Babylonian Religion and Mythology

by Leonard William King | 1903 | 52,755 words

An account of the principal facts concerning Babylonian religion and mythology. This account is based upon the cuneiform inscriptions which have been excavated in Mesopotamia during the last fifty-five years....

Chapter IV - The Story Of The Deluge

In the traditions of many races scattered in various parts of the world is to be found a story, under many different forms and with many variations, of a great flood or deluge which in former times inundated and laid waste the land in which they dwelt. The explanation that such traditions refer to a universal deluge which took place in the early ages of the world, is now generally regarded as inadmissible, inasmuch as there is no trace of such a catastrophe in the earth’s geological formation. Moreover science has shown that in the present physical condition of the world such a universal deluge would be impossible. It is not necessary on the other hand to refer all these scattered legends to the direct influence of the Biblical story of the flood. Primitive races, dwelling in low-lying and well-watered districts, in their conflict with nature meet with no more destructive foe than inundation, and amongst such races it would be surprising if we did not find stories of past floods from which but few dwellers in the land escaped. It is probable, however, that the story of the flood in Genesis is responsible for some of the deluge legends, though it is now certain that the Biblical story itself is not original, but was derived from a similar legend of the Babylonians.


The Babylonian Deluge Story.

From the extracts that have been preserved of the history of Berosus[1] we obtain a brief summary of the Babylonian version of the deluge. According to this account, ten Babylonian kings reigned before the deluge, which occurred in the reign of a king named Xisuthros. To this king the god Chronos appeared in a vision and warned him that a flood would take place which would destroy mankind. The god therefore bade him write a history of the world from the beginning, and place it in Sippar, the city of the sun; he was then to build a ship into which he might bring his friends and relations, and every kind of bird and beast. Xisuthros did as the god told him, and the flood came upon the earth. After the flood had begun to abate, Xisuthros sent out birds from the vessel to ‘see if the waters had fallen, but as they found no resting-place they returned. After some days he again sent them out, and this time they came back with mud upon their feet.

The third time he sent them out they did not return. He therefore came forth from the vessel, with his wife, his daughter, and the pilot, and upon the side of the mountain upon which the ship was stranded he offered a sacrifice, and immediately he and his three companions were taken up into heaven. Those who had remained in the ship then came forth, and as they could not find Xisuthros they lamented and called on him by name. He did not appear to them, however, though they heard his voice telling them that he and his companions were now living with the gods. Xisuthros further informed them that the land they were in was called Armenia, and he told them to return to Babylonia and to search for and recover the writings hidden at Sippar. Those that were left carried out his instructions, and found the writings and built cities; and thus Babylon was again inhabited.


Accordig to Berosus.

This legend preserved from the history of Berosus was long supposed to have taken its colouring from the account in Genesis, but it is now admitted that Berosus derived the story from Babylonian sources. On the tablets from Ashur-bāni-pal’s library a very complete form of the legend has been recovered. These tablets date from the seventh century B.C., and the story told on them appears as part of a great poem concerning an ancient hero named Gilgamesh. The poem was divided into twelve sections, each of which was written upon a separate tablet; these are described in detail in the following chapter. It must here suffice to point out that many of the stories comprised in the poem have no organic connection with the original legend of the hero. Gilgamesh was the most prominent heroic figure in Babylonian mythology, and, as with many heroes of the past, his name has formed a centre around which stories and legends of quite distinct origin have gathered in the course of time.


Tsīt-napishtim’ Story.

One such legend is the story of the deluge which occurs on the Eleventh Tablet of the series. The story, of which we give a translation, loses nothing by being taken from its context. It there forms a complete tale related to Gilgamesh by Tsīt-napishtim, who together with his family was saved from the deluge. That the legend had originally no connection with the story of Gilgamesh is sufficiently clear from the artificial manner of its introduction, but, if further proof were needed, it has recently been supplied by the discovery of a broken Babylonian tablet, which contains a version of the story as it was told at an early period of Babylonian history.


An Old Babylonian Version.

The tablet is dated in the reign of Ammizaduga, one of the last kings of the First Dynasty of Babylon, and may therefore be roughly ascribed to about B.C. 2100. It was found during the excavations that were recently undertaken by the Turkish Government at Abu-Habbah, the site of the ancient city of Sippar, and no doubt it represents the local form of the legend that was current in that city during this early period. The tablet is unfortunately very badly preserved, but from what remains of it, it is quite certain that it has been inscribed with a variant account of the story of the deluge.

Even at this time the story was not a short one, for the text is written in eight columns, four on each side of the tablet. In the second column of the tablet a god appears to be giving directions for sending destruction upon men, while in the seventh column, towards the end of the tablet, the god Ea remonstrates with this deity for sending the deluge and destroying mankind; in the last line but one of the text, moreover, the name Atrakhāsis occurs.[2] So little has been preserved of the tablet, however, that its chief interest is derived from the note, or colophon, with which it concludes. From this we learn two very important facts: (1) the name of the composition of which the tablet forms a part, and (2) the date at which the tablet was written.

With regard to the first of these points we find that the story is not described as the Eleventh Tablet of the poem of Gilgamesh, but as the Second Tablet of quite a different composition. We have thus direct evidence that it was inserted into the former poem at a comparatively late period of its literary development. Of still greater interest is the date of the writing of the tablet, for it proves conclusively that an early date must be assigned to the legends which are known to us from tablets written in the seventh century for the library of Ashur-bāni-pal. In this fragmentary version of the deluge story, found upon a tablet which was written more than 1300 years before Ashur-bāni-pal’s time, the internal evidence furnished by the late Assyrian tablets is amply corroborated.


The Barrative of Berosus Compared.

Returning to the account of the deluge preserved in the Gilgamesh poem, we there find a form of the legend which in general resembles the story reproduced from Berosus. We there read that the gods in the city of Shurippak decided to send a deluge upon the earth. In a dream the god Ea revealed their intention to a man of the city named Tsīt-napishtim who, in accordance with Ea’s instructions, saved himself, and his family, and every kind of beast, by building a ship in which they escaped from the flood. The thread of the narrative is identical with that of Berosus, though it differs from it in details. The hero of the story, for instance, dwells in Shurippak, not in Sippar, and the god does not bid him write a history of the world to instruct posterity after the deluge has destroyed all other records.

The warning of Xisuthros by Chronos, however, corresponds to that of Tsīt-napishtim by Ea, and the name Xisuthros finds its equivalent in Atrakliāsis, or Khāsisatra, a name by which Tsit-napishtim is referred to in the speech of Ea at the end of the story. Both heroes, moreover, are deified after coming forth from the ship. With regard to the name Tsīt-napishtim, it must be mentioned that the reading of the first part of the name is still a matter of conjecture, and that some scholars render it Par-napishtim; whichever be correct the meaning of the name appears to be “the “ offspring of life.”


Thīt-napishtim and Atrakhāsis.

It has already been stated that Ea refers to Tsīt-napishtim by the name Atrakhāsis, which means “abounding in wisdom”; and a theory has recently been put forward to account for the occurrence of these two names for the hero of the legend. According to it[3] the story of the deluge in the Gilgamesh epic is made up of two legends which have been interwoven. One was a nature myth describing a universal deluge, and the other a local legend referring to the destruction of a single city. Atrakhāsis is the hero of the nature myth, and Tsīt-napishtim, “the man of Shurippak,” is the hero of the local legend; while both names are given to the hero in the story, as told in the poem of Gilgamesh. The theory is ingenious, but it lacks evidence.


The Gods and the Deluge.

Before proceeding to compare the Babylonian story of the flood with that preserved in Genesis, we give a translation of the former version, so far as the present state of preservation of the text will allow.[4] The whole story is put into the mouth of Tsīt-napishtim, who tells it to Gilgamesh, without interruption, from beginning to end. He begins by describing how the gods in council, in the city of Shurippak, decided to send a deluge upon the earth, and how Ea revealed the secret to Tsīt-napishtim, one of the dwellers in the town.

The opening lines of Ea’s address to Tsīt-napishtim, which begins,

“O reed-hut, reed-hut! O wall, wall! O reed-hut, hear ! O wall, understand !”

has proved a rather puzzling passage to commentators, for it is not quite obvious why Ea should address a dwelling in thi3 manner when he gives his warning to Tsīt-napishtim. The best explanation of the passage seems to be that Ea, before speaking to Tsīt-napishtim, first addresses the hut in which he is sleeping. We know from the end of the story that Ea levealed the secret to Tsīt-napishtim in a vision, and in view of the passage in Ea’s speech, it is not unnatural to suppose that Tsīt-napishtim was sleeping at the time in a hut built of reeds, a common form of dwelling among the poorer inhabitants of Babylonia.

Tsīt-napishtim begins his story thus:—

“I will reveal to thee, O Gilgamesh, the hidden word,
“ And the decision of the gods will I declare to thee.
Shurippak, a city which thou knowest,
Which lieth on the bank of the Euphrates,
That city was old; and the gods within it,
Their hearts prompted the great gods to send a deluge.[5]
There was their father Anu,
And their counsellor the warrior Bēl,
And their messenger Ninib,
And their governor Ennugi.


Ea's Warning to Tsīt-napishtim.

The lord of wisdom, Ea, sat also with them,
And he repeated their purpose to the hut of reeds, (saying) :
‘O reed-hut, reed-hut! O wall, wall!
O reed-hut, hear ! O wall, understand!
Thou man of Shurippak,[6] son of Ubara-Tutu,
Pull down thy house, build a ship,
Forsake thy possessions, take heed for thy life !
Abandon thy goods, save thy life,
And bring up living seed of every kind into the ship.
As for the ship, which thou shalt build,
Well planned must be its dimensions,
Its breadth and its length shall bear proportion each to each,
And thou shalt launch it in the ocean!’
I took heed, and spake unto Ea, my lord, (saying):
‘[The command], O my lord, which thou hast given,
I will honour, and will fulfil.
But how shall I make answer unto the city, the people and the elders thereof ?’
Ea opened his mouth and spake,
And he said unto me, his servant,
‘Thus shalt thou answer and say unto them:
Bēl hath cast me forth, for he hateth me,
And I can no longer live in your city;
Nor on Bēl’s earth can I any longer lay my head. 
I will therefore go down to the deep and dwell with my lord Ea.’”


Ea's Instructions.

The next few lines, which contain the end of the answer which Tsīt-napishtim is to give to the people, are broken, and their meaning is not quite plain. The general drift of the passage seems to be that his departure will bring blessings on the land he is leaving, for Bēl will shower down upon it multitudes of birds and fish, and will grant a plenteous harvest. They will know when to expect their prosperity, for Shamash has set an appointed time, when the lord of darkness, the god Bammān, will pour down upon them an abundant rain. According to this interpretation Tsīt-napishtim is ordered to allay any misgivings that his fellow citizens may feel by assuring them beforehand that the signs of the deluge are marks of coming prosperity, and not of destruction. Some explain the passage by assuming that Tsīt-napishtim is to make no secret of the coming deluge, but to foretell its advent and the destruction of all living things including birds and fish. The former rendering seems to agree better with the earlier part of his answer; otherwise Ea would have told him to say that Bēl hated, not himself only, but mankind at large.

Quite a different version of Ea’s instructions lo Tsīt-napishtim and of his answer to the god is given on another tablet, of which only a fragment has been recovered. According to this version Ea told him to watch for the appointed time and then to enter the ship, wherein he was to bring his corn, and his property, and his possessions, and his family, and his household and handicraftsmen, together with certain cattle and beasts of the field. In his answer to the god Tsīt-napishtim does not ask how he is to explain his action to his fellow citizens, and only seems to be troubled by the practical difficulties of his task. He complains that he has never yet built a ship, and therefore asks the god to trace out a plan of the vessel upon the ground. At this point the version breaks off.

Image: A Babylonian ship. (From a cylinder-seal in the British Museum, No. 89,349.)


The Building of the Ship.

After receiving Ea’s commands Tsīt-napishtim collected the wood and the materials necessary for the construction of the ship for four whole days, and on the fifth day he laid it down. He made the hull in the form of a flat-bottomed barge, 120 cubits in width. Upon the hull he constructed a sort of house or cabin, 120 cubits in height. This great deck-house he divided into six stories, and each story contained nine rooms. The outside of the ship he rendered watertight by pouring six measures of bitumen over it, and the inside he smeared with pitch. He then caused oil to be brought and he slaughtered oxen; and, after filling jars with sesame-wine, and oil, and grape-wine, he held a feast “like that of New Year’s “ Day.” On the seventh day the ship was ready, and Tsīt-napishtim then hastened to carry out Ea’s instructions, and to fill it with all that he possessed.


The Embarkation.

The narrative continues :—

“With all that I had I filled it.
With all the silver I had, I filled it,
With all the gold I had, I filled it,
With all living seed of every kind that I possessed, I filled it. 
I brought up into the ship all my family and household,
The cattle of the field, and the beasts of the field, the handicraftsmen—all of them I brought in.
A fixed time Shamash had appointed, (saying):
‘The lord of darkness will at eventide send a heavy rain;
Then go into the ship, and shut thy door.’


The Coming of the Flood.

The appointed season arrived, and The ruler of the darkness sent at eventide a heavy rain.
Of the storm I saw the beginning;
To look upon the storm I was afraid ;
I entered into the ship and shut the door.
To the pilot of the ship, to Puzur-Bēl the sailor,
I committed the great building,[7] and the contents thereof.
When the early dawn appeared,
There came up from the horizon a black cloud.
Bammān in tlie midst thereof thundered,
And Nabū and Marduk went before,
They passed like messengers over mountain and country.
Uragal parted the anchor-cable.
There went Ninib, and he made the storm to burst.
The Anunnaki carried flaming torches,
And with the brightness thereof they lit up the earth.
The whirlwind of Bammān mounted up into the heavens, and
All light was turned into darkness.”

The tempest raged for a whole day. The waters rose, and all was confusion; men by reason of the darkness could see nothing, and they perished miserably.

The text continues:—

“No man beheld his fellow,
No longer could men know each other. In heaven
The gods were afraid of the deluge,
They retreated, they went up into the heaven of Anu.
The gods crouched down like hounds,
In the enclosure (of heaven) they sat cowering.


Ishtar’s Lamentation.

Then Ishtar cried aloud like a woman in travail,
The Lady of the gods lamented with a loud voice, (saying):
‘The old race of man hath been turned back into clay,
Because I assented to an evil thing in the council of the gods!
Alas ! I have assented to an evil thing in the council of the gods,
And agreed to a storm which hath destroyed my people!
That which I brought forth—where is it ?
Like the spawn of fish it filleth the sea !’
The gods of the Anunnaki wept with her,
The gods were bowed down, they sat down weeping,
Their lips were pressed together . . .
For six days and six nights
The wind blew, and the deluge and the tempest overwhelmed the land.
When the seventh day drew nigh, then ceased the tempest and the deluge, and the storm,
Which had fought like a host.
Then the sea became quiet and it went down; and the hurricane and the deluge ceased.
I looked upon the sea and cried aloud,
For all mankind was turned hack into clay.
In place of the fields a swamp lay before me. 
I opened the window and the light fell upon my cheek;
I bowed myself down, I sat down, I'wept;
Over my cheek flowed my tears.
I looked upon the world, and behold all was sea.


The Stranding of the Ship.

After twelve (days ?) the land appeared,
To the land Nitsir the ship took its course.
The mountain of the land of Nitsir held the ship fast and did not let it slip.
The first day, the second day, the mountain Nitsir held the ship fast.
The third day, the fourth day, the mountain Nitsir held the ship fast.
The fifth day, the sixth day, the mountain Nitsir held the ship fast.
When the seventh day drew nigh, I sent out a dove, and let her go forth.
The dove flew hither and thither,
But there was no resting-place (for her) and she returned.
Then I sent out a swallow, and let her go forth.
The swallow flew hither and thither,
But there was no resting-place (for her) and she returned.
Then I sent out a raven and let her go forth.
The raven flew away and beheld the abatement of the waters,
And she came near, wading and croaking, but did not return.


The Sacrifice.

Then I brought (all) out unto the four winds, I offered an offering,
I made a libation on the peak of the mountain.
By sevens I set out the vessels,
Under them I heaped up reed, and cedar-wood, and incense.
The gods smelt the savour,
The gods smelt the sweet savour,
The gods gathered like flies about him that offered up the sacrifice.
Then the Lady of the gods drew nigh,
And she lifted up the great jewels, which Anu had made according to her wish, (and said):
‘What gods these are! By the jewels of lapis lazuli which are upon my neck, I will not forget!
These days I have set in my memory, never will I forget them!
Let the gods come to the offering,
But Bēl shall not come to the offering,
Since he refused to ask counsel and sent the deluge,
And handed over my people unto destruction.’
Now when Bēl drew nigh,
He saw the ship, and he was very wroth;
He was filled with anger against the gods, the Igigi, (saying):
‘Who then hath escaped with his life ?
No man shall live after the destruction!’
Then Ninib opened his month and spake,
And said to the warrior Bēl,
‘Who but Ea could have done this thing ?
For Ea knoweth every matter!’


Ea’s Protest

Then Ea opened his mouth and spake,
And said to the warrior Bēl,
‘Thou art the governor of the gods, O warrior,
But thou wouldst not take counsel and thou hast sent the deluge!
On the sinner visit his sin, and On the transgressor visit his transgression;
But hold thy hand, that all be not destroyed!
And forbear (?), that all be not [confounded] !
Instead of sending a deluge,
Let a lion come and minish mankind!
Instead of sending a deluge,
Let a leopard come and minish mankind!
Instead of sending a deluge,
Let a famine come and [waste] the land!
Instead of sending a deluge,
Let the Plague-god come and [slay] mankind!
I did not reveal the purpose of the great gods.
I caused Atrakhāsis to see a dream, and (thus) he heard the purpose of the gods.’


Deification of Tsīt-napishtim.

Thereupon Bēl arrived at a decision,
And he went up into the ship.
He took my hand and brought me forth,
He brought my wife forth, he made her to kneel at my side,
He turned towards us, he stood between us, he blessed us, (saying):
‘Hitherto hath Tsīt-napishtim been of mankind,
But now let Tsīt-napishtim be like unto the gods, even us,
And let Tsīt-napishtim dwell afar off at the mouth of the river!’
Then they took me, and afar off, at the mouth of the rivers, they made me to dwell.”

The reader will now have gained a notion of the form of the deluge story current in Assyria during the seventh century B.C., but, before comparing it with the Biblical account, it will be necessary to consider the following facts. The Biblical story is contained in Gen. vi. 9—ix. 17, and, like the stories of the creation given in the first and second chapters of that book, is taken from two separate writings—the “Priestly “writing” and the “Jehovist narrative,” brief descriptions of which have already been given.[8] In the case of the accounts of the creation we have seen that the two stories were not interwoven one with the other, and that one was first given and then the other.

In the case of the deluge on the other hand, the two accounts are not given separately, but have been united so as to form a single narrative. The compiler, however, has made very little alteration in his two sources of information, and has scrupulously preserved the texts upon which he has drawn. Even where the two versions differ from each other in points of detail he has not attempted to harmonize them, but without change has given each as he found it; thanks to this fact it is possible to disentangle the two accounts with absolute certainty.


The Biblical Story of the Flood.

As the text reads at present we find considerable differences in certain passages with regard to two important details of the story, viz., the length of the duration of the deluge, and the number of the animals which were preserved. According to Gen. vii. 10, the flood took place seven days after Noah was told to build the ark; in Gen. vii. 12 and viii. 6, the waters are said to have prevailed for forty days; and according to Gen. viii. 6-12, the waters subsided after three periods of seven days each. These passages give the total duration of the deluge, including the seven days of preparation, as sixty-eight days. On the other hand, in Gen. vii. 11, the flood is said to have begun “in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the “ second month, on the seventeenth day of the month” ; in Gen. vii. 24, it is stated that “the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days”; and according to Gen. viii. 13 and 14, the waters finally disappeared, and the earth became dry in the “six hundred and first year” of Noah, “in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month.”


Two versions in Genesis.

Thus, according to these passages, the total duration of the deluge was more than a year —a statement that is not compatible with the previously cited passages which give the length of its duration as sixty-eight days. The second most striking instance of divergence occurs in the numbers of the animals to be preserved in the ark; according to Gen. vi. 19, Noah is told to preserve two of every sort, while in Gen. vii. 2, Noah is to preserve seven of every clean, beast, and two of every beast that is not clean. These are perhaps the two most striking instances of divergence in the narrative, for they cannot be reconciled except on the supposition that they are the accounts of two different writers which have been interwoven with each other.


Seperation of the Narratives.

Other evidence, such as the occurrence of double accounts of the same episode, each written in a style of its own, points in the same direction; and it is possible on the basis of such evidence to separate the two threads of the narrative. These two threads are so distinct that any one may trace them for himself in the Authorized Version of the English Bible. This will be apparent if we mark with a line at the side of the column the following passages of the narrative: Gen. vi. 9-22; vii. 6, 11, 13-16 (down to “as God commanded him”); vii. 18-21 and 24; viii. 1 and 2 (down to “were stopped”); viii. 3 (from “and after the end”) -5; viii. 13 (down to “from off the earth”); viii. 14-19; and ix. 1-17.

When this has been done and these passages read consecutively, it will be seen that we have a perfectly complete and consistent account of the deluge. If the passages which have been left unmarked are next read, it will be seen that, although one fragment of a verse has been transposed (chapter vii., the second half of verse 16), we have here another complete and consistent account of the deluge.[9]


Summary of the Accounts. / Points of Contrast.

The reader will see that each account repeats phrases characteristic to itself, and each, when separated from the other, contains a consistent and uncontradictory narrative of the event. The “Priestly -writing,” in accordance with its annalistic character, gives exact details concerning the size and structure of the ark, records the depth of the flood in cubits, gives precise dates, by day and month and year, as to when the flood began, when the ark rested upon Ararat, when the tops of the mountains were seen, when the waters were dried up, and also when the earth was quite dry. Episodes peculiar to it are the breaking up of the fountains of the deep as a cause of the flood, the resting of the ark on the mountains of Ararat, and the making of the covenant with the rainbow as its token.

The “Jehovistic narrative” is far more picturesque ; the Lord shuts Noah into the ark, He smells the sweet savour of Noah’s sacrifice, and He says in His heart He will not again send a deluge. The episodes peculiar to this account are the distinction made between clean and unclean animals, the bringing on of the deluge by a heavy rain only and not hy the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, the sending forth of the raven and the dove, the building of the altar and the sacrifice to Jehovah. The chief points of divergence between the two narratives, that is to say, the statements as to the length of the flood’s duration, have been referred to already.


Comparison with the Babylonian Poem.

When we compare the Babylonian account of the deluge with these two versions in the book of Genesis, we see that it contains many of the peculiarities of both. The details with regard to the form and structure of the ship are very similar to those of the ark in the “Priestly writing,” both accounts stating that the vessel was built in stories, and that pitch was used for making it watertight; in both narratives the ark is said to have rested upon a mountain; and Ea’s protest against the sending of a deluge in the future is perhaps the equivalent of God’s covenant with Noah that mankind should not again be so destroyed. On the other hand, many of the features peculiar to the “Jehovistic narrative” also appear in the Babylonian version. Such are the seven days which elapsed between the warning and the coming of the deluge, the cause of the deluge ascribed to heavy rain, the sending forth of birds to test the condition of the waters, the burning of a sacrifice from which a sweet savour rose, etc.


Origin of the Hebrew Versions.

We have therefore in Genesis beyond doubt two independent versions of the deluge story, both originally derived from Babylonian sources, but neither directly copied from the Babylonian version as we know it on the tablets from Ashur-bāni-pal’s library. In the case of the legends of the creation we have already noted indications that they were derived from Babylon at some period prior to the exile, and the arguments there brought forward apply with equal force to the story of the deluge.

It is a striking fact, however, that the latter narrative has not left so strong a mark upon the earlier Hebrew writings as did the Babylonian dragon-myth. In the second half of the book of Isaiah the wrath of Jehovah in sending the Jews into captivity is compared to “the waters of Noah,”[10] and in Ezekiel[11] also there is an interesting reference to Noah, which presupposes a knowledge of the Biblical story of the flood; but traces of the story in the other books of the Old Testament arc not very numerous. Moreover the resemblance between the Hebrew and the Babylonian versions of the deluge is very much closer than that between the corresponding accounts of the creation. These facts indicate a later -date for the adoption of the deluge story by the Hebrews, but a date which may have been centuries before the taking of Jerusalem.

Footnotes and references:


See Eusebius, Chron. I., ed. Schoene, col. 20 ff.


See Scheil, Recueil de Travaux, Vol. XX, (1S98), pp. 55 ff.


  See Jastrow, Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie, Bd. XIII. (1899), pp. 288 ff.


Of Jermeius, Izdubar-Nimrod, pp. 32 ff.; Jensen, Die Kosmologie tier Babylonier, pp. 367 ff.; and Zimmern in Gunkel’s Schöpfung und Chaos, pp. 423 ti.


I.e., upon the city and mankind.


I.e., Tsīt-napislitim.


I.e., the ship.


See above, pp. 110 f.


This will be apparent from the following summaries; we will summarize the marked passages first, which together contain the account of the deluge according to the “Priestly writing”:—Because the earth was corrupt God decided to send a deluge. He therefore warned Noah to huild an ark, giving him precise directions with regard to its size and to the mode of its construction; when it was finished he was told to hring his own family into the ark, and two of every kind of living creature, male and female, as well as food for himself and for them; Noah did as he was commanded (vi. 9-22). Noah was six hundred years old when the flood hegan (vii. 6); in the six hundredth year of his life the flood was caused hy the breaking up of the fountaius of the great deep and hy the opening of the windows of heaven (vii. 11). On the self-same day Noah and his family entered the ark, and he brought in the animals in pairs (vii. 13-16). And the waters increased and covered the high mountains, and the depth of the flood was fifteen cuhits, aud every living creature perished (vii. 18-21). And the waters prevailed for an hundred and fifty days, when God sent a wind to assuage the waters; and the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped (vii. 24—viii. 2). After the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased and in the seventh month the ark rested upon the mdUntains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month, when the tops of the mountains were seen (yiii. 3-5). And on the first day of the six hundred and first year the waters were dried up from the earth (yiii. 13), and by the seven and twentieth day of the second month the earth was quite dry (yiii. 14). And Noah came forth from the ark (viii. 15-19), and God blessed Noah and his sons, and He maoe a covenant that He would uot again send a flood to destroy the earth, and as a token of the covenant He set His rainbow in the clouds (ix. 1-17). Such is the story, complete and consistent with itself, which is given by the marked passages.

The unmarked passages represent the “Jehovistio narrative.” In the marked passages the reader will have noticed that the Divine name used is “God,” which corresponds to the Hebrew word “Elō-“hīiii”; in the unmarked passages he will notice that the word generally used is “the Lord,” representing the Hebrew word “Jahvch” or Jehovah. The “Jehovislic narrative” is not quito a complete account, for its beginning, which contained the command to build the ark, is omitted, douhtless because the “Priestly writing” gives so full an account of it. From what remains of the “Jehovistic “narrative” we gain the following picture of the flood:—Since Noah had been righteous in his generation, the Lord bade him and all his house go up into the ark. Noah was also told to bring into the ark with him seven of every kind of clean beast and two of every unclean hcast, the greater uumher of clean beasts no doubt being taken lo serve as food during the time Noah and his house bold sliould be shut up in the ark. Noah was warned that ia seven days’ time the Lord would cause it to rain upon the earth for forty days and forty nights, and every living thing the Lord had made would be destroyed (vii. 1-5). Noah therefore did as he was commanded; he took the clean and unclean heasts into the ark with him (vii. 7-9) aud the Lord shut him in (vii. 16). As had been foretold, after seven days the flood came upon the earth (vii. 10), aud the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights (vii. 12). And the flood was forty days upon the earth, and the waters increased and bore up the ark (vii. 17); and every living thing was destroyed, except Noah and they that were with him in the ark (vii. 22 and 23). Then the rain from heaven was restrained and tMo waters returned from off the earth continually (viii. 2 and 3), and at the end of foity days Noah opened the window of the ark and sent forth a raven, which flew to and fro and did not return; then a dove, which, finding no reat for the sole of her foot, returned to him. He waited another aeven daya and again he sent forth the dove, which this time brought in her mouth an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah knew the waters were abated. He waited yet another aeveu daya and then again aent forth the dove, which this time did not return (viii. 6-12). So Noah removed the covering of tho ark and beheld that the face of the ground was dried (viii. 13). And Noah bnilt an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord amelled tho aweet aavour, and said in Hia heart He would not again curse the ground nor smite every living thing ; while the earth remained, the natural order of the universe should not he changed (viii. 20 - 22).


Isaiali liv. 9.


Ezekiel xiv. 12-20.

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