Historical Genesis

From Adam To Abraham

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Chapter 14 - Fountains of the Deep

The phrase "fountains of the deep" (Gen. 7:11; 8:2) has been a major contributor to the global flood idea. Visions of great, oceanic, water-spewing volcanoes have been conjured up to rationalize this phrase, and to account for the massive amount of water needed for a universal deluge.

Genesis 7:10-12: "And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."

Utnapishtim: "A black cloud came up from out the horizon. Adad thunders within it, while Shullat and Hanish go before, coming as heralds over hill and plain; Erragal tears out the masts, Ninurta comes along (and) causes the dikes to give way; ..." (Skipping some lines.) "Six days and six nights the wind blew, the downpour, the tempest, (and) the flo

Analyses of the flood layers at the excavated city sites found only those elements that could be expected from the waters of the Euphrates. No remains of any salt water creatures were present, which indicates none of the flooded cities were inundated by sea water.

Earlier, we examined the Septuagint version where the word "fountain" appears rather than "mist" in Genesis 2:6. We saw this refers to an irrigation system in all likelihood. Here "fountains of the deep" again points to irrigation. The Hebrew word for "deep" can mean the sea, it can refer to subterranean waters, or it can mean the depths of a river.

In the Atrahasis epic, an extended period of draught preceded the rain. During the waiting period, the weather was hot and dry. No water flowed in the canals. The fields were parched. The phrases "fountains of the deep" or "fountain of the deep" appears four times. In all instances, fountain(s) pertains to "fields," as in this example:


The fields were directly affected by the draught, not receiving the "flood" of water that normally flowed through the canals, dikes, and levies used for irrigation. In the parallel Gilgamesh account, Ninurta was the "lord of the wells and irrigation works." It was this same network of canals so essential in southern Mesopotamia that was decimated when the flood came and the "fountains of the deep" were "broken up." So, we now should know precisely what the phrase "fountains of the deep" means. The expression is defined by usage, and was employed by Semites before the Genesis narrative was recorded.