The Deluge – Atrahasis vs Noah

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The Deluge – Atrahasis vs Noah

Atrahasis Epic vs Noah’s Ark

The Atrahasis Epic and Noah’s Ark tale are nearly identical tales of the deluge. There is only one notable difference between the tales. In Noah’s Ark there is one God, while there are multiple Gods in the Atrahasis Epic. Chronologically, which came first? The tale of Noah’s Ark was first recorded around 1200BCE. Only after the slaves escaped Egypt. The Atrahasis Epic originates from the lands where those slaves initially came from. The Epic has multiple variations of the same story, dating farther back than 2200BCE (in the Epic of Gilgamesh). It is without a doubt that the Atrahasis Epic is the source of all similar flood myths found throughout the world.


Genesis 6

1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,

3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever,

6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Atrahasis Tablet II

6oo years, less than 6oo, passed

And the country became too wide, the people too

The country was as noisy as a bellowing bull.

The God grew restless at their clamour,

Ellil had to listen to their noise.

He addressed the great gods,

‘The noise of mankind has become too much.

I am losing sleep over their racket.

Cut off food supplies to the people!

Let the vegetation be too scant for their hunger!

Now there was one Atrahasis (Noah)

Whose ear was open (to) his god Enki .

He would speak with his god

And his god would speak with him.

Building the Ark

Genesis 6

13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people

14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[c] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.

16 …Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.

17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life…

18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures…

20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you…

21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Jacopo Bassano

Atrahasis Tablet III

Enki opened his mouth and addressed his servant:

Heed then the message I will speak to you:

…listen now to me, …

Demolish the house, build a boat;

spurn property and save life.

The boat that you are to build …

shall be roofed with sturdy covering like the Apsu

to prevent Shamash seeing inside it,

have it roofed both over and under.

and the pitch tough to impart strength.

Soon I will rain down upon you an abundance of fowl,

a profusion of fish.

the appointed time that I tell you;

enter the boat and close the door of the boat.

Send up into it your grain, goods and chattels,

your wife and family, your kinsfolk, and the master-craftsmen.

Creatures of the plains, all the wild creatures that eat grass,

I will send to you and they will wait at your door.

Atrahasis, having received the command,

assembled his elders to his gate.

The Deluge

Genesis 7

1 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I

have found you righteous in this generation.

2 Take with you… every kind of clean animal… and one pair of every kind of unclean


3 and also… every kind of bird, male and female

11 …on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the

heavens were opened.

12 And rain fell on the earth…

Atrahasis Tablet III

Lean animals and fat animals he stowed in it.

He caught and put on board the winged birds of the heavens

The flood set in

For seven days and seven nights the deluge,

Genesis 8

4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest…

After The Deluge


The flood tale told in the Atrahasis Epic, as well as in the Epic of Gilgamesh, are the source of all flood tales throughout the world. The deluge of biblical times may not have been worldwide, but the tale of 1 man surviving such a flood is. When over 200 different cultures from around the world share a story like this, how is it possible? Could these 200 different cultures have experienced the same exact type of situation and yielded the same exact outcome? Or did this tale actually happen and spread with mankind as they migrated across the world?


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