I think it's pretty well known that there's an idea that 70 years from Adam's life were given to Dovid Hamelech, which is why he lived to 930 and not 1000. A source that I found for this is Zohar Vayishlach 168a.

The next part of the Zohar points out that Avraham lived 5 years short (of Yitzchak's lifespan of 180), Yaakov 28 (from Avraham's lifespan of 175), and Yosef 37 (from Yaakov's lifespan of 147). This also adds to 70, telling us they all gave Dovid his 70 year lifespan.

Since Dovid lived to 70 and not 140, how are both these two statements true? Or are they in conflict?

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/13047/1739
    – robev
    Dec 5, 2017 at 0:35
  • 2
    I'm going to leave this as a comment because I'm not going to write up the whole answer given, but the 3rd Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, asks this questions and answers it by explaining that Adam contributed the Essence of Chachma, but the Avot contributed Chachma the way it is enclothed in the emotional attributes. -- You can read it in English here: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=15419&pgnum=253
    – Menachem
    Dec 5, 2017 at 2:56
  • I do not understand. IIRC Avraham died 5 years short of Yitzchak so that he would not see Eisav turning bad at 15. Yaakov died at 137 (180 - 147 = 33) because of complaint that he made to Par'o when Par'o asked how come he looked so old. Yosef died at 110 because of the pressures of running Egypt and his family. Dec 5, 2017 at 3:47
  • 2
    @sabbahillel what's the question? Either it's a machlokes the Midrashim and the Zohar, or both are true...
    – robev
    Dec 5, 2017 at 4:10
  • It says david was very old before he turned 70. Most people at 70 are not like that. Others say he was really 1000 since adam gave him his last years
    – patient
    Dec 5, 2017 at 10:07

2 Answers 2


Yes at first glance they are in conflict. Sefer Yosef Tehilos 42:9 (Chida) reconciles this with the explanation that David did not sleep and this the nights counted towards the 140 years.

יומם יצוה ה׳ חסדו ובלילה שירה עמי תפלה לאל חיי — אפשר במ״ש רז״ל, דאדם הראשון נתן לו ע׳ שנה לדוד הע״ה. ובזהר הקדוש אמר דאברהם אע״ה ויעקב אע״ה ויוסף הצדיק ע״ה נתנו לו ע׳ שנה לדוד הע״ה. ומקשים דהי״ל לחיות דהע״ה ק״ם שנה, ולא חי אלא ע׳ לבד. ותירצו, דכיון דדוד הע״ה לא ישן, א״כ הלילות נחשבו לו כימים, ונמצא שחי ע׳ שנה לילות וע׳ שנה ימים, זהת״ד. ובזהר הקדוש האריך במעלות הקם בחצות, ובכלל נמשך עליו חוט של חסד.


Rav Daniel Glatstein last night gave a shiur on Hoshana Rabbah (Ushpizin of Dovid HaMelech), and addressed this question. You can watch it here; it starts at 19:45. He brought three explanations:

  1. Ohr HaChamah Bereishis end of p. 168a quotes Rav Avraham Galante (16th century Italian kabbalist), who says that Adam intended to give Dovid 70 years. However, that was before he sinned with the fruit. Once he ate the fruit, those years became spoiled, and couldn't be given to Dovid. Therefore, the Avos had to step in.
  2. The Ben Yehoyada to Shabbos 30a s.v. הודעני says that Adam intended to give Dovid 70 years, but then changed his mind. The Avos gave instead. The Shela HaKadosh in his commentary on the Siddur also says Adam tried to back out of his promise. The Shela uses this as an explanation for the words אל תבטחו בנדיבים (Psalms 146:3). Although, he does say that Adam in the end was convinced to keep his promise, so according to him it's not really an answer.
  3. He brought the answer from the Chida that @GershonGold gave. Although, he cited it from his sefer Midbar Kadeimos Daled § 6. The Chida also gives Rav Avraham Galante's answer.

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