The maximum number of years a human may live is between 120 & 150 years but no longer than this “absolute limit” on human life span, according to this study published in Nature. Out of all the mammals on Planet Earth, the Bowhead whale may live 200+ years. Interestingly ancient Sumerian, Hindu as well as Biblical texts describe the individuals that lived for thousands of years.
Those who have some interest in ancient history might be aware of Methuselah, a man who lived 969 years, according to the Biblical facts. He is mentioned in the Book of Genesis as the son of Enoch, the father of Lamech, and the grandfather of Noah. His story in the Bible is significant as he is a part of the genealogy that links Adam to Noah.
In most versions of the Bible, Methuselah was nearly 200 years old when his son, Lamech, was born and died sometime after the Flood from Noah’s story. Due to his old age, Methuselah became a part of popular culture and his name is typically used when referring to the advanced age of people or things.
But not only is this Biblical character fascinating for his longevity, he is also very important for a number of other reasons. According to Genesis, Methuselah was the eighth antediluvian patriarch. The following is taken from the King James Version of the Bible:
21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.
25 And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:
26 And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:
27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
—Genesis 5:21–27, Bible.
Methuselah is mentioned in Genesis as the son of Enoch and father of Lamech—who in turn was the father of Noah—whom he fathered at 187 years of age. His name has become a general synonym applied to any elderly creature, used in phrases such as “having more years than Methuselah” or “being older than Methuselah.”
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A careful reading of the Old Testament reveals that Methuselah reportedly died in the year of the Great Flood. Three manuscript traditions, the Masoretic, the Septuagint, and the Samaritan Torah offer different timelines.
In the Masoretic, an authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism, Methuselah was 187 years when his son was born. He died the year of the Flood at the age of 969. The Septuagint, sometimes referred to as the Greek Old Testament, the earliest extant Greek translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew indicates that Methuselah was 187 years when his son was born and died at the age of 969, but six years before the Great flood.
According to the Samaritan Torah, a text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, written in the Samaritan alphabet and used as scripture by the Samaritans, Methuselah was 67 years old when his son was born, and he died at the age of 720 years, the years the Great Flood took place.
Such reference of longevity is surely mentioned in other ancient texts as well. The most controversial ancient Sumerian text reveals the list of eight ancient kings who descended from the sky and ruled for over 200,000 years. According to the text, before the Great Flood, a group of 8 intelligent beings ruled over Mesopotamia for a period of 241,200 years. (Click here to read full text)
The clay tablet of this unique text is 4,000-year-old and was found by German-American scholar Hermann Hilprecht at the beginning of the 20th century. Hilprecht found at least 18 such cuneiform tablets (c. 2017-1794 BCE). They were not identical but they shared the information that is believed to have been taken from a single source of Sumerian history. There are more than a dozen of copies of the Sumerian King List found in Babylon, Susa, Assyria, and the Royal Library of Nineveh from the 7th century BC.
The Sumerian List before the flood: “After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridug. In Eridug, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28800 years. Alaljar ruled for 36000 years. 2 kings; they ruled for 64800 years. Then Eridug fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira.
Some authors believe that human beings lived close to a thousand years, until after the flood, God shortened this age (Genesis 6:3) Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
But was it really an act of God, the fact that human lifespan was shortened? Or is it possible that there is another, more extravagant explanation, one that suggests that in the days of Methuselah, beings not from Earth walked on our planet?