I have heard some debate whether he was 13 or 17 and curious about sources for this age


How old was Joseph when he was sold into slavery?

Joseph was 17 years of age.

Genesis 37:1-3 (NASB)

Joseph’s Dream

1 Now Jacob lived in the land [a]where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the records of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a [b]varicolored tunic.


There are several dates that give chronological information about Joseph:

  • Joseph 17 when he had the first two dreams, Gen 37:2
  • Joseph sold into slavery in Egypt to Potiphar, Gen 37
  • Joseph works in Potiphar's house but later jailed, Gen 39
  • Joseph interprets two dreams by the cupbearer and the baker, two years before Pharaoh's dreams, Gen 40, Gen 41:1. Therefore, Joseph is 28 years old.
  • Joseph 30 at the time he enters Pharaoh's service, Gen 41:46.
  • Joseph supervises the collection of grain during the seven years of plenty
  • Joseph meets his brothers during the second year of famine, he is presumably, 39 years old. Gen 45:6.
  • Joseph 110 years old when he dies, 50:22, 26

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