Genesis 7:1 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,

I assume that clean and unclean here are with respect to sacrificial offerings to God.

Genesis 9:3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Was Noah's allowed to eat unclean animals?

  • By entering the Ark, did all the living Animals become clean? Aug 27, 2020 at 20:32

3 Answers 3


The distinction between clean and unclean animals was only pertinent to diet, that is, what could and could not be eaten. These are defined extensively in Lev 11, Deut 14:1-21, and other places.

Apparently, the definitions in the Torah about clean and unclean animals were not new at the time as these distinction appear to have been know well before this, as in the Gen 7:2. These understandings were repeated in the Torah.

Now, I am quite certain that when God made the allowance in Gen 9:3, it was not literally that they could eat EVERYTHING, as some things are toxic and quite harmful when eaten. For example, in the very next verse they are told NOT to eat meat with blood still in it (Gen 9:4). Further, they were not to kill, much less eat other humans (Gen 9:5, 6). Many plants are also toxic, many kinds of animals are quite toxic to eat.

Therefore, it immediately follows that the instruction given in Gen 9:4 applies to what is appropriate to eat, clean vs unclean animals which were known from the time of Flood.

  • Surely certain animals, like the ass, are said to be "unclean" as offerings and must be redeemed instead ; Leviticus ch27 vv11-12 and v27, Exodus ch34 v20? However, I'm convinced that this follows on from being unclean for diet (God doesn't consume them either), so perhaps that comes to the same thing. Apr 13, 2023 at 20:20
  • @StephenDisraeli - yes - sacrificial and eating distinctions were the same.
    – Dottard
    Apr 13, 2023 at 20:52

Not one other time in the bible is רֶמֶשׂ remes used to describe all the living animals.

Every 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 thing that is alive shall be food for you; I have given everything to you, as I gave the green plant. NASB

The word translated as moving thing is רֶמֶשׂ remes.

Here is a few examples were רֶמֶשׂ remes is used :

Genesis 1:24 - And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kind, cattle and creeping things (remes) and the beasts of the earth according to their kind," and it was so.

Genesis 1:25 - God made the animals of the earth according to their kind, and the livestock according to their kind, and everything that crawls (remes) on the ground according to its kind; and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling (remes) thing that crawls (remes) on the earth.”

Genesis 6:7 - And the Lord said, "I will blot out man, whom I created, from upon the face of the earth, from man to cattle to creeping thing (remes), to the fowl of the heavens, for I regret that I made them."

Genesis 6:20 - Of the fowl after its kind and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing (remes) upon the ground after its kind; two of each shall come to you to preserve alive.

All throughout the bible remes is only used as a reference to 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 things, while other words are used to describe other animals.

The same goes for the instances in 1 Kings, Psalms, Ezekiel, Hosea & Habakkuk, remes always means 𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐰𝐥 or 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐩. but has in the majority of translations a more general meaning as moves / moving is, which is a faulty translation of Genesis 9:3.

a literal translation of Genesis 9:3 as Young's literal translation;

𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞, 𝐭𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐝; as the green herb I have given to you the whole; YLT

However snakes and other creeping things are unclean to eat. Just as the second part, not all green plants are for food!


In order to understand what unclean animals are you need to take into account certain non canonical works, in particular the book(s) of Enoch.

What we can learn from the Bible is that God Did not make anything that was unclean - he can’t! And, we also learn what unclean means, and that is ‘mixture’. That is, unclean animals were not created - they are genetically ‘mixed’. This ‘genetic interbreeding’ occurred in the pre flood era. As said, the book of Enoch outlines this, and, it’s fascinating reading!

The dietary laws forbidding the eating of unclean animals came via the Law - but - use of unclean animals for sacrifices had always been prohibited - as sacrificed animals were to be blemish free. This was outlined, or rather documented, in Leviticus/Deuteronomy - but this requirement, as also that of the sacrifices themselves, was clearly taught.

Although we don’t see this teaching explicitly laid out pre wilderness, we clearly see the evidence of this when we read of sacrifices being performed right from the start of the Bible. And, it is the same for eating unclean animals. The reason for the 7 pairs was that the clean pure) animals were the ‘source’ for Noah’s needs. Again, this is referenced via non-biblical sources, although evidenced in practice seen in the Bible.

  • If unclean (genetically ‘mixed) animals wasn't created by God they wouldn't enter the ark, it makes no sens to cleans the earth and to keep the genetically mixed in same fruitless action! Rather giants and dinosaurs was what where perverting the creation not dolphin, eagle, horse, tiger and lions, would one of satan's corruption even describe both Judah "Judah is a lion’s whelp" and Jeshua “Do not weep! See, the Lion of Judah, the Root of David ... unclean animals are perfectly created but not fit for consumption! Dec 14, 2022 at 10:37
  • Unclean does not mean "genetically mixed" and such an argument is silly and indefensible. All snakes are mixed? So God didn't make snakes? Are snakes a genetic mix of worms and sheep? Animals breed after their kind. Snakes make snakes, turtles make turtles, sheep make sheep. They cannot interbreed. We can only mix animals that descend from the same original kind. A zebra and a donkey both descend from the original horses and thus they can be mixed. And yes, God can and DID create unclean animals. Unclean doesn't mean "bad." They are Unclean for ritualistic and dietary purposes because their me
    – Jason
    Apr 13, 2023 at 20:00

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