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

2 Answers 2


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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