Flood Story of the Bible
of the ancient Near East includes several accounts of a primordial
flood. The biblical flood story, a portion of which is quoted here,
is, however, unique. While in other myths the flood occurs as a
matter of divine caprice, in the Bible God's reasons are moral.
The flood occurs because the earth is "filled with violence." In
other words, humankind has to be destroyed because it has perverted
Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth
was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was
corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.
And God said to Noah,
"I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the
earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am
going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself
an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover
it inside and out with pitch. Make a roof for the ark, and
finish it to a cubit above; and set the door of the ark
in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.
For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the
earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is
the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall
die. But I will establish my covenant with you; and you
shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and
your sons' wives with you. 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.