Check out these BFF articles!
key to life

The Key to Life

Handling Angry Teens

Handly Angry Teens

revive devotions

Catching the Excitement of Personal Devotions & Quiet Times

Taking Your Next Step Toward Full-Time Ministry

Get the 300+ page book on Genesis! See details.

Romans 8:28 All things work together for good

Living in God's Love beyond Fear

Christian Living by Understanding the Mind of Christ

Christian Living by Understanding the Mind of Christ

Genesis Logo


Genesis 5:21-25

The Bible Teaching Commentary

You might be surprised the secret message in Methuselah's name!

Paul J. Bucknell

Flood chart

Purpose: EENOCH'S SECRET WORD: Methuselah in Genesis 5:21-25 speaks about Enoch's son and how he named him Methuselah because of a special prophetic vision given to Enoch. Come and see what this secret meaning is.

Names have significant meanings in the Bible and in many eastern countries. They are in a sense prophetic of a person. Jacob means "crooked." Abraham means "father of many nations." Enoch means 'dedicated.'

Methuselah means "death and sent." The objection to this interpretation is that the word for death has a letter out of place. But no godly man like Enoch could put "death" into his son's name (Death at some point also became a famous god's name.) Instead, the letter was switched to make 'death' hidden and yet present. We need to ask, "Why?"

We have two signficant events that confirm this.

(1) First, something great and tremendous was sent almost immediately upon Methuselah's death in 1656 (from Adam's birth counting). What was sent?

Right after Methuselah's death, a great judgment would be sent upon the world. This judgment was none other than the worldwide flood that swept the then-known world into oblivion. Only eight people survived the sea of death. See the chart.

Methusaleh's name means 'death sent' or upon death, judgment (flood) sent.
This verb (shalach) means 'to send' or 'send out.' Also can mean weapon.
This noun (maveth) means 'death' and can also refer to the god of death.

Remember that Hebrew words are read from right to left!

Methusaleh's name means 'death sent' or upon death, judgment (flood) sent.
We note here that the middle letter for death is switched so that it forms another word "and."

sent and death

(2) Second, in further confirmation of Methuselah's significant name was the great prophecy given to his father, Enoch. We would not know of this prophecy except from Jude 14,15.

"And about these also Enoch, [in] the seventh [generation] from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
( Jude 14-15)

When did this prophecy come about? We sense this prophecy was given to Enoch before Methuselah's birth. Enoch then built this prophecy into his son's name, Methuselah (death and sent). Enoch's prophecy of great judgment would come right after his son died. His son's name Methuselah was Enoch's secret word.

We understand there might be suspicion about this name because some books interpret Methuselah's name to be "man of the dart." This is possible but that interpretation has a problem. There is the oddly placed conjunction "and" in the middle of the two words "man" and "weapon." We favor "death and sent."

Taking Your Next Step Toward Full-Time Ministry

Get the 300+ page book on Genesis! See details.

In summary, "death and sent" is the most meaningful name given the context of Methuselah's life and death along with his father's important vision. God revealed his special judgment upon the wicked at Methuselah's death. He cleverly incorporated this prophecy into his son's name.

Perhaps the most confirming aspect of all of this is God's stamp of grace. Everyone knows (don't you?!) that Methuselah lived the longest of all men recorded in the Bible- 969 years. The longer he lived, the longer the judgment was put off. This gave man a longer time to seek God and avert judgment. God clearly shows His great patience with man by sending judgment at the very last moment. we see the words of Ezekiel here,

"For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live." (Ezekiel 18:32).

One might question whether Methuselah died before the flood or by the flood. The evidence strongly leads in favor of before the flood.

1) Methuselah was of the godly line (Lu 3:27). He was in the line of ten godly descendants that preserved the godly promise. There no doubt are others that are not mentioned. It is likely that he did not die as the world. He was not in its judgment because he chose to live God's ways.

2) Methuselah also was the oldest of all known mankind. At 969 he drew closest to the seeming ideal of 1000 years old. Long life is associated with the blessing of God. This is the way the scripture presents long life.

3) And lastly, Methuselah itself means 'sent death.' I suppose one could also argue that he died by the sending of the flood. His name would have no special significance if he would die by the flood for that would be true for all the ungodly at that time. God instead seems to take the oldest man living and then send the flood.

A Future Judgment

We know that judgment is soon coming upon the earth too. This next time it will not be a flood but fire that closes this phase of the earth. Jesus told us to be alert. Be ready.

The oldest man in the Bible lived 969 years. Methuselah died right before the flood. This depicts the greatness of God's patience and mercy.
Don't fall away with the others. Look to His return. Now is the day to repent - before judgment. We can be sure He has already put off the judgment we deserve because of our great and many sins. Soon His judgment will come in all of God's anger. If the Lord came with thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment upon a fraction of the people then living, we should understand that our judgment will be much greater yet.

Click here to go to the Patriarchal Chart on Genesis 5. There we see how Methuselah lived right up to the flood!