In parshat Noach, Hashem (according to Rashi) delays the rain so that Metushelach's shiv'a period could be honored,

These are the seven days of mourning for the righteous man Methuselah for whose honour the Holy One, blessed be He. had regard, and therefore postponed punishment. Go and calculate the years of Methuselah and you will find that they came to an end (i. e. he died) in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life (which coincided with the date of the Flood) (Sanhedrin 108b).

Rashi calls him a Tzaddik. This answer cites (without real source) the statement that there were

seven long-lived saints whose successive lives extend over the whole history of mankind; each having transmitted the sacred lore from his predecessor to the one succeeding him, while shielding the generations of his time by means of his piety. These saints are: (1) Adam; (2) Methuselah;

(bolding mine)

This answer discusses sainted individuals in the context of belief in God and lists him.

Whereas this Q/A lists him (according to some opinions) as a "shepherd".

If he was such a tzaddik/saint/shepherd/believer, so much so that Hashem delayed His actions to respect his mourning period, why was he not saved with Noach (or why was he not the one who was spoken to 120 years earlier and warned about the flood)?

  • 2
    What was there to be saved from if he died before the flood?
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 0:33
  • If he was so much a tzaddik, he could have been the one Hashem spoke to initially, or he could have been saved simply to reward his righteousness. I guess it could be that the rain couldn't start until he died (in which case, in a sense, he was MORE righteous than Noach).
    – rosends
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 0:36
  • Asking why someone wasn't saved implies that something bad happened to them. Yet I don't see any indication in your question that anything bad happened to him. Everyone dies at some point. He lived his life and then died. What else should have happened?
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 0:41
  • Nothing bad happened because Hashem pushed off punishment in his z'chut. If that's the case, then he (I would think) merited more than he got. Not being the avenue through which people are saved indicates a deficiency though when compared to Noach, he is possibly superior.
    – rosends
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 0:44
  • 1
    Let's grant that Methushelach was superior. What would you have liked to happen to him? He lived his life completely. He died like every other righteous person in history has. He even had the entire world saved for an extra week in his merit. Adam also wasn't "saved" because he died long before the flood occurred. Avraham also wasn't saved because he was born after the flood occurred. In what sense was Methushelach less saved than these other two figures?
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 0:58

1 Answer 1


One of the reasons for not having the flood in that time is part of what we see from Avraham and his asking for S'dom to be saved if there were ten righteous people. Once the count got to ten, Avraham stopped praying. We learn from this that it required a minyan (10 people) to prevent the flood. Hashem was willing to be counted as one of the ten. Noach, his wife, their three sons, and their wives were 8. Mesushelach was the tenth person whose merit prevented the flood from starting. He reached the normal end of his life and died. Since there was noone to replace him, the flood could no longer be postponed. However, out of respect for him, Hashem waited the extra seven days until his mourning period was completed.

Rashi explains on Vayeira 18:32

perhaps ten will be found there: For fewer [than ten] he did not ask. He said, “In the Generation of the Flood, there were eight: Noah and his sons, and their wives, but they did not save their generation.” And for nine, together with counting [God] he had already asked, but did not find.

  • the first question I cited lists people in whose merit a generation was protected. #3 is Shem. He was alive before the mabul began and yet the waters came. So not only were the 2 alive at the time, but Shem's "protection" didn't work. Met was clearly superior in merits. Why didn't hashem save him (or any of his other sons and daughters besides his one grandson's family).
    – rosends
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 10:01
  • @rosends it was not an individual but a minyon that was needed, similar to S'dom and Abraham. Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 12:35
  • 1
    @Kazibácsi I added the citation from Rashi which shows (by implication) that while Mesushelach was alive there were nine plus Hashem to keep the flood from coming. Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 13:02
  • This is interesting from the perspective that in regard to the generation of the flood, it includes both men & women. And yet, the concept of being counted in a Minyan today does not include women. Are you suggesting that by non-Jews, women get included equally too men, but among Jews that is not the case? Additionally, what is the idea of including G-d in the count? Halacha doesn't follow that idea either. And the Rashi in Hebrew says, "וְעַל ט' עַל יְדֵי צֵרוּף כְּבָר בִּקֵּשׁ וְלֹא מָצָא:". "On 9 through 'tzeruf' he (meaning Avraham) already asked..." That seems to be about another time. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 19:37
  • @sabbahillel What is this idea of 'Tzeruf' that Rashi is referring to and when did that event occur? The English translation adds mention of G-d, but that isn't in the Rashi and even if it were wouldn't make sense. To my knowledge, no-one follows that idea. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 19:43

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