Genesis 35:27-29 NIV

27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Genesis 37:1-2 NIV

Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.

2 This is the account of Jacob’s family

Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.

My query is that the death of Isaac is narrated in Genesis 35 and the enslavement of Joseph is told in Genesis 37.I would have thought Joseph's enslavement should have been mentioned first followed by the death of Isaac.Thought Isaac died while Joseph was already in Canaan.I was asking whether that the events of Genesis 37 took place before the events of Genesis 35

Im not sure whether i have read the events in the above texts correctly.In the above chronology it seems Issac died in Genesis 35 while Joseph was still in Canaan before his brothers sold him to the Midianite merchants in Genesis 37.

Did Isaac die before Joseph was sold to the Midianites?

  • 1
    Why do you think there's a chronological issue here? I don't see any problem with Isaac dying before Joseph being sold years later.
    – bach
    Jun 29, 2021 at 17:29
  • There's also no chronological problem when Genesis explicitly says that it is telling the stories of different family members.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 30, 2021 at 5:50
  • @Bach,I believe Isaac died after Joseph had been enslaved in Egypt Jun 30, 2021 at 6:37
  • I’m not particularly interested in the Question, but I quickly looked at the answers an they seem to imply that the Question is sufficiently clear, so I will vote to reopen it. Jul 1, 2021 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


Joseph was in Egypt when his grandfather Isaac died.

In this case, Isaac died when Joseph was about 28 years old--or during the time Joseph was in prison in Egypt. Joseph was taken to Egypt when he was 17 years old (see Genesis 37:2), and became governor at 30 (see Genesis 41:46).

But here's the Biblical evidence to support this chronology.

First, Jacob and Esau were born when their father Isaac was 60 years old (a score is twenty):

And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. (Genesis 25:26)

Isaac dies when he is 180:

And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. (Gen. 35:28)

This means that Jacob and Esau, who were twins, were both about 120 years old when their father died (180 - 60). Jacob, after having been in Egypt for 17 years, dies at the age of 147:

And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. (Genesis 47:28)

But Joseph was 30 years old when he became governor in Egypt:

And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:46)

And his first seven years as governor were the seven years of plenty before the great famine began. It would have been when the famine began that Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to buy grain--when Joseph is about 37 years old. Within the year, Jacob and his family had moved to Egypt (Joseph is now about 38).

So if we subtract 17 years from Jacob's life, to account for his time in Egypt, we have 130 years remaining. Ten years prior to this, when Jacob was 120, is when his father Isaac died. Therefore, Joseph would have been about 28--two years before becoming governor in Egypt, and about 11 years after having gone to Egypt, when his grandfather Isaac died.


The Chronology of Isaac:

  • Isaac born to Abraham at the age of 100, Gen 21:5
  • Isaac marries Rebekah at age 40, Gen 25:20
  • Isaac becomes the father of Jacob at age 60, Gen 25:26
  • Jacob (at age 71) deceives Isaac when he is 131, Gen 47:9, 45:6, 41:47
  • Jacob returns from Padam Aram after 20 years at age 91, as Joseph is born, Isaac 151.
  • Joseph is sold into slavery at age 17 (Gen 37:2), Jacob is 108, Isaac is 168.
  • Isaac dies at age 180, Gen 35:28.

Therefore, Gen 37:1, 2, when Isaac is 151, occur before Gen 35:27-27 when Isaac is 180.

This is typical of much of the material of Genesis which finishes a story before starting the next story.

  • Jacob couldn't have been 71 at the time, since by including the entire 20 years he was with Laban to the subtraction(91 - 20), would mean Joseph was born more or less the year he left. Second, to include verse 27 to a future time is unnecessary since Hebron is where he was located in ch. 37:14.
    – user21676
    Jun 30, 2021 at 21:49
  • @user21676 - I did not say that - Joseph was born to Jacob at 91 and was 108 when Joseph was sold into slavery.
    – Dottard
    Jun 30, 2021 at 21:51

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