Old Age in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

The reward of filial obedience, according to the fifth commandment; remarkably illustrated in the great permanence of the Chinese empire; wherein regard for parents and ancestors is so great that it has degenerated into superstition. Patriarchal times and patriarchal governments have most maintained respect for the old. The Egyptians followed the primeval law, which Moses embodies in Leviticus 19:32; "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy God." Their experience made them to be regarded as depositories of knowledge (Job 15:10); they gave their opinion first (Job 32:4). A full age was the reward of piety (Job 5:26; Genesis 15:15); premature death was a temporal judgment for sin (1 Samuel 2:32); (spiritually, and as a taking out from the evil to come, it was sometimes a blessing; as in the case of Abijah, Jeroboam's son, 1 Kings 14; Isaiah 57:1). In the millennium, when there shall be a worldwide theocracy, with Israel for its center, the temporal sanction of exceeding long life (as in patriarchal times) shall be the reward for piety, and shortened years the penalty of any exceptional sin (Isaiah 65:20; Zechariah 8:4). The rulers under Moses required age as a qualification; hence they and those of the New Testament church are called elders (presbyters), until the word became a term of office, and not necessarily of age. Disobedience to parents and disrespect to seniors and "dignities" (Judges 1:8; 2 Peter 2:10) are foretold characteristics of the last apostate age (2 Timothy 3:2-4; Romans 1:30).

Read More