What is the correct way of interpreting and understanding the words all and every in the Bible? My problem is that I learned maths for years and sometimes it makes it very hard for me to understand things. Mathematically every means that there is no exception. But what does this word mean in the Bible?
And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, the male and his female; and of the beasts that are not clean two, the male and his female.
Taking the first citation literally means that two were taken into the ark from even the clean beasts. But the second says later that there were seven from them. In this case however the two sentences are relatively close, so they’re straightforward for everyone (except me with my overly mathematical mind).
What about fish? They are living flesh, I think, so Noah should have taken fish into the ark too. But I don’t think fish were killed by the cataclysm. Or were they?
And every living thing was destroyed that was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only was left, and they that were with him in the ark.
Fish are not “upon the face of the ground” so they might survive, however if only those who were in the ark were saved, then fish should have been destroyed.
To be clear: this question is not about the fish and Noah’s ark (those are merely examples), but about understanding the words every and each in the Bible.