How Old Was Ahaziah When He Started to Reign?

Supposed contradiction and verses:

Was Ahaziah 22 or 42 when he began to reign?

22 years old:

2nd 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.

 42 years old:

2nd 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.


On the surface, it seems one of the accounts must be wrong. This takes some digging. First, who was Ahaziah’s father?

2nd Chronicles  22:9

And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.

   Jehoshaphat! This is important because many think he is Jehu’s son, thus no way he could be 42 at the time, with Jehu somewhere around 40 coming out of power and dying. But he was Jehu’s step-son! That’s huge, and if the skeptic just read some, they would know this. His mother was Athalia, who had him with Jehoshaphat, and later marries him as the kingdoms of Judah and Israel begin to have affinity together. A marriage between Jehoshaphat and Athalia would by necessity recognize their son as a legal heir to the throne of Judah, and Ahaziah was their son. This recognition may have occurred at the time of the “joining of affinity” between Ahab and Jehoshaphat. Regardless, Ahaziah would have been twenty-two years of age two years before King Ahab attempted to have King Jehoshaphat killed at Ramothgilead at the hands of the Syrians (see I Kings 22:1 – 22:39, 2 Chronicles 18:1-34). If Jehoshaphat had been killed instead of Ahab (as seems to have been his plan) who would have taken over the throne of Judah?  Ahaziah.

   See, there was some behind the scenes workings (political stuff) to gain power in both kingdoms. Thus, Ahaziah could have began to reign at twenty-two years of age, not in the sense of being the sole monarch over Judah and reigning from Jerusalem, but probably in the sense of being named the direct successor of Jehoshaphat, as a crowned prince. Both accounts agree that Ahaziah only reigned a single year in Jerusalem. They are obviously referring to the same year, between King Jehoram and the usurper Athaliah. But if we read the account in Kings carefully, it does not say that Ahaziah was twenty-two years of age when he began his reign in Jerusalem, but only that he was only 22 when he began to reign. 42 would be an account into full power. The chronicler and the person writing Kings are focused on the same person, at two different points. There is no contradiction!

In His Grace,

            Mike Harris


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