Enki and Enlil
By Dan Ward
According to the ancient Sumerian texts, the Sumerian god, Anu, the “supreme Lord of the Sky”, the currently reigning titular head of the Sumerian Family Tree, had two sons. They were Enki (Ea), Lord of the Earth and Waters (whose mother was Antu), and Enlil (Ilu), Lord of the Air and Lord of the Command (whose mother was Ki). These two half-brothers — surprise, surprise — did not get along.
Critical to their rivalry — particularly from Earth’s viewpoint — was the fact that Enki had been the first of the Anunnaki to hazard a trip to Earth to begin a mining operation for gold. When this effort did not apparently produce gold in sufficient quantities, Enlil was brought in, given command, and armed with a new plan (an early version of the New Deal). The revised program was to mine gold from deep mines in the Earth.
According to Sumerian texts (as detailed in Genesis of the Grail Kings ), during a visit by their father, Anu (the archetypal absentee landlord), the Anunnaki made a decision:
“The gods had clasped their hands together,
Had cast lots and had divided.
Anu then went up to heaven.
To Enlil the Earth was made subject.
The seas, enclosed as with a loop,
They had given to Enki, the Prince of Earth.”
Sounds fair. However. As Laurence Gardner points out: “Enki was not happy about his brother’s promotion because, although Enlil was the elder of the two, his mother (Ki) was Anu’s junior sister, whereas Enki’s mother (Antu) was the senior sister. True kingship, claimed Enki, progressed as a matrilineal institution through the female line, and by this right of descent Enki maintained that he was the first born of the royal succession.”
“I am the great brother of the gods.
I am he who has been born as the first son of the divine Anu.”
If there is a philosophy of Enki, it manifests and explains itself in early Mesopotamian and Egyptian thought, where the true creator of the universe was manifest within nature, and that nature enveloped both the Anunnaki and the humans. Nature, as the Great Mother, was still supreme, despite any patriarchal scheme to the contrary. Admittedly, Enki’s claim of his birthright, the one being based on a matrilineal succession — essentially the mitochondrial DNA link, which is wholly passed through the female line — was in Enki’s best interests. But Enki was also the maternal grandfather who came to the aid of Inanna when things went badly during her Descent into the Underworld.
With the arrival of Enlil, however, who in his best interests must demean the matriarchal line of succession, and thus nature itself — everything changed. The Great Mother was dethroned and replaced by a supreme male (as opposed to a male consort for the Queen). The idea of cooperation — as exemplified by the council of Anunnaki making cooperative decisions — was quickly replaced by competition, and harmony was forsaken in favor of subservience. The supreme god became abstract, and any physical connection with human or nature was lost — and thus the link between nature and human also destroyed. When Enlil hit town, there was a whole new deal put into effect.
According to Laurence Gardner, “The dominant tenet of the new thought was based wholly on the utmost fear of Enlil, who was known to have instigated the great Flood [or else acquiesced in not warning the humans, or making any attempt to save them], and to have facilitated the invasion and destruction of civilized Sumer. Here was a deity who spared no mercy for those who did not comply with his dictatorial authority.
“Abraham had experienced the vengeful Enlil first hand at the fall of Ur, and he was not about to take any chances with his own survival. He was even prepared to sacrifice the life of his young son, Isaac, to appease the implacable God (Genesis 32:9).” “The oriental scholar Henri Frankfort summarized the situation by making the point that… ‘Those who served Jehovah must forego the richness, the fulfillment, and the consolation of a life which moves in tune with the great rhythms of the earth and sky.”
Bramley  has noted that, “We therefore find Ea [Enki] as the reputed culprit who tried to teach early man (Adam) the way to spiritual freedom. This suggests that Ea intended his creation, Homo sapiens, to be suited for Earth labor, but at some point he changed his mind about using spiritual enslavement as a means.”
From a Biblical perspective, it was Enki who (with the critical assistance of his half-sister, Ninki, aka Nin-khursag) created Adam and Eve. It was Enlil, on the other hand, who created “Edin”. Enki was the serpent in the garden, who urged Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (which was infinitely beneficial to their spiritual growth). It was Enlil, who drove them out of Edin, while Enki was there to clothe them. It is worth noting that Zecharia Sitchin claims that the biblical word for “snake” is nahash, which comes from the root word NHSH, and which means “to decipher, to find out.” In other words, Enki, the God of Wisdom.
In the time of Noah, it was Enlil who either created the Great Deluge/Flood as a means of wiping out mankind (because they supposedly made too much noise), or else refused to warn the humans or do anything to save them or help them to save themselves. Enki, on the other hand, apparently against orders of the Anunnaki (who Enlil now controlled), provided the plans for Noah to build his Ark, and thus save him, his family (and likely a fair number of helpful artisans and their families). Enki included as well the seed of other living things (a “natural” kind of thing to do).
In the Sumerian texts, we have the stories of Enki and Enlil, and for the most part there is portions devoted to each. But in Genesis, Enlil seemingly reigns supreme. Enlil knew early on, that a pound of good Public Relations effort is worth a ton of truth.
Abraham and his descendants served Enlil, and followed his precepts. The Egyptians, on the other hand, were Enki’s protégés, and based on food management practices during the devastating droughts around the time of Jacob and Joseph, were doing a lot better than Enlil’s followers. Obviously Noah backed the right horse in that Enki shared plans with the righteous fellow — whom Enlil later claimed as his own.
But at one point, circa 2000 B.C.E., all hell broke loose. In an all out war of Enki’s humans against Enlil’s humans — complete with all manner of diplomatic subterfuge in the mix — Sodom and Gomorrah took the brunt of the action and were destroyed. By nuclear weaponry! They were A-bombed. The decision for this, however, was not, as you might have expected, due to Enlil’s instigation. Instead, it was due to the actions of his sons, Ninurta and Ningal. The (radioactive) fallout of their actions then resulted in the final destruction of the Sumerian civilization (circa 2000 B.C.E.). Curiously, this event in the Annals of Earth turned out to be something of a Waterloo for Enlil. Not that the guy (dba “God”) fled the scene, but thereafter, the idea of unilateral actions was a bit more constrained. Enlil was no longer the undisputed Lord of the Command among his peers.
Which might be just as well. As Laurence Gardner phrased it: “This muddled and unparalleled concept of Jehovah being right when he was wrong, honest when he was dishonest, was born out of an inherent fear of his vengeful power and unbounded wrath. Whether as Jehovah (in Genesis) or as Enlil (in Mesopotamian record) it was he who had instigated the Semitic invasions which led to the ‘confusion of tongues’ and the fall of Sumer. It was he who had brought about the devastating Flood, and it was he who had leveled the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah — not because of their wickedness, as related in Genesis (18-19), but because of the wisdom and insight of their inhabitants, as depicted in the Coptic Paraphrase of Shem.”
This latter event is critical as another turning point in the Enki and Enlil warfare, as it reflects a time, circa 600 B.C.E., when Enlil was stepping back from the overt control of Earth. (A fact which does not necessarily imply stepping back from covert control!)
Zecharia Sitchin has taken a different, decidedly pro-Jehovah, pro-Enlil approach in his writings. While admitting to the complicity of Enlil’s sons in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Sitchin tends to blame the female (i.e. Inanna) for seducing King Shulgi of Ur (and thus destroying a once thriving civilization). Sitchin also charges Enki’s son, Marduk, who became the Babylonian god, with being perhaps the prime culprit of all the bad news that was extant in what Sitchin refers to as “The Fateful Century” (2123 – 2023). At one point in his book, The Wars of God and Men, Sitchin writes: “There was great jubilation in the land when the great temple was rededicated to Enlil and Ninlil [Enlil’s wife], in the year 1953 B.C.E.; it was only then that the cities of Sumer and Akkad were officially declared habitable again.”
And just guess who was responsible for their being uninhabitable in the first place!?
To appreciate the continuing sage of Enki versus Enlil, it is instructive to note their place in the Sumerian Family Tree, aka the “Grand Assembly of the Anunnaki”.
Marduk (who would become the god of the Babylonians) was Enki’s first born, and that of Enki’s wife, the goddess Damkina. Enki’s other wife was his half-sister, Nin-khursag (meaning “Mountain Queen”), the Lady of Life, also known as Nin-mah, the Great Lady.
Enlil was also espoused to Nin-khursag and their son was Ninurta (Ningirsu), the Mighty Hunter. By another wife, Ninlil (Sud), Enlil had a second son, Nanna (Suen), known as the Bright One. Nanna and his wife, Ningal, were the parents of Inanna (who was called Ishtar by the Babylonians), and who married the Shepherd King Dumu-zi (the latter given in the Semitic Old Testament book of Ezekiel 8:14 as Tammuz).
Another son of Enlil and Ninlil was Nergal (Meslamtaea), King of the Underworld. He married Eresh-kigal, the Queen of the Netherworld, the daughter of Nanna and Ningal (i.e. Inanna’s sister), and the mother of Lilith (who became handmaiden to Inanna, her maternal aunt). Lilith is also notorious as the first wife of Adam, but it was Lilith who rejected him (and thus incurred the wrath of every reject-worthy male on the planet).
By some accounts, Inanna was also the granddaughter of Enki (as well as Enlil). This strange situation was critical in Inanna’s classic tale of her Descent into the Underworld. (I.e. Enlil turned a blind eye, while Enki saved Inanna’s lovely little fanny.) Even more crucial to the plot was the fact that Inanna was also a favorite of the supreme Anu. Thus she was never, never at a loss as to what she thought she could do and get away with. Her story has been well told two books by Susan Ferguson: Inanna Returns and Inanna, Hyperluminal. (Ms. Ferguson does include Enki’s son, Marduk, as the bad guy, but on the other hand, keeps Enki as a favorite. She can do that. It’s her books.)
Speaking of Marduk, not only was he the arch-enemy of Inanna (thus explaining Susan’s plotting), but Marduk thoroughly angered just about everyone about him. Even his father, Enki, must have wondered where he went wrong in raising his first son — a question not uncommon to any father. At the same time, it must be admitted, Marduk was without question a serious pain in the rear (and elsewhere) for Enlil, and thus Enki might have had moments of genuine pride.
Just as Enki may have been given temporary, overt control over the Earth during the Age of Pisces, Marduk, who was identified with the planet Mars, and thus the astrological sign of Aries, had assumed he would be in charge during the Age of Aries. Depending on the time allotted to each sign — whether it is 1/12th, or more likely the actual time spent in the sign — Marduk’s Age of Aries likely ran from roughly 2,000 B.C.E. to about 600 B.C.E. This was his time, therefore, and The Wars of Gods and Men told by Sitchin was in large part Marduk’s attempts to wrest control from Enlil, and the Anunnaki who supported the latter. The fact that it became a very messy war was not necessarily Marduk’s fault.
For the fact remains that, circa 1950 B.C.E., after Enlil’s son, Ninurta, had failed to rally the Anunnaki troops on his own behalf — and thoroughly bombed on his venture to Sodom and Gomorrah — Marduk finally got his chance.
“Lord Anu, lord of the gods who from Heaven came to Earth,
and Enlil, lord of Heaven and Earth
who determines the destinies of the land,
Determined for Marduk, the firstborn of Enki,
the Enlil-functions over all mankind;
Made him great among the gods who watch and see,
Called Babylon by name to be exalted, made it supreme in the world;
And established for Marduk, in its midst, an everlasting kingship.”
Marduk, from Babylon, ultimately took vengeance on the Enlil supporters known as the Hebrews, who had opposed Marduk’s reign, and they thereafter spent seventy years in captivity. During this time, Enlil never raised a hand to assist them. In Enlil’s view, they were quite expendable. Obviously, someone — unlike their ancestral patriarch, Noah, had failed to back the right horse.
For sometime (i.e. the Age of Aries), Marduk took over Enlil’s subjugation of the humans — politics of the slavery kind made strange bedfellows. But the Age of Aries (unlike the Age of Pisces) was mercifully short. And it had the decided advantage of prepping the Anunnaki for Enki’s take over about 600 B.C.E., when the Age of Pisces began.