Breishit 23:1 mentions that Sarah was 127 years old when she died. Ohr Hachaim's commentary seems to glance upon some issues regarding why Sarah's age was mentioned, and he seems to focus on the fact that she suffered the biggest challenge because she didn't give birth until she was 90.

The commentary mentions Rachel who also didn't give birth until later in life. I saw no mention of Rivkah (though it may be there).

I agree that not giving birth is severe suffering, but there were many women in Tana"ch that had trouble with birth. Chana and the Shunamite woman (mentioned with Elisha) are two examples outside of the Torah. None of these women had their ages mentioned when they died. As a matter of fact, their deaths aren't even mentioned!

It seems that it was only because of the length of Sarah's birth suffering that she seems to be the only woman in Tana"ch to have her age mentioned at death? Why would that factor alone make Sarah noteworthy?

Sarah seems to be the sole exception to this rule as she seems to be the only woman having her age mentioned at death. Why is she the only exception?

  • A side point,but also shows another rare occurrence: חזקוני בראשית פרק כג (ב) ותמת שרה אין דרכו של מקרא לכתוב מיתת אשה אעפ"י שהיא צדקת, אם לא על ידי מעשה כגון שרה, רחל, דבורה, מרים, שרה, בשביל שהוציא אברהם דמים יקרים לקברה ולא הרהר וזהו אחד מהעשרה נסיונות. רחל, להודיע שנקברה חוץ למערה. דבורה, להודיע למה נקרא שם אותו מקום אלון בכות. מרים, על שם הבאר שפסק כשמתה.
    – sam
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 3:41
  • Those that state that Rivka was 3 when she married Yitzchak explain that the 20 years was because she had to first become old enough to be able to give birth (first 10 years of marriage) and then the following 10 years to establish that there was a problem. Even those that say she was already above bas mitzvah age, could still agree as the first ten years were still too young. Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


Rav Hirsch says that the most probable reason that Sarah is the only woman whose age at death is mentioned in the Tanach is

... because the lives of the women are in general farther away from public life and a record of their age is not necessary to fix the chronological order of the events of history.

He then continues speaking of the three stages of the life of Sarah and the lessons that are learned from the precise wording of the pasuk. These lessons required the statement of the age (one hundred years and twenty years and seven years). Rav Hirsch goes into details as to what these lessons are and how thay should be applied.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .