Methuselah's Name

An Essay By James // 6/30/2008

Methuselah. It’s an interesting name, to say the least. A name which belongs to a rather obscure character in the Bible. He is probably known to most as the man with the longest recorded life span in history. He lived a grand total of 969 years; but that was really not astounding, as most people during his time seemed to live well into their nine hundreds. His own grandfather, Jared, lived 962 years. Adam lived to be 930, and Noah to 950.

The interesting thing about Methuselah is his name. Yes, it sounds like his father was about to name him Matthew, when he suddenly sneezed and it came out wrong. (“His name shall be Ma… Ma…. Mathe… MeTHUselah!!!!!! Obe, I’b so sorry, anybone hab a klenex?” *sniff*)
But all joking aside, it appears his name had a rather unique purpose. Consider who Methuselah’s father was: the prophet Enoch, who lived for only 365 years, and walked with God, and then “was not, for God took him.” Enoch was a prophet who preached of God’s coming judgment on mankind (see the book of Jude, verse 14). The coming judgment was, of course, the flood of Noah’s day. Methuselah’s name is made up of the Hebrew words Met, U, and Shelakh, which mean “he shall die,” “and,” and “it shall be sent.” Methuselah’s name was a prophesy in itself of judgment!

Now, that may seem a bit odd. Perhaps even far-fetched. But consider this. Methuselah lived 187 years and had a son, Lamech. Lamech in turn had a son named Noah. Lamech was 182 years old when Noah was born. Which means that Methuselah was 369 years old when his grandson Noah was born. Noah was 600 years old when God flooded the world. Add 600 to 369, and you get 969 years. Methuselah, then, died the year of the flood. And, judging by the meaning of his name, he probably did not perish in the flood, but rather died shortly before it.

Now, think about the implications of this. He was a living prophecy, and his death was like a final warning to his sinful generation – a warning to repent and be saved from the judgment, by boarding the ark. The fact that his life was the longest on record (as far as we know) should also suggest God’s mercy – a few more years, a few more chances to repent. For as long as Methuselah lived, the judgment would be held back.

The Bible does not say much about this man. But something else we can gather from the chronology, so intricately woven into the genealogy from Adam to Noah, is that Adam was still alive when Methuselah was a young man. He could have easily known and talked with this ancient patriarch, the father of all mankind. And then, as the judgment approached, he was now the ancient patriarch, and a bridge between Adam and the evil generations wiped out in the flood.

Today, we face another judgment. Someday, the Lord will return and judge the earth again, not in water but in fire. And then, everyone will stand before his judgment throne and be condemned for their sins – everyone but those whom he has purchased with his blood. Everyone but those who have received Jesus the Messiah as their Lord and Savior.

There is another judgment coming,
Like Noah’s flood, which came of old.
The world’s sins are great and many,
God’s wrath is awful to behold.

But like the love He showed to Noah,
This love God shows to you and me;
His Son has died and rose again,
Messiah’s triumph sets us free.

The Ark’s great door was open wide
To all who’d turn, admit their sin,
Believe in Him, reject their pride;
The choice was theirs to enter in.

Like unto it is Jesus; He
Our refuge is from what will come;
Instead of wrath, eternally
We’ll praise him in our heavenly home.

The choice is yours, but be forewarned
As they mocked Noah, so they’ll mock you.
Can you, for Him, endure the scorn?
Consider well, what you will do.


This was a well thought out

This was a well thought out essay and poem, James. I like the ideas you've presented here. Very well done.

Heather | Fri, 07/04/2008

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

That was one of the most

That was one of the most beautiful Gospel messeges i've ever heard. I almost started crying when I read it! English can't decribe its beauty. Muy bello y glorioso. Asi increible y ari sincera.
Muy profundo. Yo gritar en la belleza de lo.

Hannah | Sat, 01/10/2009

Very, very, VERY good! The

Very, very, VERY good! The part where his father was naming him made me laugh. My little brother's name is Jared.

BTW, is this the epic peom you were talking about??
"Pretty soon people are going to come to look at it. And some of those people will be... realtors!"--Klaus Baudelaire

Ariel | Sat, 01/10/2009

"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

Where'd you learn the

Where'd you learn the Hebrew? Man, amazing!
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Tue, 04/21/2009

Formerly Kestrel

I don't know if you've

I don't know if you've noticed this coincidence (it IS coincidence, right?), but Enoch lived 365 years, and we have 365 days a year. I know it's just a coincidence, but it was what I noticed first. Anyway, this was good. And hey, Hannah, what was that you said in Spanish? I know most of it, but not all.

"When reality sucks, try insanity." - Unknown

Bridget | Thu, 04/23/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya


Yes, I have noticed it... Just a coincidence, but it helps one remember how long he lived.

James | Sat, 05/02/2009

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle


Jesus did not die for people's sins. Like with all Prophets of God, he was sent to give the message: God is one...worship Him and Him alone. Being good and getting to Heaven is up to us. We must choose. There is no free pass into Heaven and verily the wicked amongst you shall have no place in Heaven.

Anonymous | Mon, 06/21/2010

In response

  Anonymous, you have made some very dogmatic statements, some of which contradict my own dogmatic statements.  I feel confident in making dogmatic statements because my authority is the Bible, the Word of God.  You made six dogmatic statements, and I must ask: how do you know that what you have asserted is true?  What is your authority that allows you to dogmatically say such things?  I don't know if you subscribe to Islam, Jehovah's Witness-ism, Mormonism, or something else entirely -- it doesn't matter.  I want to know what your authoritative source is by which you say these things.

How do you know what you have said is true?

How do you know that

1.  Jesus did not die for people's sins?

2.  He was a prophet sent to give a message, namely that God is one and we must worship Him and Him alone?

3.  Being good and getting to Heaven is up to us?

4.  We must choose?

5.  There is no free pass into Heaven?

6.  The wicked amongst us shall have no place in heaven?

Tell me how you know these things to be true.

James | Sun, 06/27/2010

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle


The pastor at my church preached about this this morning. Or rather, it was part of the sermon, which was more about Enoch than Methuselah.

In any case, he spoke about the interesting fact that Enoch walked with God, rather than walking before God. Back in those days, a master would send servants before him, sometimes days before he went somewhere, to make sure the way was cleared and safe. In the same way, God uses his servants to go before him (namely David and John the Baptist, as well as the prophets and a few others), and it specifically says "before".

However, Enoch went "with" God, which is something that is only ever said about one other person (or really two people together): Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God walked "with" them often.

So apparently, Enoch had a very strong relationship with God because he was said to have walked "with" God, not "before" him.

So my pastor than examined why Enoch might be so special as to have such a relationship. He pointed out Genesis 5:21-24, which is as follows:

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

A notable thing in this verse is how only Methuselah is named, and the rest of Enoch's sons and daughters are not. This isn't to say that they weren't important; just that they weren't important for the point that the author was trying to make.

Anyway, it says that Enoch lived 65 years, had Methuselah, and then walked "with God [for] 300 years". So apparently, something about Methuselah's birth (or events leading to it) caused him to have a major change of attitude towards God; he had to have changed everything.

So then he stated basically what you have here, about what Methuselah's name meant and why that is significant (he didn't actually state how the year Methuselah died was the same year as the flood, but that was implied).

Anyway, all that to say: it's an amazing thing how God works and how merciful he is toward us, giving us fair warning before a coming judgement.

Thanks for your blog post!

Anonymous | Sun, 08/29/2010


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