The animal population of Noach's Ark is commanded/listed six times in Parashat Noach:

  1. Genesis 6:19-20 (Initial command)

  2. Genesis 7:2-3 (Reiteration of command)

  3. Genesis 7:8-9 (Entry to the Ark)

  4. Genesis 7:14-16 (Reiteration of entry)

  5. Genesis 8:17 (Command to exit)

  6. Genesis 8:19 (Exit)

Each of these lists include animals, birds, and creeping things, except the second, which omits creeping things. Why?


The second one which does not mention creeping things is dividing the types into pure and impure, where pure animals and pure birds were brought in pairs of seven, and impure animals and impure birds were brought in twos. Creeping things were not so divided. Although there are pure creeping things none are appropriate (or really practical) as sacrifices which was the point of the extra amounts of pure fauna.


As mentioned in the comments, the second list (where bugs are missing) is where we get the initial command of numbers.

Since some of the animals ate bugs, it's fair to assume that a lot of edible bugs were in the Ark, for food. (There's even a Medrash that one of the birds went on a hunger strike until of the Noach's sons discovered that it only ate a certain worm found in rotten fruit.)

At the same time surely there were 2 privileged bugs of each type that were saved for posterity's sake - kept in their own cage/shelf or however they divided up the ark.

That said, the Chumash Torah Shleimah in footnote 211 - תורה שלמה in [ריא] in פרשת נח brings a Tanchuma Yashan (62) תנחומה ישן נח ס"ב which mentions the following:

Rabbi Akiva says (based on a דיוק in a פסוק) that everybody and everything in the Ark ate the same food. This had to be the דבלה (pumpkin? squash?) since both humans and animals consume it. (The former cooked, the latter raw.). The Rabanan רבנן argue, saying that each species had its own food.

  • 1
    The Medrash also probably assumed that the worms in the apples spontaneously generated so there was no need to bring extra on as food.
    – Double AA
    Nov 20 '12 at 13:27

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