How Old Was Methuselah, According To The Bible?

How old is the oldest member of your family? 80? 90? Maybe even 100? Per Guinness World Records, the oldest (verified) person to have ever lived was a French woman named Jeanne Louise Calment; she died in 1997 at the age of 122.

But all those numbers — even 122 — dwarf in comparison to the reported ages of some of the figures in the Bible. The Old Testament in particular is chock-full of people who survived for many centuries — reaching ages that look more like area codes. Adam, for example — the first human created by God — lived to a whopping 930 years old, per Genesis 5:5. The majority of the other oldest figures in the Bible are direct descendants of Adam; their full genealogy is laid out in Genesis Chapter 5. Famously, the oldest of Adam’s descendants was a man named Methuselah — but we won’t skip to him just yet.

Following Adam in Genesis 5 is his son Seth. (Adam’s first son, Cain, was banished for killing his second son, Abel, so he’s ignored in this chapter.) Seth lived to the ripe old age of 912 before he died. Seth’s son, Enosh, lived to 905; Enosh’s son, Kenan, lived to 910. Next up was Kenan’s son Mahalalel, who didn’t quite make the 900s, dying at 895 years old. Mahalalel’s son, Jared, lived to 962. (For those keeping track, Jared’s the oldest one yet.) Yet Jared’s son, Enoch, died tragically young. Per Genesis 5:23, Enoch only lived to be 365 years old.

At 969 years, Methuselah is the oldest figure in the Bible

Interestingly, Genesis 5:24 implies that Enoch did not die of natural causes; rather, “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Per Christianity.com, this cryptic passage is generally interpreted to suggest that Enoch was taken directly to Heaven without first having to die — an incredibly rare fate in the Bible.)

All this is to set the stage for the oldest person in the Bible: Methuselah. Methuselah was Enoch’s son — yet, unlike his father, he remained on Earth for an incredibly long time. Methuselah’s age at death? A grand total of 969 years, per Genesis 5:27. And yet, for all those years alive, we know almost nothing about Methuselah; all Genesis 5 tells us is that he was the son of Enoch, the father of Lamech, and that he lived for an absurdly long time.

Well, we do know a few other things about Methuselah — namely, that he had some famous descendants. Methuselah’s son, Lamech, lived for 777 years. And Lamech’s son was Noah — yes, the Noah who built the massive ark. Noah himself lived to 950 years old, per Genesis 9:29. But, perhaps as a result of God’s Great Flood, no other Bible figure after Noah ever lived to such a ridiculously long age. For example, Noah’s descendant Abraham — father of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — only lived to be 175, per Genesis 25:7.

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