Num 13 and 14 discuss the spies sent by Moses to asses the land, among them Joshua and Caleb. Josh 14:7 says that Caleb was 40 when he was sent as a spy. How old was Joshua at the time of the spies (giants/grasshoppers) venture?

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    I edited a bit of context in to your question. Feel free to roll it back if it is unsatisfactory!
    – Baby Seal
    Jun 11, 2015 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


Sefer Hadoros & Zemach David says Yehoshua was born in 2406 and the story of the Meraglim was in 2449, making him 43 years old.

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    So, 40 years later, when he was a military leader enering the land, he was over 80 years of age.
    – Yehuda W
    Jun 11, 2015 at 14:13
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    @YehudaW: Yes he was over 80 when they entered Eretz Yisrael. Jun 11, 2015 at 14:23
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    @YehudaW They entered the land in 2488 making him 82 years old. He died in 2516 at 110. Jun 11, 2015 at 15:55
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    Moshe Rabbeini was 80 when he led the Jews out of Egypt.
    – HaLeiVi
    Jun 11, 2015 at 16:58
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    @YehudaW Apparently, many people at that time were physically strong at age 80 and, frequently, beyond that. Kaleb, also, when he was 80 said himself that he had as much energy at 80 as he had at 40. I guess they didn't eat as much kishke in those days as we do ;-)
    – DanF
    Jun 12, 2015 at 20:00

It is not known how old Joshua was at any stage of the narrative, nor can his age at any point even be approximated with any real accuracy. We can, however, point up a couple things to at least rank it likely he was younger than Caleb. At JA 14.10-11 we find Caleb essentially boasting to Joshua that despite being of a now advanced age he's still been able to carry his weight and prove his mettle on the battlefield over the past six years. One imagines he wouldn't be boasting of such a thing to any fellow warrior equal to his age, much less older, from which it seems almost apparent Joshua was younger than Caleb, and perhaps younger to some significant extent. Secondly, Moses in their very first year, at ES 33.11, calls Joshua a young man, this being when [by NS 10.11 and JA 14.7] Caleb was age 39. It seems unlikely Joshua would have been the appropriate object of Moses' description if he'd been really even much near Caleb's age. He was probably ten or more years younger than Caleb, and may have ruled over Israel post-conquest as many as forty years. The author of the Seder Olam ventures [for the latter] a guess of 28 years, which would make Joshua an unlikely "only three years younger" than Caleb, but he does so in a way that strains against the otherwise straightforward meaning of the Judges account. Mind you, of course, this is not to attest to the actual historicity of the story, neither in part nor in whole, but is only to piece together missing details based on extant ones.

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