Is it reasonable to ask that question?
Lived The Longest!
Some people might answer:
Is there any point about it?
He lived longest because someone must have been the longest to live,
and Methuselah happened to be that one!
But in the bible, every thing written is written for a purpose.
The age of Methuselah is interesting, and must have some implications,
because common sense may lead us to expect that
Adam is the first candidate to have lived the longest!
If not Adam, Noah, then, the one who restarted the human offspring on earth,
is the next best candidate.
But strikingly enough, it is not Adam nor Noah, it is Methuselah about whom we know almost nothing!
Why Methuselah himself?
There is nothing interesting mentioned in the bible that this man did or said that!
There must be a point, however, because God is keen to record all ages of the patriarchs,
and definitely He has something to say about it.
Well, we might get at the purpose, and we might not,
but we have nothing to lose just to start our investigative trip going behind the question:
"Why Methuselah lived the longest?"
Is it really a hopeless question?
At first, we get stuck at the fact that there is quite poor information about Methuselah.
The lack of any impressive information is impressive in itself, as Methuselah lived the longest and is promising, per ce, of being the object of lots of interesting stories!
Bible only tells about:
His name, his father, his son and his age!
Four brief pieces of information in five short verses all in all! no more!!!
Even Genesis chapter 5, where we meet Methuselah for the almost single time,
seems no more than a routinic record of lifetimes and family tree of the early patriarchic age.
a very wide house, even as wide as the life in the kingdom of heaven, may be entered through a very narrow door (Mat7:14).
And we have four doors for our question, however narrow or locked they seem:
We know Methuselah's name,
we know his father
we know his son
and we have a precise chronological record that helps us relate the man to the synchronus events.
Let us first open the door of his name:
What does the name "Methuselah" mean?
Methuselah is a three-part name:
Meth, U and Selah
Meth = dead or died
U = and
Selah = send ("u" inflects it to future tense according to the old Hebrew grammar)
The combined name means: send on his death!
Odd! there is something to be sent on his death,
especially when we remember that his father,
the one who most probably gave him his name, was Enoch,
the very righteous one who walked with God!
Why Enoch called his son 'Send on his death' ?
Now our investigation goes temporarily to Enoch, whom, copmared to his son, we know a fair deal about.
Investigating his life may give us telling clues to why he named his son as such. The most prominent thing to be told about Enoch is that he walked with God. Why?
We can find the answer when we compare him to Elijah.
Both were taken up alive, and so it is reasonable to think that
both had some common features.
Elijah then may shed some light on the character of Enoch.
Elijah kept away from people when they left God,
That was the case with Enoch.
Here is an important rule:
When we like to understand the "text",
we should well read the "context".
The context where Enoch lived, and when he walked with God
was that the righteous descendants of Seth
got associated with the wicked descendants of Cain (Genesis6:1).
To a soul like Enoch's, that mix was unbearable.
He then tended to get away from the evil doers and live mostly in a solitude with God.
What was he and God talking about in their walking along together?
We know of another case where God had a personal friendship
and "walking" with a righteous one.
That was Abraham. (Genesis18:16)
God said to Himself during their walking together if He should hide from abraham what He was about to do and He told Abraham about the coming burning of sodomy.
Abraham pleaded with God interceding for his righteous kin Lut
not to be burnt with the wicked.
God may have told Enoch about the flood as He did with Abraham.
Enoch can not be less compassionate than abraham,
and he must interceded on the behalf of his offspring not to share the wicked their destiny.
In "Jude 14" we find that the Jewish tradition kept a prophecy of Enoch
that confirms our conclusions.
Enoch prophesied about the flood, and warned his people.
And finally, God almost would have been answering Enoch's intercession.
Your offspring will not share the destiny. God says!
That dialog had been too early in the life of Enoch, before he had his first son,
or before he gave him a name;
and the previous analysis gives us a good reason for the name:
Send on his death!
He is dead, now You may send!
The amazing name is now understood!
Not only by his explicit warning as recorded in Jude, but also by the name of his son,
that Enoch warned his people, and finally, he walked entirely with God,
and disappeared because God took him up
(Genesis 5:24) leaving his son, Methuselah, as a living silent warning to the wicked generations.
We are done now with Enoch,
but before we leave him let us highlight an important guideline that has helped us so far:
When we like to get deeper into a biblical character or situation,
we should resort to the analogous characters or situations
We have got valuable help from comparing Enoch to Elijah,
and from comparing the flood circumstances to the Sodomy incident!
Now, back to Methuselah:
Confirming our conclusion by a bit of arithmetics!
We now can make great use of the "boring" records of ages and years of Genesis 5 as
we can calculate the year Methuselah died, and the year the flood came, and compare:
Have a paper and pencil, start calculating, Methuselah was 187 years of age when Hhe gave birth to Lamech. (Genesis 5:25)
Lamech was 182 years of age when he gave birth to Noah (Genesis 5:28)
187 + 182 = 369
Methuselah was 369 years of age when His grandson Noah was born. The flood came in the 600th year of Noah. (Genesis 7:6)
Hold your breath:
369 + 600 = 969
IT IS THE SAME YEAR!!!
Methuselah died in the year of the flood.
He was mentioned to have "died" but not "perished".
Yes, he as well as all the other righteous desacendants of Adam
died before the flood and evaded the destiny of the wicked.
His son tells even more!
As we have started calculations,
we might like to know about the son of Methuselah as well,
And we find now a remarkable result:
Lamech, the son of Methuselah, not only died before the flood,
but also died in the life of his father, Methuselah!
The remark here is that Lamech is an exception:
The whole records of the patriarchs does not have another similar case,
all fathers died long time before their sons. And here we see an exception!
So, the life of Methuselah, not only was the longest ever,
but also was prolonged unexceptionally to contain the whole lifetime of his son!
We have been right in our original question:
There is something in the life of Methuselah!
It was longer than natural and expected!!!
Our original question revisited:
A lot hae unclocked so far out of what seemed at first closed dummy pieces of date.
Nowm having lots of troves, one may revisit the head question with rich hope of having a brilliant answer as good as the discoveries at hand:
Why Methuselah lived the longest?
St. Paul gives the answer in "Romans 2:4"!
Please open your bible and read it and get back as soon as possible.
Yeah, that is why!
As long as Methuselah lived, as long as there was a chance for repentance,
and God prolonged his life till it exceeded the length of Adam's,
but no one repented!
Yet, till he saw the death of his son,
but no one took hint!
God was so patient,
as patient as the duration of the lifetime of the one who lived ever longest!
but no one cared till it was the time of "Romans 2:5" !!!
Again, st. Peter sums up our whole trip in two wonderful citations:
I Peter 3:19 and II Peter 3:8-10
So longing to our repentance,
God counts such a long time as 1000 years as only one short day.
To His love,
that long time is nothing for the sake of our repentance.
But on the other hand, one day spent in disobedience is so harsh on God as one thousand year,
At certain time, Judgment, which God is not hurried to, will inevitably come.
God was longsuffering as long as the man who lived the longest ever.
Longer than the lifetime of Adam at whose fall death entered the world,
longer than the lifetime of Noah through whose righteousness life was renewed.
In some dictionaries, Methuselah is rendered as man (champion) of the dart.
This translation is not accurate. "methuse" means champion, but "lah" does not mean dart.
It is "selah" rather that means dart or sudden and strong sending.
The syllable "se" is used TWICE for that translation to work, although it occurs only ONCE in the name.
One could argue that the original name meant for Methuselah, is Methuse-selah, and in the course of regular usage,
got abridged for easy pronunciation.
This line of argument might work in principle, but it still lacks any clue in support. Further, even though, what counts for implication a name leaves, is how it falls on ears. Furthermore, even the suggested translation of "man of the dart" is not very out of context of the meaning in this article.
The most accurate translation is the one used here, given first by dr. Henry Morris, besides no matter what had been meant by the name, what falls on the ears count.
After all, what counts the most is that "send on his death" is literally more accurate, besides it just makes even more sense to the course of events that took place on and afterwards.
Premature yet, but was intended originally for developing digging-in-bible skills for teens.
Discussed originally in an interlude with a youth group in st.George church of Agouza, Egypt. Delivered many times, later, on the internet. Written casually in November 2001. Still needs re-editing.