Can the Hebrew word בְּהֵמָה refer to both wild and domestic animals at the same time?

Can the Hebrew word בְּהֵמָה refer to both wild and domestic animals at the same time?

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In Genesis 6:20 we read that God told Noah to keep three categories of animals

  1. Flying creatures
  2. Animals
  3. Creeping things

What confuses me is the word בְּהֵמָה translated as "animals." Lexicon says that it is usually in reference to domesticated animals and sometimes of wild animals but does not say about being able to reference both at the same time. My question as I stated, can בְּהֵמָה refer to wild and domesticated animals or can it only refer to one of them?

1 Comment

  • Reply January 28, 2024


    RT Billy Meacham
    bĕhēmâ is in contrast to man (ʾādām) (e.g. Ex 9:9–10) and though both are subsumed under living things (ḥayyâ), there is nowhere a classification of man as animal. bĕhēmâ can refer to both wild beast, though exclusive use as wild beast is less frequent (cf. Jer 7:33) and domestic animal. When referring to domestic animals, bĕhēmâ usually includes both large cattle (bāqār, q.v.) and sheep (ṣōʾn), but not the “creeping things” (remeś) that creep along the ground. These are perhaps the smaller animals, lizards, rodents, etc.
    bĕhēmâ, often collective, are God’s creation (Gen 1:26) and are preserved by him through his provision (Ps 36:6 [H 7]; cf. 104:14). [1]
    [1] Elmer A. Martens, “208 בהם,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 92.
    what do you think Link Hudson John Mushenhouse Junior Beasley

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