Abraham was 175 years old when He died.
Abraham was an exceptional man, and not because of anything he did, but rather because of the covenant God made with Him. God promised Abraham that through Him, the world would be blessed. From his descendants, a man would come who would restore and redeem what sin had destroyed. Because of this promise, Abraham’s death was filled with hope.
Abraham is the first man in the Bible to be described as old—and his age was described as good; a blessing from God. He even refers to himself as old 75 years BEFORE his death (Gen 17:17) when he was 100 and soon to father Isaac. He was so old, in fact, that the Bible says he was as good as dead (Heb 11:12)!
How Did Abraham Live So Long?
Genesis 25:7-8 (ESV) These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.
175 years is an impossible lifespan today. So how is it possible that Abraham could live that long? Besides the simple fact that God allowed him to, there are different theories that explain the long lifespans of the people recorded early in the Bible.
Before the flood (400+ years before Abraham was born), people lived even longer. The oldest man recorded in the Bible was Methuselah who lived until he was 969 (Gen 5:27)!
Then after the flood, the average lifespan shortened until it settled at around 70-80 years during the times of the Kings, where it has remained since. One theory is that the limited genetic pool after the flood (there were only eight people on the ark!) resulted in increased genetic weaknesses and less healthy and resilient people who didn’t live as long.
Another theory is that God simply reduced the lifespan of man (He is sovereign over all things, after all). Remember, God’s perfect creation in Genesis 1 was never intended to face death. The continued shortening of the lifespan of man serves as a reminder of our sin (rebellion against God) and our great need for salvation—it points us to Christ and reminds us why Jesus had to die (John 3:16).
Why Did Abraham Live So Long?
More important than wondering HOW Abraham lived so long, is asking ourselves WHY. Why did God wait for Abraham to be 100 before giving him Isaac—his promised son?
Firstly, God promised Abraham the blessing of long life in the land he lived and peaceful death. And He is faithful to keep His promises.
Genesis 15:15 (ESV) As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.
But there are other reasons that explain why God waited to fulfill His promise of a child to Abraham. He was testing his faith. And Abraham did have faith in God’s promises, so much so, that He is commended for it (Heb 11:12).
By waiting until Abraham and his wife Sarah were too old to bear children before they conceived Isaac, God made way for a miracle. God did the impossible! And so, He alone was to receive the glory—there was no room for pride on Abraham or Sarah’s side. When God makes a promise, He is faithful to fulfill it in His way, in His time, and to His glory alone.
Hebrews 11:11 (ESV) By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
What Does the Bible Say About Long Life?
Long life is something we naturally hope for. And the Bible describes aging and long life as a blessing from God. When God gave the Jewish nation the law (10 commandments) he attached a promise to the command to obey your parents—long life. We also see God, in His goodness, granting long life to the people who obeyed, trusted, and loved Him—like Abraham.
Exodus 20:12 (ESV) “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
1 Kings 3:14 (ESV) And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.
But we also see reminders that life on this earth is fleeting.
Psalm 90:10 (ESV) The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Ultimately, short lifespans are a constant reminder of the consequences of sin and how temporary life on this earth is (1 Pet 1:24-25). In response, we cling to Christ and our hope of eternal life with Him! Whether we live for 20, 50, or 85 years, if our hope is in Christ and His saving work on the cross, we will have forever with Him—removed from the pain of death!
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (ESV)
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.