood myth that predate the Biblical account. The Epic of Gilgamesh is written about 100 years before the Bible's account (1100 BCE); Atrahasis has the most parallels with the Biblical account and is dated at about 1640 BCE; and Sumerian Eridu Genesis which dates back 3000 years BCE.

395The second version of the flood is based off of the worldview of the "Enuma elish." This is evident because of the idea of heaven's windows opening and the opening of the deep. There was a fairly popular concept amongst ancient people that there was a solid firmament that separated chaos from the Earth. In fact, if we read the Genesis creation account you could see that there is mention of it, and that particular section of the creation account is based on the worldview provided by Enuma elish. Here is an interesting drawing of this firmament concept:

In "Enuma elish", Marduk sets his bow in the sky as a sign that the world order is established. Now look at Gen. 9:12-17, where God (El) sets his bow in the sky. The difference in these two versions is that the bow in "Enuma elish" is the star Sirius, and in Genesis it is a rainbow. However, in both stories the placement of both in the sky marks the final establishment of the earth as a settled place.

By Andrew P

Stefanus
14th June 2010, 20:29
The Epic of Gilgamesh

Tablet XI

The Story of the Flood


Gilgamesh has made a long and difficult journey to learn how Utnapishtim acquired eternal life. In answer to his questions, Utnapishtim tells the following story. Once upon a time, the gods destroyed the ancient city of Shuruppak in a great flood. But Utnapishtim, forewarned by Ea (=Enki), managed to survive by building a great ship. His immortality was a gift bestowed by the repentant gods in recognition of his ingenuity and his faithfulness in reinstituting the sacrifice.

Gilgamesh spoke to Utanapishtim, the Faraway:

"I have been looking at you,
but your appearance is not strange--you are like me!
You yourself are not different--you are like me!
My mind was resolved to fight with you,
(but instead?) my arm lies useless over you.
Tell me, how is it that you stand in the Assembly of the Gods, and have found life!"

Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:

"I will reveal to you, Gilgamesh, a thing that is hidden,
a secret of the gods I will tell you!
Shuruppak, a city that you surely know,
situated on the banks of the Euphrates,
that city was very old, and there were gods inside it.
The hearts of the Great Gods moved them to inflict the Flood.
Their Father Anu uttered the oath (of secrecy),
Valiant Enlil was their Adviser,
Ninurta was their Chamberlain,
Ennugi was their Minister of Canals.
Ea, the Clever Prince(?), was under oath with them
so he repeated their talk to the reed house:
'Reed house, reed house! Wall, wall!
O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu:

Tear down the house and build a boat!
Abandon wealth and seek living beings!
Spurn possessions and keep alive living beings!
Make all living beings go up into the boat.
The boat which you are to build,
its dimensions must measure equal to each other:
its length must correspond to its width.
Roof it over like the Apsu.
I understood and spoke to my lord, Ea:

'My lord, thus is the command which you have uttered
I will heed and will do it.
But what shall I answer the city, the populace, and the Elders!'
Ea spoke, commanding me, his servant:

'You, well then, this is what you must say to them:
"It appears that Enlil is rejecting me
so I cannot reside in your city (?),
nor set foot on Enlil's earth.
I will go down to the Apsu to live with my lord, Ea,
and upon you he will rain down abundance,
a profusion of fowl, myriad(!) fishes.
He will bring to you a harvest of wealth,
in the morning he will let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat!"'
Just as dawn began to glow
the land assembled around me-
the carpenter carried his hatchet,
the reed worker carried his (flattening) stone,
... the men ...
The child carried the pitch,
the weak brought whatever else was needed.
On the fifth day I laid out her exterior.
It was a field in area,
its walls were each 10 times 12 cubits in height,
the sides of its top were of equal length, 10 times It cubits each.
I laid out its (interior) structure and drew a picture of it (?).
I provided it with six decks,
thus dividing it into seven (levels).
The inside of it I divided into nine (compartments).
I drove plugs (to keep out) water in its middle part.
I saw to the punting poles and laid in what was necessary.
Three times 3,600 (units) of raw bitumen I poured into the bitumen kiln,
three times 3,600 (units of) pitch ...into it,
there were three times 3,600 porters of casks who carried (vegetable) oil,
apart from the 3,600 (units of) oil which they consumed (!)
and two times 3,600 (units of) oil which the boatman stored away.
I butchered oxen for the meat(!),
and day upon day I slaughtered sheep.
I gave the workmen(?) ale, beer, oil, and wine, as if it were river water,
so they could make a party like the New Year's Festival.
... and I set my hand to the oiling(!).
The boat was finished by sunset.
The launching was very difficult.
They had to keep carrying a runway of poles front to back,
until two-thirds of it had gone into the water(?).
Whatever I had I loaded on it:
whatever silver I had I loaded on it,
whatever gold I had I loaded on it.
All the living beings that I had I loaded on it,
I had all my kith and kin go up into the boat,
all the beasts and animals of the field and the craftsmen I had go up.
Shamash had set a stated time:

'In the morning I will let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat!
Go inside the boat, seal the entry!'
That stated time had arrived.
In the morning he let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat.
I watched the appearance of the weather--
the weather was frightful to behold!
I went into the boat and sealed the entry.
For the caulking of the boat, to Puzuramurri, the boatman,
I gave the palace together with its contents.
Just as dawn began to glow
there arose from the horizon a black cloud.
Adad rumbled inside of it,
before him went Shullat and Hanish,
heralds going over mountain and land.
Erragal pulled out the mooring poles,
forth went Ninurta and made the dikes overflow.
The Anunnaki lifted up the torches,
setting the land ablaze with their flare.
Stunned shock over Adad's deeds overtook the heavens,
and turned to blackness all that had been light.
The... land shattered like a... pot.
All day long the South Wind blew ...,
blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water,
overwhelming the people like an attack.
No one could see his fellow,
they could not recognize each other in the torrent.
The gods were frightened by the Flood,
and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu.
The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall.
Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth,
the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed:

'The olden days have alas turned to clay,
because I said evil things in the Assembly of the Gods!
How could I say evil things in the Assembly of the Gods,
ordering a catastrophe to destroy my people!!
No sooner have I given birth to my dear people
than they fill the sea like so many fish!'
The gods--those of the Anunnaki--were weeping with her,
the gods humbly sat weeping, sobbing with grief(?),
their lips burning, parched with thirst.
Six days and seven nights
came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land.
When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding,
the flood was a war--struggling with itself like a woman writhing (in labor).
The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind (and) flood stopped up.
I looked around all day long--quiet had set in
and all the human beings had turned to clay!
The terrain was as flat as a roof.
I opened a vent and fresh air (daylight!) fell upon the side of my nose.
I fell to my knees and sat weeping,
tears streaming down the side of my nose.
I looked around for coastlines in the expanse of the sea,
and at twelve leagues there emerged a region (of land).
On Mt. Nimush the boat lodged firm,
Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
One day and a second Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
A third day, a fourth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
A fifth day, a sixth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway.
When a seventh day arrived
I sent forth a dove and released it.
The dove went off, but came back to me;
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a swallow and released it.
The swallow went off, but came back to me;
no perch was visible so it circled back to me.
I sent forth a raven and released it.
The raven went off, and saw the waters slither back.
It eats, it scratches, it bobs, but does not circle back to me.
Then I sent out everything in all directions and sacrificed (a sheep).
I offered incense in front of the mountain-ziggurat.
Seven and seven cult vessels I put in place,
and (into the fire) underneath (or: into their bowls) I poured reeds, cedar, and myrtle.
The gods smelled the savor,
the gods smelled the sweet savor,
and collected like flies over a (sheep) sacrifice.
Just then Beletili arrived.
She lifted up the large flies (beads) which Anu had made for his enjoyment(!):

'You gods, as surely as I shall not forget this lapis lazuli around my neck,
may I be mindful of these days, and never forget them!
The gods may come to the incense offering,
but Enlil may not come to the incense offering,
because without considering he brought about the Flood
and consigned my people to annihilation.'
Just then Enlil arrived.
He saw the boat and became furious,
he was filled with rage at the Igigi gods:

'Where did a living being escape?
No man was to survive the annihilation!'
Ninurta spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying:

'Who else but Ea could devise such a thing?
It is Ea who knows every machination!'
La spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying:

'It is yours, O Valiant One, who is the Sage of the Gods.
How, how could you bring about a Flood without consideration
Charge the violation to the violator,
charge the offense to the offender,
but be compassionate lest (mankind) be cut off,
be patient lest they be killed.
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that a lion had appeared to diminish the people!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that a wolf had appeared to diminish the people!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that famine had occurred to slay the land!
Instead of your bringing on the Flood,
would that (Pestilent) Erra had appeared to ravage the land!
It was not I who revealed the secret of the Great Gods,
I (only) made a dream appear to Atrahasis, and (thus) he
heard the secret of the gods.
Now then! The deliberation should be about him!'
Enlil went up inside the boat
and, grasping my hand, made me go up.
He had my wife go up and kneel by my side.
He touched our forehead and, standing between us, he blessed us:

'Previously Utanapishtim was a human being.
But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us,
the gods!
Let Utanapishtim reside far away, at the Mouth of the Rivers.'
They took us far away and settled us at the Mouth of the Rivers."

"Now then, who will convene the gods on your behalf,
that you may find the life that you are seeking!
Wait! You must not lie down for six days and seven nights."
soon as he sat down (with his head) between his legs
sleep, like a fog, blew upon him.
Utanapishtim said to his wife:

"Look there! The man, the youth who wanted (eternal) life!
Sleep, like a fog, blew over him."
his wife said to Utanapishtim the Faraway:

"Touch him, let the man awaken.
Let him return safely by the way he came.
Let him return to his land by the gate through which he left."
Utanapishtim said to his wife:

"Mankind is deceptive, and will deceive you.
Come, bake loaves for him and keep setting them by his head
and draw on the wall each day that he lay down."
She baked his loaves and placed them by his head
and marked on the wall the day that he lay down.
The first loaf was dessicated,
the second stale, the third moist(?), the fourth turned white, its ...,
the fifth sprouted gray (mold), the sixth is still fresh.
the seventh--suddenly he touched him and the man awoke.
Gilgamesh said to Utanapishtim:

"The very moment sleep was pouring over me
you touched me and alerted me!"
Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:

"Look over here, Gilgamesh, count your loaves!
You should be aware of what is marked on the wall!
Your first loaf is dessicated,
the second stale, the third moist, your fourth turned white, its ...
the fifth sprouted gray (mold), the sixth is still fresh.
The seventh--suddenly he touched him and the man awoke.
Gilgamesh said to Utanapishtim:

"The very moment sleep was pouring over me
you touched me and alerted me!"
Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:

"Look over here, Gilgamesh, count your loaves!
You should be aware of what is marked on the wall!
Your first loaf is dessicated,
the second stale, the third moist, your fourth turned white, its ...
the fifth sprouted gray (mold), the sixth is still fresh.

The seventh--at that instant you awoke!"
Gilgamesh said to Utanapishtim the Faraway:

"O woe! What shall I do, Utanapishtim, where shall I go!
The Snatcher has taken hold of my flesh,
in my bedroom Death dwells,
and wherever I set foot there too is Death!"
Home Empty-Handed
Utanapishtim said to Urshanabi, the ferryman:

"May the harbor reject you, may the ferry landing reject you!
May you who used to walk its shores be denied its shores!
The man in front of whom you walk, matted hair chains his body,
animal skins have ruined his beautiful skin.
Take him away, Urshanabi, bring him to the washing place.
Let him wash his matted hair in water like ellu.
Let him cast away his animal skin and have the sea carry it off,
let his body be moistened with fine oil,
let the wrap around his head be made new,
let him wear royal robes worthy of him!
Until he goes off to his city,
until he sets off on his way,
let his royal robe not become spotted, let it be perfectly new!"
Urshanabi took him away and brought him to the washing place.
He washed his matted hair with water like ellu.
He cast off his animal skin and the sea carried it oh.
He moistened his body with fine oil,
and made a new wrap for his head.
He put on a royal robe worthy of him.
Until he went away to his city,
until he set off on his way,
his royal robe remained unspotted, it was perfectly clean.
Gilgamesh and Urshanabi bearded the boat,
they cast off the magillu-boat, and sailed away.
The wife of Utanapishtim the Faraway said to him:

"Gilgamesh came here exhausted and worn out.
What can you give him so that he can return to his land (with honor) !"
Then Gilgamesh raised a punting pole
and drew the boat to shore.
Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:

"Gilgamesh, you came here exhausted and worn out.
What can I give you so you can return to your land?
I will disclose to you a thing that is hidden, Gilgamesh,
a... I will tell you.
There is a plant... like a boxthorn,
whose thorns will prick your hand like a rose.
If your hands reach that plant you will become a young man again."
Hearing this, Gilgamesh opened a conduit(!) (to the Apsu)
and attached heavy stones to his feet.
They dragged him down, to the Apsu they pulled him.
He took the plant, though it pricked his hand,
and cut the heavy stones from his feet,
letting the waves(?) throw him onto its shores.
Gilgamesh spoke to Urshanabi, the ferryman, saying:

"Urshanabi, this plant is a plant against decay(!)
by which a man can attain his survival(!).
I will bring it to Uruk-Haven,
and have an old man eat the plant to test it.
The plant's name is 'The Old Man Becomes a Young Man.'"
Then I will eat it and return to the condition of my youth."
At twenty leagues they broke for some food,
at thirty leagues they stopped for the night.
Seeing a spring and how cool its waters were,
Gilgamesh went down and was bathing in the water.
A snake smelled the fragrance of the plant,
silently came up and carried off the plant.
While going back it sloughed off its casing.'
At that point Gilgamesh sat down, weeping,
his tears streaming over the side of his nose.

"Counsel me, O ferryman Urshanabi!
For whom have my arms labored, Urshanabi!
For whom has my heart's blood roiled!
I have not secured any good deed for myself,
but done a good deed for the 'lion of the ground'!"
Now the high waters are coursing twenty leagues distant,'
as I was opening the conduit(?) I turned my equipment over into it (!).
What can I find (to serve) as a marker(?) for me!
I will turn back (from the journey by sea) and leave the boat by the shore!"
At twenty leagues they broke for some food,
at thirty leagues they stopped for the night.
They arrived in Uruk-Haven.
Gilgamesh said to Urshanabi, the ferryman:

"Go up, Urshanabi, onto the wall of Uruk and walk around.
Examine its foundation, inspect its brickwork thoroughly--
is not (even the core of) the brick structure of kiln-fired brick,
and did not the Seven Sages themselves lay out its plan!
One league city, one league palm gardens, one league lowlands, the open area(?) of the Ishtar Temple,
three leagues and the open area(?) of Uruk it encloses.

Stefanus
14th June 2010, 21:14
The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible

The world’s oldest written document, known as “The Epic of Gilgamesh” has a major section,
that is quite obviously a parallel to the biblical account of the flood. It is different in many
ways but strikingly similar in others. Is the Epic more valid than the Bible as some claim? Was
the Bible derived from the Epic of Gilgamesh, as others insist, at least the part about the flood?

The basic question that one who believes in the validity of the Bible must have is, Which is
correct, the Bible or some Akkadian myth? Or is there a germ of truth in the Epic?

Can one really make that kind of decision without knowledge? There are many mythical characters
in the Epic of Gilgamesh, half-scorpion men, trees that produce jewels, and abusive and
capricious “gods” that descend “like flies” upon the sacrifice of Utnapishtim ( Noah ) on the
mountain “ziggurat,” after the flood. Are these myths to preferred over the Bible’s history?

But setting the myths aside, there are clearly some elements of truth in this ancient book as
well, which we shall soon see....

Read: http://www.wendag.com/Documente/geskrifte/Gilgamesh%20and%20Bible.pdf

Stefanus
18th October 2010, 18:30
Is the Biblical Flood Account a Modified Copy of the Epic of Gilgamesh?

Introduction

Comparing the flood stories in the Gilgamesh Epic and Genesis, one is impressed with the numerous similarities between the two accounts. The common elements between the two have been perplexing for some scholars. Alexander Heidel shows the three main possibilities about the relationship between the two accounts: “first, the Babylonians borrowed from the Hebrew account; second, the Hebrew account is dependent on the Babylonian; third, both are descended from a common original.” Because the Epic written in Akkadian predates the Old Testament written in Hebrew, “The most widely accepted explanation today is the second, namely, that the biblical account is based on Babylonian material.” This theory poses an awkward problem for Christians. While the fact that there are flood legends like the Genesis Flood account in most cultures around the world is used to testify to the reliability of the Bible, the Gilgamesh Epic is used to deny the authority of the Bible because of its predating. According to the extant clay tablets, scholars reckon the time of the first compilation of the Epic in Akkadian around the second millennium B.C. Since there is a Sumerian version behind the Akkadian, the Epic is, “…upon any view of the date of the Book of Genesis, considerably older than the biblical narrative.” Therefore, it is important to explain the relationship between these two accounts.

The flood of the Epic of Gilgamesh is contained on Tablet XI of twelve large stone tablets that date to around 650 B.C. These tablets are obviously not originals, since fragments of the flood story have been found on tablets that date to 2,000 B.C. It is likely that the story itself originated much before that, since the Sumerian cuneiform writing has been estimated to go as far back as 3,300 B.C.
The dating of Genesis is uncertain, since the preservation of papyri is not nearly as good as that of stone. Liberal scholars place the date between 1,500 and 500 B.C.


Epic of Gilgamesh

Here is a brief background of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh was an oppressive ruler of the Sumerians, whose people called to the gods to send a nemesis. One nemesis, Enkidu, became friends with Gilgamesh, and the two went out on many adventures. Enkidu was eventually killed and Gilgamesh then feared for his own life. In his search for immortality, he met Utnapishtim, who had been granted immortality by the gods, following his rescue from the flood. Utnapishtim then recounted the flood and how he became immortal.


Similarities between Genesis and Gilgamesh

Flood occurs in the Mesopotamian plain.
Main character is warned to build a boat to escape the flood
Main character is told to save himself, his family, and a sampling of animals
The boats were sealed with tar
The boats came to rest on a mountain
Birds were released to determine if the waters receded
Main character sacrificed an offering

Differences between Genesis and Gilgamesh

Despite superficial differences, the similarities between the accounts are quite significant. The table below lists most of the differences.




Characteristic | Genesis1 | Gilgamesh2
Reason for flood | human wickedness3 | excessive human noisiness
Response of deity | the Lord was sorry He made man because of his wickedness4 | gods could not sleep
Warned by | Yahweh5 | Ea
Main character | Noah ("rest")6 | Utnapishtim ("finder of life")
Why character chosen | a righteous man6 | no reason given
Intended for | All humans except Noah and his family7 | all humans
Decision to send flood | Yahweh8 | council of the gods (primarily Enlil)
Builders | Noah and family9 | Utnapishtim, his family, and many craftsmen from city
Character's response | Noah warned his neighbors of upcoming judgment as "Preacher of righteousness"10 | Told by Ea to lie to neighbors so that they would help him build the boat
Building time | 100 years11 | 7 days
Boat size | 450x75x45 feet12 | 200x200x200 feet
Boat roof | wood13 | slate
# Decks | 314 | 6
Humans | Noah and family7 | Utnapishtim, his family, and craftsmen from city
Cargo | animals and food15 | animals, food, gold jewels, and other valuables
Launching | by the floodwaters16 | pushed to the river
Door closed by | Yahweh17 | Utnapishtim
Sign of coming flood | none | extremely bright light sent by the Annanuki (collection of Sumerian gods)
Waters sent by | Yahweh7 | Adad, with help from gods Shamash, Shullat, Hanish, Erragal, Ninurta
Reaction of deity to flood | in control of waters18 | gods scrambled to get away from water like "whipped dogs"
Duration of rain | 40 days19 | 7 days
Duration of flood | 370 days20 | 14 days
Boat landing | Mt. Ararat21 | Mt. Nisir
Deity's reaction to human deaths | no regret mentioned | regretted that they had killed all the humans
Birds sent out | raven returns, dove returns second time with olive branch, then leaves22 | dove returns, swallow returns, raven does not return
Offering after flood | one of every clean animal and bird23 | wines and a sheep
Aftermath | God promises not to destroy humanity by flood again24 | gods quarrel among themselves, god Ea lies to Enlil. Utnapishtim and wife given immortality like the gods
Repopulation | Noah and family told to multiply and repopulate the earth25 | Ea and Mami created 14 human beings to help repopulate the earth


Versions of the epic

Standard Akkadian version

The standard version was discovered by Austen Henry Layard in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh in 1849. It was written in standard Babylonian, a dialect of Akkadian that was only used for literary purposes. This version was compiled by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300 and 1000 BC out of older legends.

The standard version and earlier old Babylonian version are differentiated based on the opening words, or incipit. The older version begins with the words "Surpassing all other kings", while the standard version's incipit is "He who saw the deep" (ša nagbu amāru). The Akkadian word nagbu, "deep", is probably to be interpreted here as referring to "unknown mysteries". However, Andrew George believes that it refers to the specific knowledge that Gilgamesh brought back from his meeting with Uta-Napishti (Utnapishtim): he gains knowledge of the realm of Ea, whose cosmic realm is seen as the fountain of wisdom (George 1999: L [pg. 50 of the introduction]). In general, interpreters feel that Gilgamesh was given knowledge of how to worship the gods, of why death was ordained for human beings, of what makes a good king, and of the true nature of how to live a good life. Utnapishtim, the hero of the Flood myth, tells his story to Gilgamesh, which is related to the Babylonian Epic of Atrahasis.

The 12th tablet is appended to the epic representing a sequel to the original 11, and was most probably added at a later date. This tablet has commonly been omitted until recent years. It has the startling narrative inconsistency of introducing Enkidu alive, and bears seemingly little relation to the well-crafted and finished 11-tablet epic; indeed, the epic is framed around a ring structure in which the beginning lines of the epic are quoted at the end of the 11th tablet to give it at the same time circularity and finality. Tablet 12 is actually a near copy of an earlier Sumerian tale, a prequel, in which Gilgamesh sends Enkidu to retrieve some objects of his from the Underworld, but Enkidu dies and returns in the form of a spirit to relate the nature of the Underworld to Gilgamesh — an event which seems to many superfluous given Enkidu's dream of the underworld in Tablet VII.


Tablet eleven

(Note) The earliest Sumerian Gilgamesh stories date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (2100 BC-2000 BC). The earliest Akkadian versions are dated to ca. 2000-1500 BC. The five extant Sumerian Gilgamesh stories do not include a separate account of his journey to Utnapishtim (Ziusudra in Sumerian), but they do refer to it. In a list of Gilgamesh's accomplishments, found in the story of his death, we read of his journey to meet Ziusudra and the cultic knowledge that he brought back to the people of Uruk. There is also a short description of the flood in the same context, as the gods debate whether to grant Gilgamesh eternal life like they did for Ziusudra. The "standard" Akkadian version, of course, included a complete flood story and was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300 BC and 1000 BC. This longer flood story is, itself, based on the one contained in the Epic of Atrahasis (circa 1800 BC). (see Gilgamesh flood myth for references).

Gilgamesh argues that Utnapishtim is not different from him and asks him his story, and why he has a different fate. Utnapishtim tells him about the great flood. His story is a summary of the story of Atrahasis (see also Gilgamesh flood myth) but skips the previous plagues sent by the gods. He reluctantly offers Gilgamesh a chance for immortality, but questions why the gods would give the same honor as himself, the flood hero, to Gilgamesh and challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and seven nights first. However, just when Utnapishtim finishes his words Gilgamesh falls asleep. Utnapishtim ridicules the sleeping Gilgamesh in the presence of his wife and tells her to bake a loaf of bread for every day he is asleep so that Gilgamesh cannot deny his failure. When Gilgamesh, after seven days, discovers his failure, Utnapishtim reprimands him and sends him back to Uruk with Urshanabi.

The moment that they leave, Utnapishtim's wife asks her husband to have mercy on Gilgamesh for his long journey. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of a boxthorn-like plant at the very bottom of the ocean that will make him young again. Gilgamesh obtains the plant by binding stones to his feet so he can walk the bottom of the sea. He does not trust the plant and plans to test it on an old man's back when he returns to Uruk. Unfortunately he places the plant on the shore of a lake while he bathes, and it is stolen by a serpent. Gilgamesh weeps at the futility of his efforts, having now lost all chance of immortality. He then returns to Uruk, where the sight of its massive walls prompts him to praise this enduring work to Urshanabi.


References

Genesis 6-9- The Flood
Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet XI.
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)
The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (Genesis 6:6)
Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. (Genesis 6:1)
These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)
"Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife, and your sons' wives with you." (Genesis 6:17-18)
Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." (Genesis 6:3)
Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did. (Genesis 6:22)
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:4-5)
Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Genesis 5:32)
Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth. (Genesis 7:6)
"This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits." (Genesis 6:15) Cubit is ~18 in.
"Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. (Genesis 6:14)
"You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. (Genesis 6:16)
"And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. (Genesis 6:19)
"As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them." (Genesis 6:21)
Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. (Genesis 7:17)
Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it behind him. (Genesis 7:16)
Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. (Genesis 7:2)
The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:12)
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. (Genesis 7:11)
In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. (Genesis 8:14) (12 30-day months plus 10 days)
In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4)
and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself. So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark. The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. Then he waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again. (Genesis 8:7-12)
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20)
Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, "Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth." (Genesis 9:8-11)
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." (Genesis 9:1)