Compare and Contrast Gilgamesh and JOB in the Bible | Do My Homework

Introduction

Joseph Campbell, a renowned American mythologist, notes that he did not believe that people go through life searching for its meaning. He argues that people go through life searching for its meaning. The same experience can be illustrated by Job and Gilgamesh. The two characters come from two different cultures and as such, we are better placed to define them. Gilgamesh was a ruler who wielded authority over the Sumerian City of Uruk. In the traditional context, he was believed to be two thirds man and one third mortal (Lawall et al). He had courage like the great wild bull. On the other hand, Job was a man in the Bible. He is popularly known among the Christians for the fate that befell him when God allowed him to suffer. The following presentation will illustrate the characteristics shared by the two characters in their own identity as well as the differences between them. It is therefore true, that the two persons travelled through life in search of its meaning, which they eventually won through perseverance. Job suffers for the love of God, while Gilgamesh does so for Enkidu.

Similarities between Job and Gilgamesh

            Suffering

The story of Gilgamesh and Job has a major similarity in suffering. Both illustrate how human suffering is a trait that is bound to happen in daily life. Job and Gilgamesh did not see suffering coming their way. We can illustrate that death causes suffering in the Epic of Gilgamesh while the book of Job describes suffering as having been caused by sickness, losing of ones possessions and even the death of loved ones (Lawall et al). It is therefore easier to get the meaning of suffering from the two stories and how we can avoid suffering in the near future. At times avoiding suffering may not be easy, but we can at least explain it.

  • The Suffering of Gilgamesh

Enkidu was killed in the battle between him and the serpent. After the incidence, Gilgamesh suffered tremendously. The picture illustrates the mental suffering of Gilgamesh which was not as a result of his action but the serpents. Gilgamesh deeply mourned the death of his companion, Enkidu. He struggled to gain status of being immortal for he wanted to be on the same level as the gods. In his pursuit of being immortal, Gilgamesh was given a plan that was to restore his youthfulness. However, the plant was ceased by the snake and as a result; he mourned the loss of the youth restoring plant (Lawall et al). The magic plant was able to rescue the elders of Uruk from old age and death while at the same time making him immortal.

  • The Suffering of Job

Just like Gilgamesh, Job also suffered. On one particular day, Job rises up to a tune of four messages. The messages bore the news that his livestock, servants as well as all his ten children had all died as a result of a catastrophic incidence. As a sign on mourning, Job tears his clothes as well as shaving his hair as a sign on mourning. Satan later afflicts Job with a terrible skin sores and he struggled to accept his circumstances (Lawall et al). The interaction that Job had between him and his friends indicated the painful irony of his situation. Job is lost in wonders on why the powerful God has allowed the terrible fate to befall him.

            Wealth of Job and Gilgamesh

Job was a prosperous wealthy man of impeccable moral character. He was blessed with great wealth. Job had seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred she asses as well as a great household. He was the greatest man in the whole of the East. The same case can be seen in Gilgamesh. He was the fifth king of Uruk which is modern day Iraq (Lawall et al). He is seen as being a demigod having a super human strength and defended his people from external attack by building the city walls of Uruk.

            The hand of God and goddess in both situations

The king, Gilgamesh, is not protecting his people as he is intended to do. This prompts the old men of Uruk to complain and the gods listen. Aruru, who is the goddess of creation and who created Gilgamesh had to make another person as strong as he was. The person created was Enkidu. On the other hand, God boasts to Satan bout the goodness of Job in the land. Satan responded by telling God that Job could leave him if he was tempted and he will curse God. It was from this perspective that God allowed the suffering of Job through Satan (Lawall et al). God allowed Satan to torment Job in the same way the gods prevailed upon Aruru to tame the powers of king Gilgamesh. The gods responded to the pleas of the people for intervention in creating an equal strength to Gilgamesh while on the other hand, God responded by allowing the suffering of Job.

            The death of Enkidu and the sacrifice of the three friends

Job and Gilgamesh both had friends by their side in their time of distress. For instance, Enkidu who was to come and counter the powers of Gilgamesh soon became his friend. Enkidu finally lost support of the gods due to his relation with the prostitute. Through this fate, the powers bestowed upon him are finally drained and his powers cannot counter those of Gilgamesh. Thus, Enkidu becomes the most trusted companion of Gilgamesh. Enkidu finally fell ill after he had been singled out for death by the gods. He was therefore punished for the killing of Humbaba as well as the killing of the Bull of Heaven. On the other hand, Jobs friend were singled out for death by God (Lawall et al). They had rebuked the power of the most high by telling Job to curse God for his troubles. The wrath of God was finally with them. Unlike Enkidu, they decided to offer a burnt offering through Job to God. They had therefore lost favor with God for He could not have accepted their offering were it not for Job interceding.

Differences of Job and Gilgamesh

            Believe in different God and gods

Gilgamesh believed in a god named Anu. This can be demonstrated by Gilgamesh building a temple for Anu, the god of heavens. He also built a beautiful temple for Anu’s daughter, Ishtar who was the goddess of war and love. We can also see the gods to whom Gilgamesh believe, creating a primitive man named Enkidu. The gods in the Epic of Gilgamesh can be seen intervening with his evil acts. Enkidu is a creation of the gods as an act by Aruru. On the other hand, we see a true belief of Job in the creator of the universe, God. Before Job loses all he possessed, we see a picture of the sons of God as well as Satan presenting them before the LORD. The scenario offers an opportunity in which we can evaluate Jobs God. The God of Job controls the universe within which Satan is present (Lawall et al). His infinite trust in the powerful God offers Satan the opportune time to challenge his trust in God by bringing upon him suffering.

            Job the humble man and Gilgamesh the semi-god

Gilgamesh is presented as a terrifying and all powerful. He had the character of sacrificing the warriors under him at each time he felt like going to fight. He had a bad attitude of raping his nobles’ wives as well as taking whatever he wanted from his people. Furthermore, he fought anyone who was willing to come unto his way. He was not protecting his people as a king by being a humble shepherd. On the other hand, Job was a wealthy man living in the land of UZ with a large family and extensive flocks. He was a blameless and upright man and he was careful to avoid evil in the midst of his life. Unlike Gilgamesh, he did no equal himself to the God who created him hence finding favor with Him (Lawall et al). His trust in the creator of the Universes earned him too much suffering for rejecting sin while Gilgamesh was humbled by being send Enkidu to tame his oppressive style of leadership.

Gilgamesh was a bad king who exhausted his people with wall building as well as womanizing. While Job believed and trusted in the Lord and avoided sin, Gilgamesh upset the world by destroying the sacred monsters of nature. He killed Humbaba and as a result, he was to take responsibility for the death. Job on the other hand pleaded for God to turn back the wrath he had destined for his three friends by accepting to offer sacrifices on their behalf. Job was fed up with suffering that had come to him and as a result, he wanted to die by cursing the day he was born. The case is different with Gilgamesh who did not want to die and even searched on how to be immortal (Lawall et al). We Gilgamesh as being distraught with grief as well as denying death by keeping the body of Enkidu for a week, presumably thinking he might come back. Job on the other hand accepted the fate that had befallen him by accepting that he came with nothing into this world and was to go back with nothing.

Conclusion

The paper has discussed the similarities between Job, a humble man in the Bible and Gilgamesh King of Uruk. Gilgamesh was a king who ruled over his people with much injustice that prompted the gods to send Enkidu to tame his powers. Enkidu arrived and became the friend of Gilgamesh hence annoying the gods who finally killed him. Job is a humble and obedient servant of God who accepted the death of his children and loss of his wealth (Lawall et al). He did not know that his suffering was a battle between God and Satan upon which God finally prevailed. Job did not sin. The difference has been brought out clearly between the two people. The suffering of Gilgamesh was self inflicted while the suffering of Job was from forces that he could not control.

 Work Cited

Lawall, Sarah et al. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Vol.A: Beginnings to A.D. 100, 2nd Edition. W.W. Norton & Co. New York, NY.

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