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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 5726 old age, attainment of
5726 old age, attainment of

5726 old age, attainment of

Attaining old age is regarded as a blessing from God, often as a reward for obedience. The physical weakness brought by old age is recognised; so too is God’s ability to strengthen and sustain the aged. Old age is often accompanied by a growth in wisdom and discernment.

Life expectancy in the OT

Before the flood Ge 5:5,8,11,27 Methuselah died in the year of the flood; Ge 9:29

After the flood Ge 6:3 See also Ge 11:10-25 Following the flood, the span of life gradually reduces; Ge 25:7-8 Abraham’s death at 175 is considered “a good old age”.

In later generations Ps 90:10 See also 2Sa 5:4-5; 2Sa 19:34-35

Attaining old age is a blessing from God

Long life as a reward for obedience Dt 5:33 See also Ex 20:12 pp Dt 5:16; Dt 4:40; Pr 3:1-2; Pr 16:31; Ecc 8:13

Reaching old age is a mark of God’s favour Ge 15:15 See also Ge 24:1; Ge 35:29 Isaac; Jdg 8:32 Gideon; 1Ch 29:28 David, like Abraham and Gideon is described as dying at “a good old age”; 2Ch 24:15 Jehoiada; Job 42:17 Job

People reaching old age indicates God’s blessing on society Zec 8:4 See also Isa 65:20

Seeing grandchildren is a sign of blessing Pr 17:6 See also Ge 48:11; Ge 50:22-23; Ru 4:15; Job 42:16; Ps 128:5-6; Isa 53:10

Failure to reach old age is a result of God’s judgment 1Sa 2:31-33

The disabilities of old age

Its frailties Ps 71:9 See also Ge 27:1; Ge 48:10; 1Ki 1:1; 1Ki 15:23; Ecc 12:2-7 an allegory portraying physical decline

The progressive inability to have children Ge 18:11-13 See also Ge 17:17; Ge 37:3 Children born in old age were rare and therefore special; 2Ki 4:14; Lk 1:18

The approach of death Ge 27:2; 1Ki 1:15; 1Ch 23:1

God’s provision for the aged

God strengthens and sustains them Isa 46:4 See also Dt 34:7; Jos 14:10-11; Job 5:26; Ps 92:14

God gives them children Ge 21:7 Abraham and Sarah; 2Ki 4:16-17 the Shunammite woman; Lk 1:36 Elizabeth

Wisdom and self-control should accompany old age

Job 12:12 See also Job 15:10; Pr 20:29; Jn 8:9; Tit 2:2

See also


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