Friday, March 15, 2024

The Hebrew noun בהמה (behēmáh, pronounced buh-hey-MAH) is a wide-ranging term that refers to "animals" of varying sorts. While it can appear in a plural form, its singular form can refer to multiple animals as well. For instance, in Genesis 7:8 it is בהמה (behēmáh) that is used when speaking, "Of clean animalsבהמה), and of animalsבהמה) that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground." While the classification created by בהמה (behēmáh) is broad, it typically designates a domesticated rather than a wild animal. For instance, Genesis 8:1 states: "But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals (בהמה) that were with him in the ark." The end of Nehemiah 2:12 explains its usage well: "The only animal (ובהמה) I took was the animal (הבהמה) I rode."