Jacob is born in Genesis 25:26

After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

Isaac bids Jacob get a wife in Genesis 28:

1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman.

2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, a to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.

Jacob meets Rachel in Genesis 29:10

When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep.

Jacob seems to be in the prime of his strength at this point in his life.

How old was he?

5 Answers 5


Issac gets married at the age of 40.Genesis 25:20 Jacob was born when Issac was 60 years old. Genesis 25:26 Issac dies at 180 years(Genesis 35:28). So Jacob was 120 years old when Issac died. Jacob lived with Laban for 20 years. Genesis 31:38, Jacob and Joseph reunion and meeting with Pharoah when Jacob was 130 years. Genesis 47:9 Jacob dies at 147 years. Genesis 47:28

Now the math of when Joseph was born and when did Jacob meet Rachel. Joseph sold to midianites at the age of 17years. Genesis 37 Joseph enters the service of Pharoah at the age of 30 years and gets married. Genesis 41:46 Has two sons in the 7 years of plenty before the famine starts. Genesis 41:50

Reveals himself to his brothers when the famine is for 2 years and invites all his family to Egypt. (30+7+2=39years old) Meets Jacob when he was 39 years old. (130-39=91)So Jacob must be 91 years old when he had Joseph. (Almost 22years they were apart.)

Jacob was 91 years old when he has his 11th son Joseph. Jacob states 20 years he lived n served with Laban. 14 years for both the wives, 6 years for the flock. 91-20=71 So Jacob was 71 when he met Rachel and entered Labans service. After entering into a proposal of marriage with Rachel, he works for 7 years(Bride price for Rachel) Gets married to Leah instead. Genesis 29:18-23. Laban promises Rachel's hand after a week of Leah consummation. Genesis 29:26-28. He works another 7years for Rachel after getting married.

Again math : 20 years of service First 7 years he is still single (20-7=13) Remaining 13 years he has 1 child each per year If he was 71 when he met Rachel n Laban, 71+7=78 Gets married. 79 years 1st son Genesis 29:31..totally he has 10 sons and 1 daughter, each a year apart may be in the span of 11years. (Between 79 - 90years) There was a shuffle between the wives and concubines remember 😉 After Dinah's birth the Lord remembers Rachel and she conceives and bore Joseph when Jacob was 91 years old. (130-39=91)130 age of Jacob and 39 age of Joseph when they reunite. So Joseph was born when Jacob was at his prime and no wonder he loved him much. Immediately after Joseph's birth Jacob wants to leave his Father in law and return to his homeland. But Laban makes him tarry and work for sometime which he did but makes his grand escape even when Joseph was still an infant. Genesis 33: 1-7. It says in verse 7 Jacob and Rachel bowed down. Joseph must be still an infant to bow down.

So the summary is as follows: Issac marries at 40 years and has twins at 60 years .

Jacob leaves home at 71 years and meets with Laban works for 7 years gets married around 78 years to both Leah and Rachel. Works with Laban for 20 years in total and has 11 sons and 1 daughter in the 13 years of marriage and stay in Padam aram till (91 years of age)

Jaccob was 120 years when Issac died.

Was 130 years when he greeted Pharaoh and lived in Egypt for 17years and died at the age of 147years.

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We have the following data about the Chronology of Jacob:

  • Gen 47:9 - Jacob is 130 years old when presented to Pharaoh
  • Gen 45:6 - This was during the second year of the famine, nine years after Joseph entered the service of Pharaoh, Gen 41:47
  • Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh. Thus, Jacob was 121 years old. Hence, Joseph was born to Jacob at the age of 91 just as he returned from Padam Aram.
  • Jacob went to Padam Aram 20 years earlier at the age of 71. He married his two wives (sisters) seven years later at the age of 78.

Therefore, Jacob was 71 years old at the time he met Rachel. Jacob was 147 years old when he died, Gen 47:28. [Note Jacob was less than half this age when he met Rachel - this means that even compared to a modern man, he was in the prime of his life at that point.]


Jacob was 130 when he went to Egypt. Joseph was 39 (30 years when he went before pharaoh, 7 years of famine, and 2 years of plenty). Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born. Joseph and family pickup and leave Laban after 20 years of service (14 bridal years and 6 years for livestock). Jacob was 71 when he meets Rachel. Marrys Leah at 78, Rachel at 85, leaves Laban at 91 when Joseph is born.

Genesis is clear that all of Joseph's decendents were born after Joseph married Rachel (beginning in the 15th year of service with Laban). Leah bears 7 children total with no mention of twins. Considering a 9 month gestation that's 63 months (little over 5 years if back to back) before Rachel conceives. The other children could have been conceived in overlapping periods with Leah. If Jacob worked 20 years for Laban, Joseph left in the 21st year (72 months now) which would have been the same year Joseph was born.

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It seems the information provided in the Biblical record requires considerable piecing together of the facts to try to ascertain Jacob's age at this time; however, we can reasonably estimate that Jacob would have been between 72 and 77 years of age when he met Rachel.

As was shown in the question, Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob was born.

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, Jacob's father, lived to be 180 years old, so Jacob would have been 120 at his father's death.

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

For the rest of the calculation we have to use a little math and estimate back to the time when Jacob left his father.

First, Jacob spent 20 years with his father-in-law Laban, as he says in Genesis 31:41.

Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. (Genesis 31:41, KJV)

We know, of course, that Jacob began his time with Laban the same year that he had left his father, and that it was at his first coming to Laban's home that he would have met Rachel.

Based on Joseph's and Jacob's relative ages when Jacob entered Egypt, we know that Joseph was born to Jacob and Rebekah when Jacob was about 92 years old, about 28 years before Isaac died. But Rachel had not immediately had children when they married. Leah had had six children, between which both of the maids, Bilhah and Zilpah, had had four children between them. Rachel's two were the last of the 12 sons born to Jacob.

Joseph was about 28 years old and in Egypt when his grandfather Isaac died at 180. That means Joseph was born when Isaac was about 152.

  • 7 years with Laban until Jacob marries his wives
  • 11 children before Rachel bears Joseph; at a minimum of 1 year between each birth, this would be 11 years
  • At least one year before the first child is born
  • One additional year for Joseph

  • ~20 years (estimated minimum before Joseph is born after Jacob meets Rachel)

Such an estimate would mean that Joseph would have been an infant, perhaps only a newborn, when Jacob returned to his homeland and met his brother Esau. Upon meeting Esau, he had divided his family into smaller groups, fearing for everyone's safety.

And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. . . . And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. (Genesis 33:2,7, KJV)

But how does an infant bow himself? If Joseph were old enough to be walking and to bow, that would mean he had been born even earlier, putting the time between the births of his siblings at even closer intervals than one year--and this time would be added to Jacob's age at his departure from home (when he met Rachel).

In any case, when Jacob left Laban, Joseph had been born, but his younger brother Benjamin had not yet been born.

152 - 20 = 132 (estimated years of age for Isaac when Jacob leaves home)

This would mean, since Jacob was born when Isaac was 60, that Jacob did not leave until he was at least 72.


Inspired by Polyhat and Dottard's answers, here is my attempt.

Joseph revealed the meaning of Pharaoh's dream in Genesis 41:

28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them.

46a Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Genesis 45:

4b “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt! 5And now, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves that you sold me into this place, because it was to save lives that God sent me before you. 6For the famine has covered the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting.

Joseph was 30 years old when he first spoke to Pharoah. Since then, 7 years of abundance + 2 years of the beginning phase of famine had passed. When Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, he was 39 years old.

Their brother returned to Canaan and brought Jacob to Egpyt, Genesis 47:9a

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty.

Jacob was 91 (130 - 39) when Joseph was born. There is an uncertainty of how much time had elapsed between Genesis 45:4b to Genesis 47:9a. It was probably a matter of months. I'll express as y1 year, y1<1.

Genesis 29:

18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”

30 Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.

Jacob worked for Laban for 14 years for his two daughters. Joseph was born around the end of this 14 years period.

Genesis 30:

22Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. 23She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24 She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.”

25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland.

Jacob's agreement of 14 years with Laban must have expired at this point. There is another uncertainty beyond this second 7-year period. Let's say that Joseph was born y2 years after the 14-year contract with Laban.

Genesis 31:

25Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there as well. ...
38I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flock.

y2 < 20−14=6

Jacob was 77 (91 − 14) when he first met Laban and Rachel, assuming y1=0 and y2=0.

Adjusting for the two uncertainties, assuming y1+y2=3, I'd say that Jacob was 77±3 years old when he first saw Rachel.

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