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Meaning and etymology of the name Methuselah

Methuselah Methuselah

Methuselah is the son of Enoch, who famously walked with God, and the father of Lamech the Second and the grandfather of Noah (Genesis 5:25). He is also the man with the longest life-span in the Bible (969 years). The Bible doesn't actually mention it but a little arithmetic reveals that Methuselah died in the year of the great flood. The question of whether he died of natural causes or drowned remains unanswered.

The name Methuselah consists of two elements. The first part is mat (mat), which is one of a few words to denote man or mankind, and used most often to indicate a male capable of combat. There is an obvious and grim connection with the word mut (mut), to die; corpse.

The second part comes from the verb shalah (shalah) meaning send, send out, let go. The charge of the verb becomes clear in the meaning of the derivatives: shalah (shelah), a sort of weapon that was thrown, like a javelin; shilluhim (shilluhim), sending away; sheluha (sheluha), shoot, branch (Isaiah 16:8); mishlah (mislah); undertaking (that to which one stretches out the hand), or pasture (where animals get to roam free); misloah (mishloah), outstretching, sending; mishlahat (mishlahat), discharge, deputation.

For a meaning of the name Methuselah, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads When He Is Dead It Shall Be Sent. NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Man Of A Javelin. Perhaps less dramatic is Man With A Mission.

Related names are Shelah and Shiloah.

Other names that incorporate the word mut are Ahimoth, Azmaveth, Hazermaveth and Methushael.



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