“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. (Psalm 90:10).
This is the verse in the Bible that sets the biblical life span of human beings on earth. God had set this limit when human beings had already multiplied and occupied the whole world. It’s threescore years and ten. One score is equivalent to twenty, so threescore is twenty times three, which is sixty. Plus ten, that’s seventy. So the typical, biblical life span of people is seventy years old.
Does it mean that people do not die before reaching the age of seventy? No. Do people who reach seventy years of age die immediately? No. Just because God had declared seventy as the people’s life expectancy doesn’t mean they only die at exactly seventy years old. They could die before or after it, as we must have observed. It’s just the typical age limit.
Well, life on earth used to be so long, especially during those times when the number of people on earth was still very small. They lived up to hundreds of years. Many of them such as Methuselah and Noah lived to be nine hundred plus years. And even if they were already hundreds of years old, they were still procreating sons and daughters until such time that the earth’s population had multiplied.
And so, when people had already occupied the whole earth as God commanded, their numbers multiplied, and God had shortened man’s lifespan into threescore years and ten, or seventy. Of course, life expectancy nowadays is also dictated by culture, lifestyles, status in life, religion, and many others. In our country, that’s apparently the average life span so long as people die of natural deaths.
If for some reason, someone lives to be eighty or ninety, the Bible says that his days will be full of labor and sorrows. He would be suffering from bodily pains and even emotional anguish. Sickness and disease multiply among old folks as their strength and body deteriorate. These are deteriorating years, and losing years. One eventually loses eyesight, hearing, teeth, strength, beauty, friends, and many others, not to mention the pains that settle in many parts of the body.
In short, one may live to be over seventy years old, but these years would be nothing but years of suffering, pain, sorrow, loneliness, sadness, idleness, boredom, anxiety, depression, and many other negative experiences. It would take a great optimist to convert all this into favorable ones. Perhaps, that’s what one gets for living beyond the limit. It’s not an exciting life anymore, hence the preference of some to just give up the ghost.
Make no mistake about this. Am not saying that life beyond seventy is useless. Of course, it’s a blessing from God, a bonus so to speak. One should take it gratefully if one lives to be a hundred or more. Praise God for it.