Genesis 25:7-8
And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

Abraham was 175 years old when he died. This is an unusual age. It is a much greater age than people tend to live today. However, it is much less than the ages of the pre-Flood patriarchs, listed in Genesis 5. How can we understand this age?

The Problem of Abraham’s AgeWe have a further problem when we consider the earlier descriptions of Abraham. Abraham was 75 years old, when he left Haran. Sarah was ten years younger than her husband, so she was 65 when they left Haran. Many illustrations show Abraham leaving Haran, looking like an old man. This presupposes that he remained as an old man for the next 100 years. This seems unlikely. It is more likely that he aged more slowly than today, and this makes complete sense when one plots the ages at death of all the post-Flood patriarchs from Genesis 11. These ages fit a decay curve. Abraham’s death at the age of 175 fits this curve very well.

This has implications for everything else we know about Abraham and Sarah. Indeed, when Sarah left Haran at 65 years of age, she would have been the equivalent of a young lady in her early 30s today. In other words, she was well within child-bearing years, which makes it all the more poignant that Genesis 11:30 tells us that she was barren.

For many people, the true account of Genesis seems to begin with Genesis 12. However, we maintain that it is not possible to understand all these aspects of the life of Abraham, without accepting the truth of Genesis 1 – 11.

Give us, we pray, the humility to accept that You are in control of everything, Lord God. Thank You for guiding Your people. Amen.

Taylor, P.F. (2010), Itching Ears, (Toutle, WA: J6D Publications), pp235-262
Image: Ben-Peter Scotton, illustration produced for Paul Taylor’s book, Cain and Abel, used with permission

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