Genesis 6:19,20 – Two of Every Fish in the Ark?

Genesis 6:19
“And of every <Hebrew, Kol, Strong’s #03605> living thing of all <Kol, #03605> flesh <Hebrew, Basar, Strong’s #1320>, you shall bring two of every <Kol, #03605> kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

Genesis 6:20
“Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every <Kol, #03605> creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every <Kol, #03605> kind will come to you to keep them alive. — New American Standard Version.

The following questions have been raised concerning Genesis 6:19,20:

Are fishes a “kind”? If so, Noah was instructed to take two of each kind onto the ark. Did all the fishes in the oceans, lakes, seas and rivers die? Fish aren’t included in “all animals?”

The effort appears to be to discredit the Biblical account of the flood, and make in fit the “deluge myth” theory, by claiming these scriptures as an alleged Biblical discrepancy.

Our reply:

Taken together with verse 20 the “flesh” [Hebrew, basar] of verse 19 does not include fish. (As far as I know, the Hebrew word *basar* — flesh — is never used of fish, although the Greek word “sarx” is used of fish once in the NT. — 1 Corinthians 15:39.

The Hebrew word *KOL* — rendered as “all” or “every” in the two verses above — has to be taken in context of what is being spoken of, which, in this case, does not include fish as fish are not mentioned.

While it does not say “all animals” the Hebrew does say “all flesh” but the context qualifies what is included: “Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind.”

The Hebrew word *KOL* often is qualified by context. This is easily seen in its use at Psalm 8:6, where David is speaking to God of man: “Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things <Hebrew, Kol> under his feet.” Taken out of context, this would appear that all angels, stars, and everything that exists was put under mankind. But the following verses qualify what is meant by “all things”: “All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.”

One can prove the use of *KOL* by looking up its various usages of the word throughout the Hebrew text.


The sea creatures, of course, living in the water would not have died off in the flood, so they were not included in the “all flesh” that was destroyed by the flood.

Nor was it necessary for Noah to gather two all the “species” that are in the world today. Noah’s instructions were to bring two of each “kind” of the unclean and seven of each “kind” the clean.  The word “kind” does not mean “species” in the manner of modern scientific terminology. It is most probable that most of the “species” known today came as a result of the atmospheric change after the flood, as genetic changes brought forth many “species” within the various “kinds” that Noah had saved in the ark.