METHUSELAH

METHUSELAH
METHUSELAH (Heb. מְתוּשֶׁלַח), patriarch of mankind, son of enoch , father of lamech , and grandfather of noah (Gen. 5:21–25). The name has been variously explained as meaning "man of the weapon" or "man (worshiper) of (the deity) Salah." Methuselah in the genealogy of Seth (Gen. 5:2–21, P) is the counterpart of Methusael in that of Cain (4:18, J). The parallel is even more exact in the Septuagint which transcribes "Methuselah" in both instances. Methuselah according to the Bible lived 969 years, longer than any of the pre-Abrahamic fathers of the human race. Babylonian tradition attributes exaggerated longevity – tens of thousands of years – to its heroes. U. Cassuto believes that the Bible wishes to negate the fantastic figures which attribute to kings a longevity that is unnatural to human beings and that makes them godlike. Not even Methuselah attained the age of 1,000 years, a single day of the Almighty (Ps. 90:4). If the biblical story be compared with the prevailing Babylonian tradition, the many years of Methuselah seem a modest, even a short life-span. The Bible diminished the exaggerated ages attributed to people in the Ancient Near East, but still preserved the tradition of assigning extraordinary longevity to great men. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: K. Budde, Die biblische Urgeschichte (1883), 93–103; A. Ehrenzweig, in: ZAW, 38 (1919/20), 84; E.G. Kraeling, ibid., 40 (1922), 154–5; M. Tsevat, in: VT, 4 (1954), 41–49, 322; U. Cassuto, A Commentary of the Book of Exodus 1 (1961), 287.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Methuselah — [mə tho͞o′zə lə, məthyo͞o′zə lə] n. [Heb methūshelaḥ, lit., ? man of the dart, or ? man of Shelah (a Babylonian deity)] 1. Bible one of the patriarchs, who lived 969 years: Gen. 5:27 2. [usually m ] Winemaking a large wine bottle, esp. one for… …   English World dictionary

  • Methuselah — This article is about the biblical Methuselah. For other uses, see Methuselah (disambiguation). Methuselah Children Lamech, and other sons and daughters Parents Enoch Methuselah (Hebrew …   Wikipedia

  • Methuselah —    The term methuselah in general conversation today is taken to mean a very old man, possibly incredibly old. According to the Bible (Genesis 5:27), Methuselah lived 969 years, which makes him the oldest figure in the Bible: When Enoch had lived …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • Methuselah — /meuh thooh zeuh leuh, thoohz leuh/, n. 1. a patriarch who lived 969 years. Gen. 5:27. 2. an extremely old man. 3. a very large wine bottle holding 61/2 qt. (6 l). * * * Biblical patriarch who lived to the age of 969. The son of Enoch, he is… …   Universalium

  • Methuselah — noun 1》 a very old person. 2》 (methuselah) a wine bottle of eight times the standard size. Origin 1930s: from the biblical patriarch Methuselah, said to have lived for 969 years (Gen. 5:27) …   English new terms dictionary

  • Methuselah — Me|thu|se|lah [ˌməˈθju:zılə US ˈθu: ] n as old as Methuselah very old …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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  • Methuselah — UK [məˈθjuːzələ] / US [məˈθuzələ] mainly literary someone who is very old • Etymology: In the Bible, Methuselah was a man who lived for 969 years …   English dictionary

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