Clean and Unclean Animals on the Ark

Genesis 7:2  

You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female.

Noah was commanded to take seven pairs (a pair being a male and a female) of clean animals and one pair of unclean animals. This was to preserve the life of the different kinds of animals that God had created (Genesis 7:3). God performed a miracle by leading the animals to orderly assemble and enter the ark in pairs (verse 9).

This verse is very important because it demonstrates that the knowledge of the laws of clean and unclean meats existed long before they were enumerated by Moses in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. These were universal laws that were designed to govern what was proper meat for human consumption.

Here’s a sample of what Noah would have taken on the ark:

  • 7 male/female pairs of sheep (14 total).
  • 7 male/female pairs of deer (14 total).
  • 7 male/female pairs of pigeons (14 total).
  • 1 male/female pair of swine (2 total).
  • 1 male/female pair of dogs (2 total).
  • 1 male/female pair of porcupines (2 total).

There are a number of reasons Noah was instructed to take clean animals at a rate of seven times that of unclean animals. First, Noah and his family would consume some of the meat of the clean animals during their time on the ark. Second, Noah would perform sacrifices after the Flood—which could only be offered with clean animals (Genesis 8:20).

To learn more about God’s laws of clean and unclean meats, read our article “Clean and Unclean Animals: Does God Care What Meats We Eat?

Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Animal Kinds on the Ark.”

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