(26) Why is it that the sacred writer says, “And God was mindful of Noah, and of the beasts, and of the cattle,” but does not add that he remembered his wife and children? (#Ge 8:1). As the husband agrees with and is equal to his wife, and as the father is equal to his sons, there is no need of mentioning more names than one, but one, the first, is sufficient; therefore, by naming Noah he, in effect, names all those who were with him of his family; for when husband, and wife, and children, and relations are all agitated by discord, then it is no longer possible for such to be called one family, but instead of being one they are many; but when harmony exists then one family is exhibited by one superior of the house, and all are seen to depend upon that one, like the branches of a tree which shoot out from it, or the fruit upon a vine branch which does not fall off from it. And in another part, also, the prophet has said, “Have a regard to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who brought you forth,” where, because in fact it was one family, he displays the agreement by mentioning the woman.
(27) Why is it that the sacred writer made mention first of the beasts and afterwards of the cattle, saying that God remembered Noah, and the beasts, and the cattle? (#Ge 8:1). In the first place, that poetical rule has not been expressed in vain, that he led the bad into the middle; therefore he places the beasts in the middle, between the domestic animals, that is to say the men and the cattle, in order that they might be tamed and civilized by having an intimate association with both. In the second place, he thought it scarcely reasonable to bestow a provident benefit on the beasts by themselves, because he was about immediately to add a statement of the beginning of the diminution of the deluge. This is the explanation of the statement taken literally. But with respect to the inner meaning, that just intellect, dwelling in the body as if in the ark, possesses both beasts and living animals, not those particular ones which bite and hurt, but, that I may use such an expression, those general kinds which contain in themselves the principles of seed and origination; since without these the soul cannot be manifest in the body. Moreover, the soul of the foolish man employs all poisonous and deadly animals, but that of the wise man those only which have changed the nature of wild beasts into that of domestic creatures.