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2 Chronicles 22:2

2 Chronicles 22:2

Forty two and years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign
In ( 2 Kings 8:26 ) , he is said to be but twenty two years old at his accession to the throne, which is undoubtedly most correct; for this makes him to be two years older than his father when he died, who was thirty two when he began to reign, and reigned eight years, ( 2 Chronicles 21:20 ) , different ways are taken to solve this difficulty; some refer this to Jehoram, that he was forty two when Ahaziah began to reign, but he was but forty when he died; others to the age of Athaliah his mother, as if he was the son of one that was forty two, when he himself was but twenty two; but no instance is given of any such way of writing, nor any just reason for it; others make these forty two years reach to the twentieth of his son Joash, his age twenty two, his reign one, Athaliah six, and Joash thirteen; but the two principal solutions which seem most to satisfy learned men are, the one, that he was twenty two when he began to reign in his father's lifetime, and forty two when he began to reign in his own right; but then he must reign twenty years with his father, whereas his father reigned but eight years: to make this clear they observe {b}, as Kimchi and Abarbinel, from whom this solution is taken, that he reigned eight years very happily when his son was twenty two, and taken on the throne with him, after which he reigned twenty more ingloriously, and died, when his son was forty two; this has been greedily received by many, but without any proof: the other is, that these forty two years are not the date of the age of Ahaziah, but of the reign of the family of Omri king of Israel; so the Jewish chronology F3; but how impertinent must the use of such a date be in the account of the reign of a king of Judah? all that can be said is, his mother was of that family, which is a trifling reason for such an unusual method of reckoning: it seems best to acknowledge a mistake of the copier, which might easily be made through a similarity of the numeral letters, (bm) , forty two, for (bk) , twenty two F4; and the rather since some copies of the Septuagint, and the Syriac and Arabic versions, read twenty two, as in Kings; particularly the Syriac version, used in the church of Antioch from the most early times; a copy of which Bishop Usher obtained at a very great price, and in which the number is twenty two, as he assures us; and that the difficulty here is owing to the carelessness of the transcribers is owned by Glassius F5, a warm advocate for the integrity of the Hebrew text, and so by Vitringa F6: and indeed it is more to the honour of the sacred Scriptures to acknowledge here and there a mistake in the copiers, especially in the historical books, where there is sometimes a strange difference of names and numbers, than to give in to wild and distorted interpretations of them, in order to reconcile them, where there is no danger with respect to any article of faith or manners; and, as a learned man F7 has observed of the New Testament,

``it is an invincible reason for the Scripture's part, that other escapes should be so purposely and infinitely let pass, and yet no saving and substantial part at all scarce moved out of its place; to say the truth, these varieties of readings, in a few by-places, do the same office to the main Scriptures, as the variation of the compass to the whole magnet of the earth, the mariner knows so much the better for these how to steer his course;''

and, with respect to some various readings in the Old Testament, Dr. Owen F8 observes, God has suffered this lesser variety to fall out, in or among the copies we have, for the quickening and exercising of our diligence in our search of his word:

he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was]
Athaliah, the daughter of Omri,
see ( 2 Kings 8:26 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F2 In Hieron. Trad. Heb. in Paralip. fol. 85. E.
F3 Seder Olam Rabba, c. 17. So Ben Gersom.
F4 See Kennicott's Dissert. 1. p. 98.
F5 Philolog. Sacr. p. 114.
F6 Hypotypol Hist. Sacr. p. 67.
F7 J. Gregory's Preface to his Works.
F8 Divine Original of the Scripture, p. 14.
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