Genesis 6:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 6:20, NIV: "Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive."

Genesis 6:20, ESV: "Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive."

Genesis 6:20, KJV: "Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive."

Genesis 6:20, NASB: "Of the birds according to their kind, and of the animals according to their kind, of every crawling thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive."

Genesis 6:20, NLT: "Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive."

Genesis 6:20, CSB: "Two of everything--from the birds according to their kinds, from the livestock according to their kinds, and from the animals that crawl on the ground according to their kinds--will come to you so that you can keep them alive."

What does Genesis 6:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, God commanded Noah to bring into the ark with him and his family a male/female pair of every kind of animal. Now God expands and clarifies the command. First, the animals will include birds, insects, and every other kind of land-dwelling animal. Second, all of these animals would come to Noah to be kept alive. These creatures would have been necessary to re-populate and replenish the land ravaged by the upcoming flood.

With the addition of the detail that the animals would come to him, Noah's impossible task of building the ark and collecting the animals becomes a little less impossible. God would exercise His supernatural authority over the animals to direct specific pairs to come to the ark to be saved from the flood. Noah isn't being asked to scour the earth capturing unwilling animals. He's being asked to prepare an ark for the ones which come to him. That's still daunting, but much more within the abilities of one man.

We see in this command that God's response to the great wickedness of humanity is not simply to destroy all life, but to preserve life, as well, for a new beginning. The flood is not an act of revenge, but of drastic healing.