187 + 182 + 600 = Methuselah

(Fair warning: If you don’t care about some of the Geeky incidental details of the Bible, stop reading now.)


This week I start classes at Western Seminary and to prepare I’ve started doing my required readings. For one of my classes I’ll be reading through a large portion of the Old Testament (Genesis through Song of Solomon). I don’t know about you, but any time I read a list of Hebrew names, I always wonder what they mean. Do any of them mean, “he eats his boogers” or “he makes a tasty chicken sandwich”? Yesterday as I was reading Genesis 5, I took the time to look up the names in Gen 5:6-25. But before I show you what I found out, we have to do a little math, so bear with me.

In Gen 5:25, we read that Methuselah fathered Lamech when he was 187. Then, in Gen 5:28, we find out that Lamech fathered Noah when he was 182. Add those two together and you get 396… which means that Methuselah was 369 years old when Noah, his grandson, was born.

We all know what Noah is most famous for:  the Ark! Noah’s Ark, right? Well how old was Noah when the deluge came? Genesis 7:6, says that Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. So add 600 to the 396 and you get… drum roll… 969. Pretty cool, right? Yeah, not really…unless you look at Genesis 5:27 and pay attention to Methuselah’s age when he died:  969!

So why is this (debatably) interesting enough to warrant a blog post? Well, I’m glad you asked! Guess what Methuselah’s name means. Yesterday I found out that, according to The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names, Methuselah can mean “Messenger of death,” ”Man of the dart,” ”A man of the javelin,” or, most commonly and most interesting “When he is dead it shall be sent.”

“When he is dead it shall be sent??” Yeah, that was his name!

What shall be sent? The flood! The year Methuselah died was the same year that God sent the flood to cleanse the earth. For almost 1,000 years, Methuselah’s name served as a warning of judgment that the flood was coming!