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This is something I noted once when reading Genesis, and am still wondering if there's any meaning to it.

Genesis tells us that Noah was 599-600 years old1 when the flood came.

Genesis 7:11 (ESV)
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.

We can also find the age difference of Methuselah and Noah in Genesis 5, and it's 187 + 182 = 369 years2:

Genesis 5:25-29 (ESV)
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.
28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, "Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands."

So, if Noah was 600 when the flood happened, Methuselah was 600 + 369 = 969. That is, he died around the time of flood.

Did Methuselah die in the flood? Does the Bible refer to this anywhere else? Is this in any way significant?


1 I don't know Hebrew, so I'm not gonna guess. The tenth year of my life was technically when I was 9 years old. But even in English the phrase might also mean being 10 years old.

2 More precisely, the age difference is in the range of [369 years; 370 years + 364 days]

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could the "house" of Noah mean the family of Noah, including ancestors as was Methuselah? –  k perritt Nov 7 at 16:51

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It is relevant that Methuselah died just before the flood. Just have a look at the names of the first 10 generations leading up to Noah:

Putting this together:

Man is appointed to be mortal and sorrowful. But the Praise of the Lord will descend, dedicated that His death shall bring the desparing, low, and poor comfort.

I imaging that every time Methuselah had a cold, everybody worried.

But what a prophecy into God's plan for humanity!

Now, based on this it is my believe that Methuselah died before the flood. There is no prove for that, though.

Jewish counting works different from ours: When Jesus was dead for 3 days, that means that he died on one, was dead the next, and rose the third. (which would make it possible for him to be dead for only 27 hours: He died at 3pm, and the third day started at around 6pm the next evening.)

Therefore Methuselah could have died on his 968th birthday and still have lived 969 years.

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This seems very interesting, but I don't quite understand it! Where do you get there names from? Are they the Hebrew meanings? –  dancek Sep 29 '11 at 13:24
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@dancek Yes, those are the meanings or possible meanings of these names according to many sources on Hebrew and biblical names. –  Ralph M. Rickenbach Sep 29 '11 at 13:26
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I looked through Strong's Concordance a bit, and added links to the post. I couldn't find the specified meanings for Mahalalel, Methuselah and Lamech though. –  dancek Sep 29 '11 at 13:52
    
What does "despairing comfort" mean? –  Wikis Sep 29 '11 at 14:07
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@Wikis "bring the despairing comfort" means the same as "bring comfort to those who despair" –  dancek Sep 29 '11 at 14:43

We know that he was around up until the time of the flood, and that he didn't end up on the Ark with Noah. Beyond that, we don't know. But there are a few possibilities that are consistent with what we do know:

He could have fallen spiritually and become wicked like the rest of the earth. Or he could have finally died soon before the flood, leaving no one righteous on the earth aside from Noah's family, which left God no reason not to proceed with it. (See Lot's family for a parallel.)

Without more information than we have now, though, choosing one over the other would be purely a matter of speculation.

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I don't think the third option is an option, as it's very clearly stated that he died. –  dancek Sep 29 '11 at 13:27
    
@Dancek: Good point. Edited to remove that possibility. –  Mason Wheeler Sep 29 '11 at 14:30

According to this article, Methuselah can mean a few things, one of which is, "when he is dead, it shall be sent."

Methuselah was of the line of Noah, of course, so it's quite possible that Noah followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. His father Lamech died earlier, as indicated in Genesis 5.

So, if Methuselah was a righteous man like his grandson Noah, then Methuselah died the year of the flood. If he was not a righteous man, it's possible that the cause of his death was drowning.

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Methuselah outlived Lamech (Noah's father). There were none righteous in the world except Noah and his family, with the exception of Methuselah. Gen 7:4 says "for yet seven days and I will cause it to rain upon the earth....." Methuselah did not die in the flood but died just before. The seven days were days of mourning the death of Methuselah. It was after his death there were none righteous except Noah and his family.

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Of course, Methuselah was a part of Noah's family. This is an interesting perspective. I have never heard the claim that the seven days were days of mourning. This answer could be greatly improved if it gave the reasoning for that, unless it is merely a possibility. If so, it should be stated as such. –  Narnian Dec 31 '13 at 13:03

Methuselah died 7 days before the Great Flood. 7 is for Shiva, which is a period of mourning.

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This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this post by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

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I have heard this tradition before, but it would be nice to see it sourced in a Jewish or Christian context. –  Affable Geek Oct 26 at 20:58
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Where's your evidence? Is this a Christian belief? –  curiousdannii Oct 26 at 21:46
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Please provide references. –  Flimzy Oct 27 at 1:10

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