Age of Ahaziah – Contradiction?


2 Kings 8:26 vs. 2 Chron. 22:2

QUESTION: Does 2 Kings 8:26 contradict 2 Chron. 22:2 about the age of Ahaziah?

RESPONSE: 2 Kings 8:26 reads, "Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel."

2Chron:22:2 reads, "Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri."

Apart from saying the author made an error, which is the view of liberal theology. There are two other views.

1) The copyist made errors. Now there is no way to prove this. The Authorized Version reads in both places as the Masoretic Hebrew Text does. So it is not a mistranslation. If we adapt this view, it becomes impossible to claim that God preserved His words, or that His words are incorruptible, or that His words will not pass away. Yet this is the view held by the majority of conservative scholars.

2) The problem is solved when we see both can be true. We must remember that the nation of Israel was divided into two kingdoms at this time, the southern kingdom (Judah) and the northern kingdom (Israel). Ahaziah was the son of Athaliah. Athaliah was married to Jehoshaphet, of the southern kingdom. Athaliah is not only Jehoshaphet's wife, but was also the daughter of Omri, of the northern kingdom. Omri's son, Ahab was Athaliah's brother and king of Israel. Now note the following:

a. Jehoshaphet, after his forth year, joined forces with Ahab to fight (1 Kings 22; 2 Chron. 18:1).

b. If both kings had been killed in battle, they would need someone to unite the two kingdoms. Thus Ahaziah is anointed king at age 22 being from both kingdoms in his blood line.

c. Jehoshaphet lives, Ahab is killed. Jehoshaphet then rules the southern kingdom another 20 years, of which Jehoram co-reigns eight years (2 King 8:16).

d. When Jehoram dies he has no son except his youngest "son." It should be noted in the Hebrew line of thinking, a son-in-law was also called "son." This "son" is Ahaziah. It is now 20 years later when Ahaziah becomes king, so he is 42.

e. This fits the two books because Kings records with emphasis on the kings of Israel (north) and Chronicles records with emphasis on the kings of Judah (south). Thus Ahaziah is listed at age 22 (Kings) because he was of the house of Ahab, northern kingdom. And age 42 (Chron.) when he begins his reign in Judah. 

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