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Answering The Atheist
August 1, 2004 / Volume 4, Issue 31

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
How old was Ahaziah when he took the throne in Judah, 22 (2 Kings 8:26) or 42 (2 Chronicles 22:2)? Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Though some English translations (KJV, NKJV, ASV), and thus presumably Hebrew texts age Ahaziah at 42 when he was raised to the throne, the NIV and YLT both read 22 in 2 Chronicles 22:2. These, based upon Septuagint and Syriac manuscripts agree with the record of 2 Kings 8:26. It would appear that a copyist error occurred in the Hebrew texts.

That 42 cannot be correct is evidenced by the fact that Jehoram, Ahaziah's father became king at age 32 and reigned 8 years, before dying (2 Chronicles 21:5, 20). If Jehoram was 40 at the time of his death, he certainly did not have a 42 year old son who then took his place.

As has been admitted in the past, we again grant that copyist errors can and have occurred, and it appears such is the case with the age of Ahaziah. However, such a minor mistake from the copying pen of a man should not cause one to lay doubt on the entirety of Scripture. To do so would be to employ the discrepancy well beyond the weight of it's importance.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible