Sunday, October 22, 2017

Noach vs. Gilgamesh: YKVK and Elokim, Ea and the gods

A quick contrast from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the story of Noach.

In Gilgamesh, there are two parties, namely the council of Great Gods (=HaElohim) who move to destroy the earth via a flood, and Ea (=YKVK ? Ehkeh asher Ehkeh? ), who elsewhere was the creator of humankind, while part of this group and bound by the secret, nevertheless employs a strategem to pass on the news to his servant Utnahpishtim.

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:

Meanwhile, in the Torah, it is Hashem described both as YKVK and as HaElokim who decide to bring the flood. In perek 6:

ז  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶמְחֶה אֶת-הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר-בָּרָאתִי מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה, מֵאָדָם עַד-בְּהֵמָה, עַד-רֶמֶשׂ וְעַד-עוֹף הַשָּׁמָיִם:  כִּי נִחַמְתִּי, כִּי עֲשִׂיתִם.7 And the LORD said: 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and creeping thing, and fowl of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.'

and


יא  וַתִּשָּׁחֵת הָאָרֶץ, לִפְנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים; וַתִּמָּלֵא הָאָרֶץ, חָמָס.11 And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
יב  וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְהִנֵּה נִשְׁחָתָה:  כִּי-הִשְׁחִית כָּל-בָּשָׂר אֶת-דַּרְכּוֹ, עַל-הָאָרֶץ.  {ס}12 And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. {S}

And it is both YKVK and Elokim who inform Noach in order to spare him:


ח  וְנֹחַ, מָצָא חֵן בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה.  {פ}8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. {P}

and


יג  וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים לְנֹחַ, קֵץ כָּל-בָּשָׂר בָּא לְפָנַי--כִּי-מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ חָמָס, מִפְּנֵיהֶם; וְהִנְנִי מַשְׁחִיתָם, אֶת-הָאָרֶץ.13 And God said unto Noah: 'The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
יד  עֲשֵׂה לְךָ תֵּבַת עֲצֵי-גֹפֶר, קִנִּים תַּעֲשֶׂה אֶת-הַתֵּבָה; וְכָפַרְתָּ אֹתָהּ מִבַּיִת וּמִחוּץ, בַּכֹּפֶר.14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; with rooms shalt thou make the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

Then, in perek 7:

א  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה לְנֹחַ, בֹּא-אַתָּה וְכָל-בֵּיתְךָ אֶל-הַתֵּבָה:  כִּי-אֹתְךָ רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק לְפָנַי, בַּדּוֹר הַזֶּה.1 And the LORD said unto Noah: 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation.

In a monotheistic religion, the good and the bad both come from the one, all-powerful God.

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