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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 22

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-12

2 Chronicles 22:2 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.

2 Chronicles 22:2 “Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign” - Comments - We see in the parallel passage of 2 Kings 8:26 that Ahaziah began to reign at the age of twenty-two, and not at the age of forty-two, as this verse states.

2 Kings 8:26, “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.”

The Hebrew text of 2 Kings 8:26 literally reads, “a son of twenty and two years (was) Ahaziah in his reign, and one year he reigned in Jerusalem...” ( YLT), and the Hebrew text of 2 Chronicles 22:2 literally reads, “a son of forty and two…”

Hebrew ( בֶּן־עֶשְׂרִ֨ים וּשְׁתַּ֤יִם ) “son of twenty and two” (2 Kings 2:26)

Hebrew ( בֶּן־אַרְבָּעִ֨ים וּשְׁתַּ֤יִם ) “son of forty and two” (2 Chronicles 22:2)

If Jehoram, the father of Ahaziah began to reign when he was thirty-two years old, and reigned eight years (2 Kings 8:17), and so died, being forty years old, then it would not be possible for his son Ahaziah to have reached the age of forty-two before his father’s early death. Thus, the age of twenty-two is more likely correct, requiring Jehoram to give birth to Ahaziah, his son, at the age of eighteen-years old.

2 Kings 8:17, “Thirty and two years old was he (Jehoram) when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.”

2 Chronicles 22:2 ( LXX) agrees with the reading in 2 Kings 8:26.

“ Ochozias began to reign when he was twenty years old, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Gotholia, the daughter of Ambri.” ( Brenton)

The YLT also corrects the date in its translation of 2 Chronicles 22:2, “A son of twenty and two years is Ahaziah in his reigning, and one year he hath reigned in Jerusalem, and the name of his mother is Athaliah daughter of Omri;”

There are several views scholars propose to explain this apparent discrepancy.

1. The Age of Jehoram - The literally meaning of “son of forty and two” could have been referring to the age of Ahaziah’s father, Jehoram. However, his father died at the age of forty, so this reasoning does not add up with the numbers stated in the text. There is not reason to follow this explanation outside of speculation.

2. The Age of Ahaziah’s Mother - Some scholars suggest that the age of forty-two was a reference to the age of his mother, since she appears to have dominated him by leading him in the way of the kings of Israel. Again, there is not reason to follow this explanation outside of speculation.

3. The Age of Omri’s Dynasty of Kings John Lightfoot suggests that the text intends to say that Ahaziah was the son of two and forty years; namely, of the house of Omri, his mother’s grandfather. Thus, this date refers to the forty-second year of the reign of his mother’s dynasty over Israel, and she is mentioned in this same verse. [45] However, if we add up the periods of Omri’s reign (8 years), of Ahab’s reign (22 years), of Ahaziah’s reign (2 years) to the twelfth year of Joram’s reign over Israel, we get 44 years and not 42.

[45] John Lightfoot, The Whole Works of the Rev. John Lightfoot, D.D., vol. 4, ed. John Rogers Pitman (London: J. F. Dove, 1822), 106, 174.

1 Kings 16:23, “In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah.”

1 Kings 16:29, “And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.”

1 Kings 22:51, “Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.

Thus, there is not reason to believe this age refers to the reign of a different person or dynasty apart from speculation.

4. Copyist Error - Most scholars seem to agree that this is the error of a copier. It can be agreed that the writing of these two Hebrew numbers, ( כב ) twenty-two and ( מב ) forty-two and, are similar, although the spelling of these two numbers, ( בֶּן־עֶשְׂרִ֨ים וּשְׁתַּ֤יִם ) twenty-two and ( בֶּן־אַרְבָּעִ֨ים וּשְׁתַּ֤יִם ) forty-two, are not similar. The explanation that this is most likely the error of a copyist seems to be confirmed by the fact that a number of ancient manuscripts have taken the liberty to correct this spelling from forty-two to twenty-two.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 22". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/2-chronicles-22.html. 2013.
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