Contradictions – Jehoiachin’s Age

Here’s a bonus contradiction – not just Jehoiachin’s age but also Ahaziah have variant ages at which they are said to have become king.  2 Kings 24:8 claims Jehoiachin was 18 years old, but 2 Chronicles 36:9 says he was eight (depending on the translation you’re using).  2 Kings 8:26 claims that Ahaziah was 22 years old when he took the throne, but 2 Chronicles 22:2 claims that he was 42.

Once again, the likely culprit is a copyist error in both cases.  The Bible itself provides enough information in other places to make it clear what the correct answer is – 18 for Jehoiachin and 22 for Ahaziah.  The fact that a copyist made a mistake in these two cases is not an actual contradiction.  Many modern translations have realized this and adjusted their translation to use the correct information.  This is in part based on a variety of sources for the Old Testament including Syriac, Aramaic, some Septuagint (Greek) copies, and at least one Hebrew copy – each of which avoids the variant confusion (eight for Jehoiachin and 42 for Ahaziah).

Within the Bible (2 Kings 8:17-18), we are told that Ahaziah’s father, Jereboam, was 32 when he became king and reigned for eight years.  It is highly unlikely that Jereboam’s son was older than Jereboam himself, so clearly the age of 42 given in some versions of 2 Chronicles 22:2 is incorrect.  Assuming that Ezekiel 19:5-9 is referring to Jehoiachin, the description of him as a man of war and conquest make little sense in reference to a boy of eight, but are quite reasonably ascribed to a man of 18.

The key takeaway is that this is not a true contradiction in any real sense of the word, and can easily be resolved both from within other Scripture passages as well as through the attestation of ancient copies of the Old Testament with the correct ages in all places.

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