The commentators explain that God’s decree of 120 years was a gradual one.
Man’s lifetime slowly decreased from 900 to 120 by Moses’s time.
Alternatively, life is such a struggle between man’s body and soul, that with so many years to live, a person is bound to succumb over time.
As a result, God decided to shorten man’s lifespan, making 120 years the new limit (Chizkuni, Abarbanel, Malbim, Ha’amek Davar, see also Talmud Chullin 139b and Midrash Ha Gadol).
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Today we bless people to live as close to that limit as possible.
In truth, most of the commentators (Targum, Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Radak, R.
I was curious about the blessing we give people to live till 120 years. Is that just a nice, very high number, or is that considered the upper limit?
I wouldn’t think so since there was a woman who did live till 122 in recent years.