From Academic Kids

This article is about the Biblical character. See Methuselah (disambiguation) for other uses.

Methuselah or Metushélach (Hebrew מְתוּשֶׁלַח / מְתוּשָׁלַח "Man of the dart", or alternatively "when he dies, it shall be sent" Standard Hebrew Mətušélaḥ / Mətušálaḥ, Tiberian Hebrew Məṯûšélaḥ / Məṯûšālaḥ) was the oldest person whose age is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. He reportedly reached the age of 969 years. According to the Book of Genesis 5:27: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. (ASV)

He is mentioned in Genesis as the son of Enoch and the father of Lamech (father of Noah), whom he fathered at the age of 187. His name has become a general synonym for any living creature of great age. A close reading of the dates in the Old Testament reveals that Methuselah is said to have died the year of the Great Flood.

Modern cultural references

Robert Heinlein wrote a science fiction series about rejuvenation and a project called the 'Howard family' that was working to extend the human lifespan beyond 150 years - the first volume was called Methuselah's Children.

In the card game Vampire: the Eternal Struggle the players are known as "Methuselahs," most likely because they are supposed to be ancient vampires controlling minions, thus being a reference to their age.

In the Star Trek episode "Requiem for Methuselah", Methuselah is revealed to be an immortal man born in the year 3834 BC. According to Star Trek, other identities of the immortal Methuselah included Leonardo Da Vinci, Merlin, Solomon, Lazarus, and Johannes Brahms. But at the end of the episode, Dr McCoy revealed that he was finally dying. Methuselah was played in Star Trek by actor James Daly.

The movie Blade Runner makes passing reference to a Methuselah Syndrome, a gland condition causing accelerated aging.

Methuselah is the name of a bird in Barbara Kingsolver's novel The Poisonwood Bible.

In the Japanese anime Witch Hunter Robin the name is mentioned as "the Methuselah Witch" or the Immortal clan said to be able to control the powers of other witches and live forever unless killed by fire.

In another Japanese anime Trinity Blood methuselah is the name of a clan of vampires.

In the Brian Jacques Redwall series, Methuselah is the name of a very old mouse.

Scientists planted a seed from an extinct, 2,000-year-old date palm species; the unexpected sprout it produced was named 'Methuselah' (New York Times ( article [1] (


Our current knowledge on cellular lifespan hypothesizes that the natural limit on modern human longevity is well below 150 years. Guinness Records for the oldest living person have long remained within the range from age 112 to the all-time record of 122 years held by Jeanne Calment, but the process of sorting genuine supercentenarians from longevity myths is hampered by the often questionable birth certification records from the late 19th century. Guinness Record statistics are soon likely to reveal the approximate true longest natural human lifespan yet achieved in modern times.

Today some maintain that the unusually high longevity of Biblical patriarchs is the result of an error in translation: lunar cycles were mistaken for the solar ones, and the actual ages are 12.37 times less. This gives 78 years for Methuselah, which is still an impressive number, bearing in mind the life expectancy of Biblical times. Methuselah's fathering of Lamech would correspondingly have occurred at solar age 15 (187÷12.37). (This theory however, seems doubtful to others since patriarchs such as Mahalalel (ibid 5:15) and Enoch (ibid 5:21) were said to have become fathers after 65 "years." If the lunar cycle theory were accepted this would translate to an age of about 5 years and 2 months. Creationists have proposed a number of ideas for the dramatic decrease in lifespans following the flood of Noah's time. One was that conditions before the flood caused much less ultraviolet light from the sun to impact the earth, and that this allowed for longer life spans. The latest proposal is that it is due to the genetic bottleneck that would have been caused by the flood, causing loss of longevity genes.

[2] ( nl:Metusalach pt:Matusalém zh:瑪土撒拉 es:Matusalén


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