Created to become a rival to Gilgamesh, he strikes up a friendship with the hero, and together they proceed to a cedar forest guarded by Khumbaba, whom they kill.
With the decision of the two friends to proceed to the forest of cedars in which the goddess Irnina - a form of Ishtar - dwells, and which is guarded by Khumbaba, the 2nd tablet ends.
The 4th tablet contains a description of the formidable Khumbaba, the guardian of the cedar forest.
Encouraged by dreams, they proceed against Khumbaba, and despatch him near a specially high cedar over which he held guard.
This adventure against Khumbaba belongs to the Eabani stratum of the epic, into which Gilgamesh is artificially introduced.
Gilgamesh's conquest of the divine bull was placed under Taurus; his slaying of the tyrant Khumbaba (the prototype of Geryon) in the fifth month typified the victory of light over darkness, represented in plastic art by the group of a lion killing a bull, which is the form ordinarily given to the sign Leo on Ninevite cylinders.