The Oldest Man in the Bible
The Bible reports that the oldest man that lived was Methuselah. He was the great-great-great-great-grandson of Seth, the child of Adam and Eve. Methuselah lived 969 years to within the year of the Flood. “So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years” (Genesis 5:27).
Methuselah was the son of Enoch, who “walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5: 24; Hebrews. 11:5). Enoch, was the father of Lamech when he was 187 years old (Genesis 5:25). And Lamech had a son named Noah when he was 182 years old (Genesis 5:28). The Flood took place when Noah was 600 years old (Genesis 7:6). It is interesting to know that if we add 187 + 182 + 600 we get 969, which is the age Methuselah at his death.
The meaning of Methuselah’s name is unclear. Bible commentators have interpreted it as “man of military weapons,” or a “man of sending forth.” Extra-biblical tradition states that God gave Methuselah’s father a knowledge that the Flood would not come until his son died. If this is correct then, the proper meaning to Methuselah’s name would be “his death shall send forth the Flood.”
Moses, in Genesis 5, records other men that have also lived long lives. For example: Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5), Seth lived 912 years (Genesis 5:8), Enoch lived 905 years (Genesis 5:11), Kenan lived 910 years (Genesis 5:14), Mahalalel lived 895 years (Genesis 5:17). Jared lived 962 years (Genesis 5:20) and Noah lived 950 years (Genesis 9:29).
The longevity of the antediluvian race may be attributed to the following causes:
- The original strength that humans had at creation because everything was created perfect. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
- The outstanding effect of the fruit of the tree of life in giving life to all those that ate of its fruits. “… The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9).
- Humanity had higher mental abilities and capabilities because man was created in God’s image and he resembled Him in character. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27).
- The higher quality of food containing superb nutrients. “And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…” (Genesis 2:9).
- The delaying of the punishment of sin and God’s promise to send a redeemer to save humanity. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
- Man’s original diet was the vegetarian diet, which enhanced longevity and health. “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food” (Genesis 1:29,30). God allowed man to eat meat only after the flood for the scarcity of plant life (Genesis 9:1-5). This permission did not imply an unrestrained eating of every kind of animal. The verses exclude the eating of the unclean animals according to the Mosaic Law (Exodus 22:31; Leviticus 22:8).
- Degeneration and sickness, due to all kinds of pollution, were not rampant in the early stage of earth’s history as it exists in our day. The atmosphere and the soil were clean and there were no harmful toxins.
In His service,