In Genesis 9:3 Noah is told he can eat every moving thing that lives, but I have always had a problem with the translation of moving thing meaning every live animal. The word translated as moving thing is remes. Not one other time in the Tanach (that I can find) is remes used to describe all the living animals. A few examples:

Genesis 1:24 - And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kind, cattle and creeping things (remes) and the beasts of the earth according to their kind," and it was so.

Genesis 1:25 & 26 says the same thing in essence

Genesis 6:7 - And the Lord said, "I will blot out man, whom I created, from upon the face of the earth, from man to cattle to creeping thing (remes), to the fowl of the heavens, for I regret that I made them."

Genesis 6:20 - Of the fowl after its kind and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing (remes) upon the ground after its kind; two of each shall come to you to preserve alive.

All throughout the Noah story remes is only used as a reference to creeping things, while other words are used to describe other animals. The same goes for 1 Kings, Psalms, Ezekiel, etc.

So my question is, why in Genesis 9:3 is remes translated as all moving things when no where else is this even implied, much less explicit? Did HaShem actually tell Noah he could eat all moving things that live?

  • 1
    Hi Yochanan, and welcome to the site! Are you asking about the translation of the word, or are you asking what it means? I suspect the latter, in which case I humbly suggest that very often a word will have a narrow meaning and a broad one which are closely related and differentiated by context. Your evidence suggests that remes indeed has both, and perhaps you missed a couple other places with the broad meaning, like B'reshis 1:28 and 7:21 and T'hilim 104:20 – WAF May 14 '18 at 17:27
  • My gut feeling - it's the entire phrase - כָּל רֶמֶשׂ אֲשֶׁר הוּא חַי - which differentiates it from the other instances. – Danny Schoemann May 15 '18 at 12:12

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