Avraham's advanced age is referred to as "zaken ba bayamim" in Ber. 24:1. His age (along with Sarah) is similarly labeled in Ber. 18:11.

Yehoshua is called the same way in Yeh. 13:1 and 23:1, while David Hamelech is called "zaken ba bayamim" in Melachim I, 1:1.

Why are these the only people called "ba bayamim" in reference to their age? What does this phrase add to "zaken" which ties these people together and excludes all others for whom the phrase is not used?


This article discusses your question and gives two answers.

1) Their age impacted them and was noticeable on them.

2) (From Zohar) they could account for the impact of every day.

See also Zohar 103a which I think means that the expression means that their allotted time was up. (I suppose they were granted more years according to this?)

  • I got part of the way through and it claimed that the phrase relates to Avraham when he was 137 years old, but that ignores Ber 18:11 when he was 100 years old. – rosends Oct 22 '18 at 19:53
  • The article is based on this sicha chabadlibrary.org/books/admur/lkus/35/5/2/89.htm which explains your question and brings many different explanations from Midrashim and mephorshim. – Benyomin Walters Oct 22 '18 at 20:12

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