How old were Mary and Joseph when Jesus was born?

Hmmm I was looking back at older questions, and…I havnt studied my bible as much as…I guess I could have…but I was wondering…does anyone know the ages of Mary and Joseph? When…Jesus came into the picture? I dont even remember how old Jesus was when he died…how old were these 3? Anyone? Im sure someone knows…or thinks they know…but im just confused…Someone shine some light in my dark little corner…please?

Answer #1

I was just reading in a pamphlet distributed by the Greek Orthodox church that Joseph was 80 years old at the time of Jesus’s birth. He had several children and his wife had died. As a widower he was well positioned to take care of Mary as flossheal said.

I was trying to confirm that, so I Googled it up and ended up here.

Answer #2

If you look at your history the average age at death was Around 45 in palistine at that time in History. . . Life was hard. If he had other children older than Jesus, Jesus looses claim to the Throne of David.

Answer #3

Even thou Jesus was only Josephs step son the Idea of Josheph having other children doesn’t really Work since it would interfere with Jesus Claim to the throne of David. . .

Answer #4

But that was not our culture, It was common practice for a girl to marry at that age then. Still is in some modern day cultures. And Yes Mary and Joseph had several children.

Answer #5

eleni - I was saying in the ‘who was Joseph?’ thread that Joseph may have been much older and/or married before. There’s no proof, but it’s perfectly possible - older men sometimes married young, impoverished female relatives to provide them with a safe family environment (Boaz married Ruth, if you want an OT example). Also, women died in child-birth fairly frequently, so a man might well have been married several times in a row, if not to several wives at once (I think polygamy, whilst OK in Jacob’s time, wasn’t much practiced by then, but someone may be able to correct me).

Answer #6

Mary - girls got married soon after puberty, so, as she wasn’t married,but could have a child, she seems to have been somewhere between 13 and 15.

Joseph - older. No comment as to how old, but he’s not mentioned in Jesus’ adult life, so it’s assumed he died between when Jesus was 12 and when Jesus began his ministry (around the age of 30).

Jesus, therefore, is considered to have been about 33 when he died (just 3 years of ministry!)

I wonder if anyone else has any other ideas?

Answer #7


I may be remembering this wrong but I think I first heard the idea that Joseph had other kids when I was attending the Catholic Church. I just can’t remember it well enough to say for sure. I’m like you though - I think it could have been possible and I don’t see how it would detract from the story.

Thanks for your well thought-out answers.

Answer #8

Can we sing songs and eat s’mores, please?

Answer #9

Jesus was cut off in the half of the week (Daniel’s phophecy). So Jesus was 331/2 years old at his death. The Bible does not give the age of Mary nor Joseph. But Mary had gone to visit her cousin, and appeared to be traveling well so she had to have some age on her. at least 15 or more. I am going to check Josepheus writing to see if I can find a Jewish answer. Good question, got me doing research. Thanks

Answer #10


Answer #11

For what?

Answer #12

Doesn’t some church teach that Joseph was much older and had kids from a previous marriage?

Answer #13

Mary was probably about 14, Joseph was probably between 16 and 20. . . Thats a guess based on the Culture of the time.

Answer #14

You’re best bet would be to ask ‘silverwings’ shes a very well educated person on that stuff. you should funmail her about it =]

Answer #15

hmmm thanks guys…I guess ill just set up camp again and see who else joins our bonfire…

sets up camp…and waits…

Answer #16

Lol I doubt it. . . . She is Mentioned several times in the Gospels.

Answer #17


glances around

Thanks you guys!

Answer #18

You are correct about Mary being young. Apocryphal(non-canonical) literature such as the Protoevangelium of James, and the Golden Legend portray Joseph as an old, weary, man. However, this was done intentionally in the early church while the doctrines of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity, Immaculate Conception, and Divine Maternity were being preserved and established. Thus, in order to distance Joseph from the generative portion of the Incarnation he was portrayed as very old and detached very often. Starting with St. Jerome in the 4th century, many saints now commonly ascribe to the idea that Joseph was young, handsome, and ruddy. Some like D’Ailly and Jean Gearson, among others, say that Joseph was sanctified in the womb(freed from the effects of original sin) and thus was able to maintain perfect chastity and virginity in relation to the Virgin Mary.

The Church has never officially decided on the matter of the age of St. Joseph.

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