The verbal root of the Hebrew term reʹmes means “creep” or “move about.” (Ge 1:21, 28, ftn) Koehler and Baumgartner’s Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon suggests that the term indicates a rather aimless movement. (Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, Leiden, 1958, p. 895; compare Hab 1:14.) The noun reʹmes appears to embrace a broad variety of living creatures and, in its usage in the different texts, generally distinguishes such “moving animals” from the wild and domestic beasts, the birds, and the fish. (Ge 1:24, 25; 6:7, 20; 7:14, 23; 8:17, 19; 9:3; Eze 8:10; 38:20) This would allow for its including reptiles and other forms of animal life not within those other more prominent categories. It can apply not only to land creatures but also to aquatic creatures.—Ps 104:25.
Among wise King Solomon’s 3,000 proverbs were some about “the beasts and about the flying creatures and about the moving things and about the fishes.” (1Ki 4:33; compare Pr 30:19, 24-28.) Hosea 2:18 describes a covenant made with the wild beast, flying creature, and the creeping thing of the ground; and Psalm 148:10 includes them among the creatures serving to their Creator’s praise.
The Greek her·pe·tonʹ corresponds closely to the Hebrew reʹmes, being used frequently with reference to reptiles. It is used with regard to the vision Peter had at Joppa (Ac 10:12; 11:6), by Paul in discussing man’s idolatry (Ro 1:23), and by James as to creatures being tamable by man.—Jas 3:7.