Genesis 5:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 5:27, NIV: "Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died."

Genesis 5:27, ESV: "Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died."

Genesis 5:27, KJV: "And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died."

Genesis 5:27, NASB: "So all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died."

Genesis 5:27, NLT: "Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died."

Genesis 5:27, CSB: "So Methuselah's life lasted 969 years; then he died."

What does Genesis 5:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Methuselah's status as the oldest person recorded in the Bible is the reason his name is often a punchline. Modern people sometimes jokingly refer to a very old person as "Methuselah." At 969 years, Methuselah not only lived more than 200 years in parallel with Adam, he saw the world as it was just prior to the great flood.

The long lifespans of this chapter can be attributed to many possible effects. The earth of this era would have been free from most diseases and pollution. Nearly perfectly-clean air, food, and water would have been the norm. And, humanity had not yet suffered the effects of long-term genetic decay. So, given that both human biology and human environments were "brand new," it's not shocking to imagine people surviving to extraordinary old age. Even today, modern biology suggests that length of life is far more influenced by biology and environment than anything else: living things die because of corruption.

In some respects, Methuselah's story is just like the others recorded in this genealogy. His story ends with the common phrase, "and he died." He is said to have fathered many sons and daughters. However, there are some aspects of his life which are remarkable. Among these, of course, are his long life, and the unusual fate of his father, Enoch (Genesis 5:24). Methuselah also outlives his son, Lamech, who will die five years before him.

Methuselah's name has a dual interpretation. It can be taken to mean "man of the dart," or "his death brings judgment." As it turns out, according to the ages given in this chapter, Methuselah will die in the same year as the flood. This, combined with the fact that Methuselah was born prior to the death of Adam, is especially important. Right up the point of destruction, mankind still had access to (at worst) second-hand accounts of the origins of our entire race. Genesis chapter 6 describes humanity at the end of Methuselah's life as deeply depraved (Genesis 6:5). And yet, the history of mankind was not lost or obscure. There were men and women walking the earth who had seen, personally, what had happened in the past, and who God was. This makes the depth of sin during Noah's era all the more tragic.

What's also intriguing about Methuselah are questions about his life, and his character. Clearly, most of his children were not followers of God—only his grandson Noah would be rescued by God. Strictly speaking, we don't know anything about Methuselah or his relationship with God. He might have been devout like his father, or he might not. The fact that he dies in the same year as the flood could even mean he was killed by it. We simply do not know.