Methuselah Was a Bit Younger Than 969

Shawn E. Crapo By Shawn E. Crapo, 16th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Religion>Christianity

Mistranslations of ancient Hebrew can lead to some misunderstandings.

The Oldest Man Who Ever Lived

In the Old Testament, the ancient Hebrew text that is also common in Christianity, a man named Methuselah is mentioned. He is the son of Enoch, and the grandfather of Noah. The Bible says that he lived to the ripe old age of 969. That's a long time!

However, we all know that no one can possibly live that long, and I submit that his exxaggerated age is simply the result of a mistranslation. If we assume that his age is actually represented in months (969 months) and the number is divided by 12 to convert it to years, we get the number 80.75.

This is quite obviously a more believable lifespan, and one that is fairly close to the average human lifespan of today.

Noah is said to have lived for 950 years. Using the same formula, we get the number 79.16, another believable lifespan.

Is it possible there was a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for "year?" Or did the ancient the ancient Hebrews (or at least those who wrote the Old Testament) actually count age by months. I believe this is possible since the Moon has often been used by other cultures for measuring the passage of time.

Some Arguments

One could argue that if this were true, then Enoch would have been 5 years old when he fathered Methuselah. In reality, we have to keep in mind that Enoch's story was originally told by the Sumerians, an earlier culture that would have counted time differently.

It is also believed that time was counted in 1/10s of years, and the decimal point was just left out (making Methuselah 96.9 years.) This doesn't really make any sense, though, as there would be no basis for 1/10s of years, and the decimal system woulnd't have been used in the ancient world.


Biblical Figures, Long Life, Longevity, Methuselah, The Bible, The Old Testament

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author avatar Shawn E. Crapo
Author of The Dragon Chronicles series of epic fantasy novels.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
16th Mar 2014 (#)

I might have thought they may have counted age from new moon to new moon or something like that.

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author avatar Shawn E. Crapo
17th Mar 2014 (#)

Also completely logical and plausible.

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