Genesis 7:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 7:3, NIV: "and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth."

Genesis 7:3, ESV: "and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth."

Genesis 7:3, KJV: "Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth."

Genesis 7:3, NASB: "also of the birds of the sky, seven pairs, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth."

Genesis 7:3, NLT: "Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird. There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood."

Genesis 7:3, CSB: "and seven pairs, male and female, of the birds of the sky--in order to keep offspring alive throughout the earth."

What does Genesis 7:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, God instructed Noah to take the clean and unclean animals with him into the ark. This verse completes that instruction. Noah was also to take seven pairs each of all the kinds of the birds of the sky. This is an enormous number of animals.

God is clear about His intention, though. The point is to preserve life, to keep the offspring alive on the face of the earth. In the case of the birds, as we will see in the coming chapter, the flood would cover every surface that a bird might land on. There would be no food or shelter for the birds during the flood. Without the ark, birds and all other land-dwelling life would cease to exist on the earth. God did not want that.

Why seven pairs of birds instead of just one pair? First, as the waters are receding after the flood, birds will be used as a test to see if any dry land is to be found in the area. If they did not return, that would be evidence that a habitat was reemerging (Genesis 8:7–12). Second, birds would be offered along with other clean animals as a sacrifice to God after to the flood, meaning extra birds would be needed (Genesis 8:20).