The Epic of Gilgamesh

An Ancient Flood Story


            Discovered in 1853 by Hormuzd Rassam at the palace of Assurbanipal at Nineveh, the Epic of Gilgamesh stands as one of the most complete extra-Biblical flood accounts and is seen as the earliest literary work.


            Take a look at the amazing similarities that exist between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the flood account of Genesis:

                        -The gods decide to send a great flood (Genesis 6:17)

                        -To save Utnapishtim the god Ea told him to build a boat (Genesis 6:14)

                        -He is given precise dimensions of the boat (Genesis 6:15, 16)

                        -The boat was sealed with pitch and bitumen (Genesis 6:14)

                        -His entire family went aboard together (Genesis 7:7, 13)

                        -“All of the animals of the field” boarded (Genesis 7:2, 3)

                        -“All the human beings turned to clay” (in other words died) (Genesis 7:21, 22)

                        -The boat lodges on a mountain (Genesis 8:4)

                        -He releases a dove, swallow, and raven (Genesis 8:7-12)

                        -When the raven fails to return, he opens the ark to free its inhabitants (Genesis 8:12, 13)

                        -Utnapishtim offers a sacrifice to the gods (Genesis 8:20)

                        -The Sacrifice was a sweet smell (Genesis 8:21)


     Gilgamesh is a legendary king of Uruk and is recorded as one of the post-diluvian kings in the Sumerian king list.  Artifacts have been discovered which are associated with Enmebaragesi of Kish and have lent some credibility to the actual historical existence of Gilgamesh. .  Enmebaragesi of Kish is mentioned in the legend of Gilgamesh as the father of one of Gilgamesh’s adversaries.


     The Epic of Gilgamesh, like many other artifacts is contained in several different copies that have been found.  The most recent Akkadian version, dated to 1,200 BC, is also known as the standard version and consists of twelve tablets.  Tablet eleven contains much of the Biblical parallels that are associated with this find.


           “…this discovery is evidently destined to excite a lively controversy.  For the present the orthodox people are in great delight, and are very much prepossessed by the corroboration which it affords to Biblical history.  It is possible, however, as has been pointed out, that the Chaldean inscription, if genuine, may be regarded as a confirmation of the statement that there are various traditions of the deluge apart from the Biblical one…”

New York Times, front page article 12/22/1872


     The Epic of Gilgamesh also contains other Biblical references outside the flood account.  For example:


Garden of Eden parallels

            -Amazing similarities of Enkidu and Shamhat with Adam and Eve

            -Man is created from soil by a god (Genesis 2:7)

            -Man lives in natural setting among animals (Genesis 2:15, 20)

            -He is introduced to a woman who tempts him (Genesis 3:6)

            -Man accepts food from the woman, covers his nakedness, and must leave his former realm and is unable to return

             (Genesis 3)

            -Gilgamesh is robbed by a serpent and loses his chance for immortality as a result (Genesis 3)


Quote from Ecclesiastes

            And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12

            Almost the exact wording is found in the Epic of Gilgamesh. 


     If this has interested you enough to read the Epic of Gilgamesh you may find the complete transcription free online at


            Some may say “Why are you using pagan traditions and manuscripts to prove the Bible’s accuracy?”  The point is that the similarities are so amazing they must have a common origin.  It is common for ancient civilizations to take an actual, historical account and put a mythical twist on it.  Thus it is very likely that the writer/s of the Epic of Gilgamesh were referencing stories that have been passed down through their families and societies.


     The Bible can be trusted and is reliable because the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible writers  (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:19-21).  Although it was written over a period of 1,500 years, with events that take place on three different continents, by around 40 authors (ranging from farmers, fishermen, kings, priests, prophets and more...) the Bible does not contradict itself and is cohesive in its unity (John 10:35, 1 Corinthians 14:32, Revelation 22:19).