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Answering The Atheist
April 29, 2001 / Volume 1, Issue 8

How many beasts went into the ark? In Genesis 7:2, Moses writes, "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female." A few verses later, Genesis 7:8-9, he records, "Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth. There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah."

Has Moses contradicted himself?

We will begin with verses 8 and 9. In these verses, Moses does not indicate how many of each species went into the ark, merely that as they entered into the ark, they went two by two. It is a statement of the orderly manner in which they entered. It was not a stampede of unruly animals, nor a single file of beasts, but as they entered, it was two and two. These verses in no way contradict verse 2, where Moses is told how many of each beast is to go into the ark. Of clean beasts, there would be seven groupings of two (7 male, 7 female). Of the unclean beasts, there would be two (1 male, 1 female). Consider the wording of Young's Literal Translation, "of all the clean beasts thou dost take to thee seven pairs, a male and its female; and of the beasts which are not clean two, a male and its female."

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible