Thinking About Methuselah


Once, when I was both very bored and extremely curious, I made a timeline for the first few chapters of Genesis. Perhaps you’ve looked at those passages that describe the world before the flood and wondered at the great ages of the characters. “Adam lived 930 years” (Genesis 5:5). “Seth lived 912 years,” (5:8). “Enosh lived 905 years” (5:11). Later we read “Methuselah lived 969 years and then he died,” (5:27). That’s nearly a thousand years!

That left me with some interesting questions. What would it have been like to live to be that old? Just in my fifty plus years I’ve seen startling changes in my world. My grandfather went from horse and buggy, to airplanes, to seeing people walking on the moon. (Although Papa always suspected that was a hoax.) So what did Methuselah witness? The invention of the wheel? The domestication of dogs? Did he live long enough to see neckties become wide, then get skinny and then become wide again? How the world must have changed!

But now notice something interesting. If you plot out all of Methuselah’s years, you will discover he died the very same year Noah boarded his famous ark and escaped the flood. The world did change during Methuselah’s lifetime but it didn’t change for the better. People had become so thoroughly evil, God was sorry he created us (Genesis 6:6). Can you imagine how wicked we could become if we lived as long as Methuselah did? Is it possible Methuselah died in the deluge? And that question left me to conclude, it doesn’t really matter how long we live. The only thing that truly matters is how we live!

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