Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens,
&c.] From hence it appears, that the distinction of clean and unclean beasts, at least for sacrifice, if not for food, was known before the flood, and so before the law of Moses; though some think this is said by anticipation, and as providing a large stock of such creatures for the propagation of their species; because they would be most serviceable to men both for food and sacrifice: but as it is certain that sacrifices were offered ever since the fall of man; by the same way, namely, by divine revelation, that men were taught to sacrifice creatures as typical of the sacrifice of Christ, they were directed what sort of creatures to offer, as were most suitable figures of him; those beasts that were clean, and used under the law, and so no doubt, at this time, were oxen, sheep, and goats: and these were to be taken into the ark by "sevens", or "seven seven" F16; either only three pairs, male and female, for procreation, and the seventh a male for sacrifice, when the flood was over; or rather fourteen, seven couple, an equal number of male and female, as Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom, that there might be enough for propagation; since a large number of them would be consumed, both for food and sacrifice: the male and his female,
or "the man and his wife" F17; which confirms the sense given, that there were seven pairs, or otherwise, if there had been an odd seventh, there would not have been a male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two,
or only two: the male and his female,
or "the man and his wife"; which was a number sufficient for the propagation of creatures neither used for food nor sacrifice; and many of which are harmful to mankind, as lions, wolves, tigers, bears
F16 (hebv hebv) "septena septena", Pagninus, Montanus; "septem septem", Vatablus, Drusius.
F17 (wtvaw vya) "virum et uxorem ejus", Pagninus, Montanus.