Commentators have long noted that God's commandment to Noah to bring all animals onto the ark exists in two intertwined versions in the biblical text. In the first version, Noah is told to bring two of every species: And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female (Gen 6:19 nrsv). In the second version, however, the animal kingdom is divided into pure and impure species: Take with you seven pairs of all pure animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not pure, the male and its mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth (Gen 7:2-3). Noah then sacrifices some of the pure animals and birds after the flood (Gen 8:20).
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