How Old was Ahaziah, King Of Judah?
Is there a Contradiction?
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. 2 Kings 8:26
Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. 2 Chronicles 22:2
Bible scholars have found considerable difficulty in harmonizing the numbers given in the books of Kings and Chronicles for the reigns of the various rulers of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. In the case of the Jewish kings particularly, when all the regal years were added, they came to a total considerably greater than that which could have elapsed between the death of Solomon and the fall of Jerusalem.
Later research, however, demonstrated the fact that in many instances the crown prince or the immediate successor to the throne was formally crowned, added the years he officially reigned even in the lifetime of his father. One such example is found in 2 Chronicles 22:2 which gives the age of King Ahaziah Ben Jehoram as forty-two when he began to reign, whereas 2 Kings 8:26 gives it as twenty-two (A SURVEY OF OLD TESTAMENT INTRODUCTION by Gleason L. Archer, Jr., pp. 297-298).
The following explanation provides the age difficulty of King Ahaziah: “Jehoram’s youngest son, Ahaziah, was made king because the older sons had been killed by the raiding band of men (2 Chronicles 21:16-17). His age of forty and two years is impossible in light of 2 Chronicles 21:20. It is probably a scribal mistake for twenty-two years (see 2 Kings 8:26). (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. I, p. 830). The scribal inadvertence reflects the difficulties of manuscript transmission but has no bearing on the inspiration or authority of the Scripture (CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE, p. 542).
In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 2 Chronicles 22, another possible explanation for the age controversy associated with King Ahaziah is explained as: Some make this forty-two (2 Chronicles 22:2) to be the age of his mother Athaliah, for in the original [Hebrew] it is, he was the son of forty-two years, that is, the son of a mother that was of that age; and justly is her age put for his, in reproach to him, because she managed him, and did what she would — she, in effect, reigned, and he had little more than the title of king (see 2 Chronicles 21:4-6; 22:10).