This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Doctrinal Matters: Difficult Passages

Search :


by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.


Did Methuselah die during the global Flood?


In Genesis chapter 5, Moses recorded the genealogy of Adam. The name that commonly stands out in that list is Methuselah. Methuselah is the oldest person recorded in Scripture, and his name is often used today when referring to something or someone very old. In verse 21 of that chapter, we learn that Methuselah was the son of Enoch. We are then informed:

Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. After he begot Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died. Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years and had a son (vss. 25-28).

Lamech’s son was Noah. The Bible records in Genesis 7:6 that Noah was 600 years old when the floodwaters were on the Earth. In light of this information, we can take the age of Methuselah when Lamech was born (187), add to that Lamech’s age when he begot Noah (182) and the age of Noah when the floodwaters came (600), and determine that Methuselah was 969 years old the year the Flood occurred [187+182+600=969]. Since Genesis 5:27 indicates this was the age at which Methuselah died, it is logical to conclude that he died the year of the Flood. However, the Bible does not indicate that he died as a result of the Flood. [Remember, his father was Enoch, one of a select few who walked with God and was taken directly by God, not experiencing death. Thus, Methuselah’s father was a very righteous man, who undoubtedly set a proper example for his son.] While the exact meaning of Methuselah’s name is unknown, many scholars have suggested that it means, “When he dies, it shall be sent,” implying that the Flood would result when Methuselah died (Morris, 1976, p. 160). But, here again, we cannot be certain and should not be dogmatic.


Morris, Henry (1976), The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Copyright © 2006 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

We are happy to grant permission for items in the "Doctrinal Matters" section to be reproduced in part or in their entirety, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) the author’s name must remain attached to the materials; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558