In the sojourn to Egypt (Gen 12), Sarah was about 65 years old and was considered very beautiful. In the sojourn to Gerar (Gen 20), Sarah was about 90 years old. The Bible does not reveal why Abimelech desired Sarah’s inclusion into his harem, and destructive critics do not find it credible that a Philistine king would romantica lly desire an old woman. However, by human standards, it is also dif ficult to understand Sarah’s stunning beauty at age 65 and how she could be pregnant at age 90; thus, the possibil ity of Abimelech’s attraction to her beauty cannot be ruled out. Furthermore, as Sarah was in the company of one of the richest and influential men in the region, Abim elech may have had a political motive.

Okay, Sarah is 65 years old. She may be a beauty queen in high school but 65? That's when she met Pharaoh. Then she's 90 when she met Abimelech.

Do these years truly mean "months". So maybe meaning of words years and months in ancient Hebrew have changed?

Do people remain sexy for much longer time in ancient time? Can this be scientifically valid?

Any reasonable reason?

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    Sarah lived to be 127, so at 65 she was only middle aged and at 90 only approaching "old age". Jan 28, 2014 at 12:33
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    If years are months, then she would have been 5 years old when Pharaoh and Abimelech were attracted to her and at the age of 18 when she gave birth to Isaac. That is hardly "past the years of childbearing."
    – Narnian
    Jan 28, 2014 at 13:01
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    Related question on longevity: Why did people live so long before the flood? Obviously Sarah is post-Noah, but the textual-historical issues for unusually long lives are surely quite similar - Genesis 11:10ff (lineage from Shem to Abram) is full of multicentenarians.
    – James T
    Jan 28, 2014 at 15:02
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    It should be noted that Abraham was the one that was afraid of how beautiful she was... at the age of 90. One humorist conjectured that Abraham may have suffered in his later years from failing eyesight.
    – Narnian
    Jan 28, 2014 at 20:11
  • I don't know. Helen Mirren is 69 and still quite attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are certainly some people that just seem to age well. Jan 31, 2014 at 4:25

2 Answers 2


No, the Hebrew does not mean months. At 65 months she would have been a bit more than five years old, thus raising more questions about how men could be attracted to her than at 65 years.

The Bible study aid you are quoting sums up pretty well the standard Christian approach to this passage. What happened to Sarah and Abraham was not normal, and the book freely admits the unlikelihood of Sarah having a child at age ninety. It's unclear whether this extended lifespan was considered normal in that age, or if God was working a specific miracle in extending their lifespans. In either case, for Sarah to appear attractive when she was only halfway through her life would be entirely consistent.


The effect of the 'fall' had not completely kicked in.. The women of old held onto their youth and beauty a lot longer and the first few generations even after the flood still had longevity.. It is very possible that in the first millennium that 60 was the 'new 30'

  • Is this a generally accepted view of a particular denomination? Or is it your individual opinion? On this site we are looking not for the opinions of individuals, but for the supportable views of groups of Christians. Dec 3, 2014 at 15:33

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