What does the expression as “Old as Methuselah” mean?
This idiom, rooted in the Bible, means someone or something is very old! The book of Genesis says that Methuselah lived for 969 years.
Who was Methuselah?
Methuselah is the oldest person mentioned in the Bible. He lived to be 969 years old (Genesis 5:27). In Genesis 5, Methuselah is listed as a descendent of Adam, who also lived nearly a millennium. Methuselah and Adam are not the only persons mentioned in the Bible living over 900 years.
- Adam lived to be 930 years old
- Adam’s son Seth lived 912 years
- Seth’s son Enosh (or Enos) lived to be 905 years old
- Methuselah’s grandfather Jered lived to be 962 years old
- Methuselah’s grandson Noah lived to be 950 years old
Though Methuselah lived 693 years after Adam, it is likely they knew each other since Adam lived for another 237 years after Methuselah was born.
Methuselah was the son of Enoch. Enoch was 65 when Methuselah was born. Enoch was commended for his faithfulness to God. According to Genesis 5, “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Methuselah’s son Lamech was the father of Noah. Methuselah was 369 years old when Noah was born (Genesis 5:25-29). Methuselah died in the year of the flood when Noah was 600 years old (Genesis 9:28-29).
Where is Methuselah found in the Bible?
References to Methuselah found are in:
Genesis 5:21-22 “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.”
Genesis 5:25-27 “When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.”
1 Chronicles 1:1-4 “Adam, Seth, Enosh, 2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, 3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. 4 The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth.”
Luke 3:37 “the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan.”
Interesting Facts about Methuselah
1. The meaning of Methuselah’s name is believed to be “Man of the Dart,” or “Man of the Javelin."
2. Methuselah was the oldest person on record in human history.
3. Methuselah died in the same year of the Flood – yes, that flood.
4. The oldest living tree is named after Methuselah.
The Methuselah tree is in a hidden and protected location in the White Mountains of eastern California. The tree is a Bristlecone Pine and is 4,769 years old (as of 2019).
AnswersInGenesis.org, “When Did Methuselah Die?” Bodie Hodge 2010.
BibleStudyTools.com, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Methuselah.
BibleStudyTools.com, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Methuselah.
National Parks Service, Bristlecone Pine, 2015.
Penny Noyes, M.Ed. is the author of Embracing Change - Learning to Trust God from the Women of the Bible and two books about Hezekiah. You can follow Penny on her blog and on Instagram @pennynoyes.
Photo Credit: Pixabay/werner22brigitte