Methuselah (Metushelach), son of Enoch (Chanoch),1 was a prominent spiritual figure during the era prior to the Great Flood. His lifespan is the longest recorded in Biblical history2—a grand total of 969 years.3

His Name

His name, Methuselah, is a contraction of the words “matayim shloshim” (two hundred and thirty), referring to the number of parables4 he typically shared when extolling G‑d’s greatness.5 Methuselah also alludes to having the ineffable name of G‑d engraved upon his sword.6

His Spiritual Stature

Along with Adam, Seth (son of Adam), the three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and King David, Methuselah was one of the Seven Shepherds,7 i.e. spiritual leaders of their respective eras.8

The Talmud teaches that Methuselah was one of seven people whose years overlapped with those of Adam, the first human.9 He served under Adam’s tutelage for 243 years.10

The Kabbalists note that Methuselah was privy to mystical traditions and esoteric insights handed down by the elite mystics of his era,11 and that he was gifted with a uniquely sublime Divine soul.12

His Life and Death

Although Methuselah lived during the era preceding the Great Flood, when people led subversive and morally corrupt lives,13 he remained perfectly righteous.14 He attempted to sway the people of his generation to align their lives with a better moral lifestyle, but to no avail.15

Methuselah died of natural causes right before the onset of the Flood16 on the 11th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan.17

His Legacy

Upon his passing, a seven-day period of mourning was observed,18 during which G‑d delayed the onset of the Flood out of deference to his righteousness.19

The Midrash teaches that G‑d was so pleased with the honor accorded to Methuselah after his passing that He radiated intense spiritual light (i.e. a heightened Divine consciousness) during those seven days for all of humanity to experience.20 The acute mourning that occurred was triggered by their being made aware of the sense of spiritual loss felt on High to the point that even the angels eulogized Methuselah and shed profuse tears over his passing.21

According to some kabbalistic sources, the soul of Methuselah continued its corporeal existence having been reincarnated in the body of Elijah the prophet.22