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 '20 at 20:32

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, I 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.


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.

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