Methuselah: The Man Who Lived For 969 Years According to the Bible

Not many of us have actually read through the Bible.

But you might consider reading it, as it features incredible stories.

One such story speaks of Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, and the person with one of the longest lifespan’s in history, said to have lived for a mind-boggling 969 years until the great flood swept across the Earth.

Methuselah is not only fascinating because he lived for nearly one thousand years, but there are also many other interesting details about this Biblical character, which will mention in this revealing article.

As noted by the Bible, the man known as Methuselah was the eighth Biblical, antediluvian patriarch, he was the son of Enoch, father of Lamech and grandfather of Noah (who was the last of these patriarchs).

The Bible

Evidence of his abnormal longevity can be found in the following verses. These were taken from the King James Version of the Bible (Genesis 5:21–27)

21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:

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22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:

24 And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.

25 And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:

26 And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:

27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.

According to the chronology of the Bible, Methuselah died during the year of the flood; however, whether his death was caused by the flood, or preceded it, is something we don’t see in the Bible.

Methuselah is mentioned once in the Hebrew Bible outside of Genesis; in 1 Chronicles 1:3, he is mentioned in a genealogy of Saul. Methuselah is mentioned a single time in the New Testament, when the Gospel of Luke traces Saint Joseph’s lineage back to Adam in Luke 3:23–38.

Genesis tells us that Methuselah was the son of Enoch and father of Lamech. Lamech was Noah’s father.

The Flood

Noah's Ark (1846), by the American folk painter Edward Hicks. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Noah’s Ark (1846), by the American folk painter Edward Hicks. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The Genesis flood narrative is a flood myth found in the Tanakh (chapters 6–9 in the Book of Genesis).

The story tells of God’s decision to return the Earth to its pre-creation state of watery chaos and then remake it in a reversal of creation.

The narrative has very strong similarities to parts of the Epic of Gilgamesh which predates the Book of Genesis.

However, it is noteworthy to mention that a global flood as described in this myth is inconsistent with the physical findings of geology and paleontology.

But as we look into different historical sources, we see different versions as well as different timelines.

For example, the Septuagint commonly referred to as the Greek Old Testament, which is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew tells us how Noah’s grandfather Methuselah was 187 years when his son was born. Methuselah supposedly died at the age of 969, but six years before the great flood swept across the land.

The Samaritan Torah, which is a text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible indicates that Methuselah was 67 years old when his son was born and that he died at the age of 720 when the Great floods swept across the Earth.

Some believe that Methuselah’s extreme age is nothing more than the result of an ancient mistranslation that converted “months” to “years”, producing a more credible 969 lunar months, or 78½ years, but the same calculation applied to Enoch would have him fathering Methuselah at the age of 5.

Some authors argue that human beings once lived close to a thousand years, until after the Flood, when God decided to shorten this age.

Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” —Genesis 6:3

Mistranslation of ancient Texts? Or incredible lifespans thousands of years ago? The Bible offers incredible stories that make you wonder whether the impossible may actually be possible.