“And it came to pass that Peleg was thirty years old and he begat Reu. And after he begat Reu, Peleg lived two-hundred and nine years. And he begat sons and daughters.”
Here we find the first real indications that the effect of the Fall upon our lifespan is progressive, for Peleg’s lifespan is significantly shorter than that of his fathers’ before him. Shem lived to be 600, Apakshad to 438, Shelach to 433, Eber to 464, and now Peleg dies at 239 — a comparatively young man compared to those who have gone before him. And, as we continue to see the lives of these Old Testament saints go forward, we find that their life expectancy continues to drop until they are within our range. Isaiah speaks in terms of the new creation to come that those who only live to 100 would be counted as cursed (Isaiah 65:20) — how accursed a race we are then!
This change in longevity is worth noting because Peleg is the first of these patriarchs to die before his father. In fact, he died before his father, before his grandfather, before his great grandfather, and before his great-great grandfather. In fact, Peleg dies ten years before Noah, his great-great-great grandfather, dies. What a devastating reminder that while the world has been remade new through the flood, people still are under the weight of the fall and thus death still reigned in their bodies. To put things in even clearer perspective, Shem outlives almost all of his named descendants for nine generations — only Abraham and Eber outlive their great ancestor — and Eber (Peleg’s father) outlives Abraham by four years!
Reu’s name means, “companion” or “friend.” How profound a name that is given the context of death that the descendants of Shem now need to face. How often, in the wake of death, what we need most is friendship — those who will comfort and not condemn. Loved ones, we live in a dark and fallen world, we need those Godly friends and companions that he gives us to accompany us on our way. May there be many “Reu”s in your life.