Old Age


In New Testament we have presbutes, "aged," "advanced in days" (Titus 2:2; Phm 1:9); presbutis, "aged woman" (Titus 2:3); probebekos en hemerais, advanced in days" (Lu 2:36); geras, "old age" (Lu 1:36).

Revised Version has "old" for "the age of" (1Ch 23:3), "own age" for "sort" (Da 1:10); "aged" for "ancients" (Ps 119:100), for "ancient" (Isa 47:6); for "old" (Heb 8:13); "aged men" for "the ancients" (Job 12:12); for "aged" (Job 12:20), "elders."

Regard for Old Age: (1) Among the Hebrews (and Orientals generally) old age was held in honor, and respect was required for the aged (Le 19:32), "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man"; a mark of the low estate of the nation was that "The faces of elders were not honored"; "The elders have ceased from the gate" (La 5:12,14). Compare Job 29:8 (as showing the exceptionally high regard for Job). See also The Wisdom of Solomon 2:10; Ecclesiasticus 8:6.

(2) Old age was greatly desired and its attainment regarded as a Divine blessing (Ge 15:15; Ex 20:12, "that thy days may be long in the land"; Job 5:26; Ps 91:16, "With long life will I satisfy him"; Ps 92:14; compare Isa 65:20; Zec 8:4; 1Sa 2:32).

(3) A Divine assurance is given, "Even to old age I am he, and even to hoar hairs will I carry you" (Isa 46:4); hence it was looked forward to in faith and hope (Ps 71:9,18).

(4) Superior wisdom was believed to belong to the aged (Job 12:20; 15:10; 32:7,9; compare 1Ki 12:8); hence positions of guidance and authority were given to them, as the terms "elders," "presbyters" and (Arabic) "sheik" indicate.