Fill Or Replenish?

Q. God tells both Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28) and Noah (Genesis 9:1) to “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth. Does the word replenish have the same meaning for both? Did Adam and Eve replenish or fill the earth?

A. The Hebrew word translated replenish in Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 9:1 is the same in both places. It can mean both “fill” and “replenish”. Out of 249 Old Testament appearances “fill” is by far the most common translation with “replenish” being used only 7 times. In the context of Genesis 1:28 it appears “fill” would be the more accurate use since Adam and Eve were Earth’s only inhabitants at the time. In Genesis 9:1 replenish is appropriate because the Earth had formerly been inhabited.

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