The Death of Noah: Genesis 9:28–29

death of noah (2)

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1) Gen 9:28–29: Moses at last concluded the genealogy of Noah, which he interrupted at the end of Gen 5:32.[1] The entire flood account amplifies biographical material concerning a descendant of Seth (Gen 5:3–4).[2]

Taken together with Gen 5:32, these verses parallel the genealogy structure of Gen 5,[3] with one important deviation.

The account of Noah’s descendants forms a segmented genealogy tracing all three of his sons,[4] rather than a linear genealogy which mentions only the most prominent son by name.[5]

The typical format of Gen 5 appears as follows: Person A lived x years and fathered Person B; Person A lived y years after that and had other sons and daughters; Person A lived x plus y years and then he died.[6]



Moses recorded, “And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.”

This period likely began at the onset of the year-long flood (Gen 7:6). Moses omitted the stock phrase “and he had other sons and daughters” because he traced the lineage of all humanity in his known world, which descended from Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen 9:18–27; Gen 10).[7]



Noah’s fate contrasts with that of Utnapishtim, who recounted this post-flood event in the Epic of Gilgamesh:

“Thereupon Enlil went aboard the ship. Holding me by the hand, he took me aboard. He took my wife aboard and made (her) kneel by my side.

“Standing between us, he touched our foreheads to bless us, ‘Hitherto Utnapishtim has been but human. Henceforth Utnapishtim and his wife shall be like unto us gods. Utnapishtim shall reside far away, at the mouth of the rivers!’

“Thus, they took me and made me reside far away, at the mouth of the rivers.”[8]

Unlike Utnapishtim—who achieved immortality—Noah suffered the fate of virtually all his ancestors. Only Enoch escaped death (Gen 5:21–24).[9]

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a) Read Gen 9:28–29. Why did Moses deviate from the typical genealogy format of Gen 5? How would you characterize Noah’s life? Which aspects would you like to emulate? How do you seek to be different from him?





Go to The Descendants of Noah (Gen 10:1)

[Related posts include Ancient Near Eastern Genealogies (Gen 5:1); In Adam’s Likeness and Image (Gen 5:3–5); Walking with God (Gen 5:21–24); Seeking Relief (Gen 5:28–32); A Reversal of Creation (Gen 7:5–16); The Sons of Noah (Gen 9:18–19); Noah Planted a Vineyard (Gen 9:20–21); Ham Dishonors His Father (Gen 9:22–23); A Slave of Slaves (Gen 9:24–25); Blessed Be the God of Shem (Gen 9:26–27); Ancient Literature; and Author and Date of Genesis]

[Click here to go to Chapter 11: The Table of Nations (Gen 9:28–10:32)]


[1]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 151.

[2]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 327.

[3]Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 151.

[4]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 248–9.

[5]Matthews, Chavalas, and Walton, IVPBBCOT, Gen 5:1–32.

[6]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 121.

[7]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 203–4.

[8]Speiser, trans., “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” in ANET, 11:189–96, 95.

[9]Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 204.