The Chaldean Flood Tablets from the city of Ur in what is now Southern Iraq, describe how the Bablylonian God Ea had decided to eliminate humans and other land animals with a great flood which was to become "the end of all flesh". He selected Ut-Napishtim, to build an ark to save a few humans, and samples of other animals.
The Babylonian text "The Epic of Gilgamesh"1,8 and the Hebrew story are essentially identical with about 20 major points in common. Their texts are obviously linked in some way. Either:
Genesis was copied from an earlier Babylonian story, or
The Gilgamesh myth was copied from an earlier Hebrew story, or
Both were copied from a common source that predates them both.
In both the Genesis and Gilgamesh stories:
The Genesis story describes how mankind had become obnoxious to God; they were hopelessly sinful and wicked. In the Babylonian story, they were too numerous and noisy.
The Gods (or God) decided to send a worldwide flood. This would drown men, women, children, babies and infants, as well as eliminate all of the land animals and birds.
The hero sent out birds at regular intervals to find if any dry land was in the vicinity.
The first two birds returned to the ark. The third bird apparently found dry land because it did not return.
The hero and his family left the ark, ritually killed an animal, offered it as a sacrifice.
God (or the Gods in the Epic of Gilgamesh) smelled the roasted meat of the sacrifice.
The hero was blessed.
The Babylonian gods seemed genuinely sorry for the genocide that they had created. The God of Noah appears to have regretted his actions as well, because he promised never to do it again.
There were a number of differences between the two stories:
Noah received his instructions directly from Jehovah; Ut-Napishtim received them indirectly during a dream.
Noah's ark was 3 stories high and rectangular in shape. Two estimated dimensions are 547 x 91 ft. and 450 x 75 ft. The Babylonian ark was 6 stories high and square.
Ut-Napishtim invited additional people on board: a pilot and some skilled workmen.
Noah's ark landed on Mt. Ararat; Ut-Napishtim'sat on Mt. Nisir; these locations are both in the Middle East, and are located few hundred miles apart
In the Bible, some of the water emerged from beneath the earth. And the rains from above lasted for 40 days and nights. A 40 day interval often symbolized a period of judgment in the Hebrew Scriptures. 2 In the Babylonian account, the water came only in the form of rain, and lasted only 6 days.
Noah released a raven once and a dove twice; Ut-Napishtim released three birds: a dove, swallow and raven.