Bible Question:

Biblical Lifespan — How long will people live according to Psalm 90:10?

Bible Answer:

Genesis 5 is the earliest chapter in the Bible that documents the ages of the earliest men of our civilization. Genesis 5:5 tells us that the first man, Adam, lived to the age 930 years. Genesis 5:27 tells us that the oldest man that has lived on the earth was Methuselah, who lived to the age of 969 years. The question that now concerns us is how long can people live today? That is, “How long will people live according to Psalm 90:10?” In this article you will discover man’s biblical lifespan.

How Long Will People Live

Lifespan of Earliest Man

The chapters of Genesis 5 and 9 reveal that early man lived to almost one thousand years. After the worldwide flood (Genesis 7:1-8:22), that is also referred to as Noah’s flood, men and women did not live as long. The universal flood changed environmental conditions on the planet and  consequently people could not live as long.

When we come to Genesis 25:7, we discover that Abraham lived 175 years.  Isaac lived 180 years (Genesis 35:38) and Jacob lived 147 years (Genesis 47:28). When we reach Moses, the life expectancy was about 120 years (Deuteronomy 34:7; Numbers 33:39; Judges 2:8).

Biblical Lifespan

That is, the maximum life expectancy of mankind dropped after the flood to a maximum of about 120 years by the time of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Scripture does not give us the average life expectancy of mankind. It only mentions the ages of certain individuals.

Meaning of Psalm 90:10

Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses. It was written by a godly man who lived to the age of 120 years (Deuteronomy 34:7. This is important information that helps us understand that Psalm 90:10 is not referring to the maximum number of years men and women will live. Moses knew that some men and women lived past seventy or eighty years when he wrote the psalm. He lived to be 120 years old.

The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10 (NASB)

The key phrase is “years of our life.” It refers to an average, in this case seventy years. Eighty years is possible if the individual is physically stronger. But longer years are obtainable, just as Moses experienced as he lived to 120 years.

Today,  some women have lived to the age of about 120 years.[1] It is also documented that men have lived over 100 years. Jiroemon Kimura lived to 116 years and 54 days.[2] So it is not unheard of for people to live longer than eighty years. Psalm 90:10 is not trying to give us a maximum limit on the age a man or woman can live. It is referring to the average lifespan of mankind.

Conclusion:

According to Worldometers.info the average life expectancy of both sexes is 73.2 years.[3] This agrees with Moses’ statement in Psalm 90:10 that the “years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty.”

 

References:

1. Craig R. Whitney. “Jeanne Calment, World’s Elder, Dies at 122.” New York Times. Aug. 5, 1997.
2. Jiroemon Kimura. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiroemon_Kimura.
3. Life Expectancy of the World Population.(www.worldometers.info/demographics/life-expectancy)

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