Enoch’s son Methuselah is the subject of Genesis 5:25-27: “When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus, all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.” Methuselah’s name is a prophecy in itself. Pink explains, “The name of his son strongly implies that Enoch had received a revelation from God. Methuselah signifies, “When he is dead, it shall be sent,” i. e., the Deluge. In all probability, then, a Divine revelation is memorialized in this name. It was as though God had said to Enoch, “Do you see that baby! The world will last as long as he lives and no longer! When that child dies, I shall deal with the world in judgment. The windows of heaven will be opened. The fountains of the great deep will be broken up, and all humanity will perish.”[1]

I remember wrestling with all these figures when I was a young Christian, figuring out dates for things. I didn’t know that this was an item of great controversy in the Christian community. The Greek Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch had different years associated with the patriarchs. Bishop Ussher figured out the earth was about 6000 years old by wresting with these genealogies but ignored that they might not be complete or there may be gaps. After wrestling with all the details of the births and deaths from Adam to Noah, Boice concludes, “The important thing is this. The flood came in the year 1656, according to the chronology of Genesis 5. But this is precisely the year in which Methuselah died, by the same reckoning! In other words, the history of the period bears out the meaning of Methuselah’s name. As long as Methuselah lived, the flood tarried. But when he died, it came.”[2]

Methuselah lived on the earth longer than any other human being. He was fathered by the man that lived on earth for the shortest period of all the descendants of Seth in Genesis Chapter five. I like the way Guzik explains Methuselah’s long life. He writes, “Methuselah’s long life was no accident. It was because of the grace of God. When Methuselah died, the flood came. God kept him alive longer than anybody to give people as long as possible to repent.”[3] God longs for the redemption of all human beings. He hasn’t changed. There is another coming judgment to the world. It’s been over 2000 years coming instead of just the 969 years of Methuselah’s life. There were scoffers in Noah’s day, but the flood came. There are scoffers today as well, but Peter speaks to them and all of us when he says in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

[1] Pink, Arthur Walkington. 2005. Gleanings in Genesis. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Boice, James Montgomery. 1998. Genesis: An Expositional Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Guzik, David. 2013. Genesis. David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible. Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik.