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Of each clean animal,

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you shall take seven, seven,

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a man and his woman,

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and of the animals that are not clean, two, a man and his woman.


Of each of the clean animals, you shall take in seven, i.e. seven pairs, each pair being a male and his respective female, and of the unclean animals, take in two, a male and his respective female.


1: "animals"

This word is usually used of “large quadrupeds, cattle, sometimes a designation for all animals (as it is used here) and sometimes of wild animals.”

2: "seven, seven":

The word seven is used twice in a row, as if to clarify the meaning, yet the next word appears to be omitted and left to be assumed by its context (see the paraphrase). The same construction is used in the next verse (“seven, seven”), but it is not used of the number two. In this enigmatic way the texts seems to be telling us that Noah was commanded to take two of most animals (a male and his female), but seven pairs (seven males and their females) of each clean animals which will be used for sacrifices.

What gives us perplexity in this verse is that one method of counting is used of the clean animals (counting the male and assuming the female came with him), and a different method for counting the unclean animals (counting two animals, one being the male and the other being his respective female). If it were not for the repetition of word “seven,” one could conclude that it was a total of 14 clean and 4 unclean animals, but the difference between the double use of “seven” and the simple, unrepeated use of two tell us there is a difference in the counting system of the two groups.

3: "a man and his woman"

These words usually mean “man” and “woman.” They are sometimes used of “male” and “female” as is the intent here. I have chosen to render it in the translation column in such a way to show what the word means and how it is usually used, and I show you in the paraphrase column, what the intended meaning is here.