Rashi to Shemot 12:40 says that B'rit Bein HaB'tarim took place thirty years before the birth of Yitzchak (when Avraham was one hundred years old), meaning that Avraham was seventy years old at the time of B'rit Bein HaB'tarim.

The beginnning of parshat Lech Lecha takes place when Avraham was seventy-five. The story then seems to flow chronologically in chapters 12 through 14: Avraham, Sarah and Lot arrive in Canaan; they go to Egypt; they return to Canaan; Lot leaves Avraham for S'dom; Lot is taken captive in a war; and Avraham rescues him.

Chapter 15 then introduces the episode of B'rit Bein HaB'tarim with the phrase,

אחר הדברים האלה

After these matters

and Rashi (ad loc.) connects this to the immediately preceding episode of Avraham's battle with the four kings to rescue Lot.

So it would seem according to Rashi here that Avraham was at least seventy-five at B'rit Bein HaB'tarim, contrary to what he wrote in Shemot.

Is there any way of harmonizing these two comments of Rashi?

  • 1
    By the way, Rashi’s main source that Avraham was 70 and not 75 is the contradiction between their stay being 400 years or 430 years. That doesn’t help your question, but that seems to be what it’s really based on. Cf. Seder Olam ch. 1, who just casually mentions the Bris as being at 70 and leaving Charan at 75.
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


Da’as Zekeinim to 12:4 give a novel approach in resolving the contradiction.

וקשה שהרי ברית בין הבתרים היה לאחר יציאתו מחרן ובפ' בא אל פרעה קרא דויהי מקץ שלשים שנה וגו' שיש שלשים שנה מברית בין הבתרים עד שנולד יצחק ואברהם היה בן מאת שנה כשנולד יצחק וא"כ לא היה אברהם בין הבתרים כי אם בן שבעים. וצ"ל ששתי יציאות היו בפעם ראשונה כשהיה בן שבעים וילך אתו לוט ובאותה שעה נשבה לוט ואברהם כבש המלכים ומיד היתה ברית בין הבתרים כי כן נמי פירש"י גבי אחר הדברים האלה כל מקום שנא' אחר סמוך והיינו מיד שכבש המלכים ונמצא שלא היה כי אם בן שבעים באותו שנה ואחר ברית בין הבתרים חזר לחרן ושהה שם חמש שנים ויצא ועל אותה יציאה קא מהדר קרא ואברהם בן חמש שנים וגו' וכן מצאתי בסדר עולם בפי' וזה לשונו אבינו אברהם היה בהפלגה בן מ"ח שנה וכשדבר הקב"ה עמו בין הבתרים היה בן שבעים שנה שנאמר ויהי מקץ וגו' חזר ובא לו לחרן ועשה שם חמש שנים שנאמר ואברם בן חמש שנים ושבעים שנה בצאתו מחרן נמצא מהפלגה ועד שיצא אברהם מחרן כ"ז שנה עכ"ל. ואיציאה שניה קאי:‏

In short, they answer the pesukim by saying that Avraham left Aram twice (or rather, left each Aram, an approach taken by Bereishis Rabbah 39:8 as well, followed by other Rishonim such as the Ramban to 12:1).

How does this help? Well, the first time they left was when they went to Mitzraim, Lot left and was captured, Avraham saved him, Hashem told him not to fear, and the Bris Bein HaBesarim happened. The second time, the one referred to in 12:4 that he left when he was 75, is only discussed beginning in chapter 16.

A similar approach is also put forth by Rabbeinu Bachye to 15:1.

I could have sworn that someone says somewhere that v. 7 skips back five years, on the grounds that Hashem doesn’t need to introduce Himself to Avraham again, but I can’t seem to locate it. If someone finds this, please ping me.


See Daas Zikeinim and Chizkuni amongst others who address this issue.

They learn that the command Lech Licha when he was 75, was actually a command to leave Charan for the second time. He had already left at 70 and experienced the bris bein habsarim and returned to Charan.

See the rundown of the Daas Zikeinim here

ואברם בן חמש שנים ושבעים שנה בצאתו מחרן “and Avram was seventy five years old when he left Charan.” At first glance this statement is puzzling as the covenant of the pieces is reported as if it had occurred later than Avram’s departure from Charan (chapter 15). According to our tradition it took place 30 years before the birth of Yitzchok, and this is what the statement that the Israelites spent 430 years in Egypt, reported in Exodus 12,40 is based on. We know as a fact from the Torah that Avraham was one hundred years old when Yitzchok was born. According to Rashi, thirty years elapsed between the covenant of the pieces and the birth of Yitzchok. If so, Avraham could not have been more than 70 years old at that event. Lot joined him and was taken captive after having separated from Avraham during that same year still, and Avraham defeated the armies which had taken him captive, after which event G–d appeared to him as reported in chapter 15. He returned to Charan once more, and when he was 75 years old, G–d commanded him to move to the land of Canaan, i.e. “the land which I will show you.” (12,1) I have found confirmation of these dates in the book called Seder Olam, an ancient historical record, considered reliable by our sages. I am quoting verbatim from that text: “Avraham was 48 years old when G–d confused the languages of the people and they moved apart from one another. When G–d spoke to him at the covenant of the pieces, he was 70 years old. (this was while he was on the soil of the land of Canaan). He returned to Charan where he stayed for another five years. It follows that 27 years elapsed between the destruction of the Tower and Avraham’s departure from Charan a second time” Our verse refers to the second departure.


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