How Old Was Methusaleh?

Most people who have read the book of Genesis know the answer to the question in the title of this post. Methusaleh holds the record for living the most number of years in the history of man, according to the Bible. Yep, this man even outlived Adam, which is amazing considering Adam was 930 years old when he died. Methusaleh “weighed in” at a whopping 969 years to his life. End of story, right?

That’s what I thought until yesterday. WIFE was wondering if Adam was alive at the time of Noah, so we did some quick math on the ages. Here’s how it plays out:

Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born (Adam: 130 years old);
Seth was 105 when Enosh was born (Adam: 245 years old);
Enosh was 90 when Kenan was born (Adam: 335 years old);
Kenan was 70 when Mehalalel was born (Adam: 405 years old);
Mahalalel was 65 when Jared was born (Adam: 470 years old);
Jared was 162 when Enoch was born (Adam: 632 years old);
Enoch was 65 when Methusaleh was born (Adam: 697 years old);
Methusaleh was 187 when Lamech was born (Adam: 884 years old);
Lamech was 182 when Noah was born (Adam: dies when Lamech is 46).

So he almost made it. Amazing that I had never thought of the possibility that Adam and Noah could have been walking the earth at the same time. Unfortunately it was not to be, but then back-tracking led me to another conclusion.

Lamech died when he was 777, but had Noah at 182. That means that Noah was 595 years old when his dad died. Genesis 7:6 says that Noah was 600 years old at the time of the Flood, meaning Lamech died only five years before the Flood. But that’s not where it ends.

Genesis 5:26 says that after Lamech was born Methusaleh lived 782 more years. We know Lamech was 182 years old when Noah was born, leaving 600 years of Methusaleh’s life. How old was Noah when the Flood happened? 600! It’s quite possible that Methusaleh died in the Flood!

Two questions then arise. First, how old could Methusaleh have been if he were to have died of natural causes (which is still possible; the Bible doesn’t state how he died)? Could he have made it to 1,000? Second, was Methusaleh part of the wickedness that God felt He needed to destroy by sending the floodwaters? Could the son of Enoch, who “walked with God” and was one of two men in the Bible to never experience death, have been so evil that God decided He needed to be wiped out?

The Bible isn’t clear on either account. But the fact that Methusaleh died the same year of the Flood is not mere coincidence. I don’t know if this is a question I will ever get answered in heaven (or need to get answered for that matter). What it demonstrates to me, however, is the truth found all throughout the Bible — that God does as He pleases, and who is able to thwart His plan? Amen!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Very interesting. Liked article. Gives us much to ponder. So much we don’t know and will never know in this life. Thumbs up for your article.
    Girree

    Reply

  2. Posted by Scott on July 13, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    Very interesting! Good insights here!

    Reply

  3. Another possibility…rather than Methuselah being part of the wicked generation, perhaps God withheld the flood until Methuselah passed away.

    One article said this: “Some of the sages think that God’s judgment came in stages. The Great Flood was preceded by four successive generations of prophets that warned of the coming cataclysmic judgment: Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and finally Noah. It is fascinating to understand that Adam himself was alive when Noah’s grandfather Methuselah was born, so the original message of teshuvah (repentance) was an echo that came from Eden itself…Despite Noah’s 120 year public building project and the preaching of his grandfather Methuselah, God’s patience finally ran out (1 Pet. 3:20)….”

    Personally, I like to think that God gathered His faithful prophet into his arms before unleashing judgment.

    Reply

  4. I just read this on Wikipedia. Interesting…

    Methuselah or Metushélach (Hebrew: מְתוּשֶׁלַח / מְתוּשָׁלַח, Modern Mətušélaḥ / Mətušálaḥ Tiberian Məṯûšélaḥ / Məṯûšālaḥ ; “Man of the dart/spear”, or alternatively “when he dies/died, it shall be sent/has been sent”) is the oldest person whose age is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, given as 969 years. Extra-biblical tradition records that he died on the 11th of Cheshvan of the year 1656 (Anno Mundi, after Creation), 7 days before the beginning of the Great Flood. According to Rashi on Gen. 7:4, The Holy One delayed the Flood specially because of the 7 days of mourning for the righteous Methuselah in his honour.

    Reply

  5. I find the interpretation of his name “when he dies/died, it shall be sent/has been sent” especially interesting. God puts great emphasis on names in His word.

    Reply

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