Coincidence? Methuselah’s Death And Noah’s Flood

Here’s an interesting biblical question:

Genesis 5:26 tells us that Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather, and the oldest man in the Bible) lived 782 years after the birth of his son Lamech (Noah’s father). Lamech was 182 years old when Noah was born (Genesis 5:28), meaning that Noah would have been 600 years old when Methuselah, his grandfather, died (782 years of life after Lamech’s birth minus Lamech’s 182 years before Noah’s birth).

Noah was 600 years old when Methuselah died, but the Scripture also tells us that the flood occurred in the 600th year of Noah’s life (Genesis 7:6, 11). Not only that, but the flood occurred early in that year (17th day of the second month).

What I find interesting, on top of the dates, is this: Noah received the instruction to build the ark presumably years earlier, and the instructions given then covered only taking his wife, sons, and their wives. And furthermore, in the context of those instructions, Genesis 6:5-8 and 6:11-13 make clear that “all flesh” was corrupt and evil, with the single exception of Noah (and, given the fact that Noah’s walking with God–6:9–is mentioned immediately before his three sons–6:10–I’d infer that his sons were similarly walking in Noah’s footsteps, at least at that time). What’s noteworthy is the fact that, when these instructions are given and this judgment pronounced upon all flesh other than Noah and his immediate family, his grandfather Methuselah was still alive. Chances are that Noah’s father, who died only 5 years before the flood, may have been as well (depending on how long it took to build the ark). The text does not directly say, but the math seems to imply that Methuselah was under that judgment.

We can’t know for sure either way, of course. Still, the question stands: was the date of Methuselah’s death coincidental? Did he die a natural death? Or in the flood?

Did Noah’s own family oppose the project? A sobering question, indeed, and one many believers today grapple with personally in their own families…



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2 responses to “Coincidence? Methuselah’s Death And Noah’s Flood

  1. Brad

    I’ve always assumed God knew when he would die and that he would not go on the ark. Alternatively, dieing in the flood need not imply judgment for him; perhaps he was too frail to survive the ark ordeal and so God was not planning on him entering the new age of human history?

    Also, a comment on the current state of human society (all evil) might reasonably exclude a man in the generation which is very close to completely passing away.

    Or, you could be right.

  2. It should be reasonable that there were some righteous in the beginning of the ark project who helped with the work. The ark was a big project.
    Second the scriptures make it very clear about the unrighteous nature of the rest of mankind. It has been a common practice for the wicked to prey on the weak, the unwise, the righteous and each other. I believe the reason for only 8 flood survivors is all the other good people had been killed.
    To support my belief I point to Lamech died at 777 years of age. Younger than any other pre – flood patriarch. Young by the standards of the time.
    Why? I believe he was murdered, probably defending his family and the ark. The world was full of violence.
    My beliefs are based on personal study from Bible and other non- scripture sources. And prayer asking for answers.