Problem

How old was Ahaziah when he assumed the throne?

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.
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 Kings says that he was 22 years old and 2 Chronicles says that he was 42 years old.


Solution

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63%

It was quite common for Kings to govern through a Regent, especially when quite young. Alexander the Great, for instance, had a Regent governing in Greece while he conquered the world. Sometimes the reign of a King was measured when the Regent started ruling in the King's name, other times it was measured from when the King took personal rule. Sometimes Regency was set for a certain number of years (like 10 years or 20 years) and other times it was set until the King reached a certain age. Obviously a Regent ruled for the first 20 years of Ahaziah's reign. One account (2 Kings) measures it to when the Regent was named for Ahaziah at age 22, the other (2 Chronicles) measures it to when Azahiah took personal control at age 42 after a 20 year Regency by a Regent.

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33%

I think it would be more correct to say that Ahaziah began to rule as a regent in a limited capacity when he was 22 years old, although this does not necessarily mean that he continued to rule as a regent. King Jehoshaphat also shared his throne with Jehoram for three years, so there is precedent for considering this.

When Ahaziah was 42 years old, and all of the superior heirs of Jehoram were slain, he took the throne of Judah as its sole monarch, and reigned one year from Jerusalem.

For a more detailed explanation, I have a short essay posted at http://www.scribd.com/doc/15281186/How-Old-Was-Ahaziah-2-Kings-and-2-Chronicles

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80%

Of course the above solutions can be correct but there is that word "also" when mentioning the second one's name. Could there be 2 Ahaziah's? There are definitely more than 1 in Scripture.

1Ki_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.

2Ki_8:25 In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.

Could they both have mothers whose name was Athaliah? Or rather, could there be one Ahaziah whose father was Jehoram and who was the son-in-law of Ahab who ruled in both kingdoms, the latter being in Jerusalem for 1 year?

All these are possibilities but to blindly say that this is a mistake in the Bible just goes to show you for the fool that you are. Saying that this is a glaring contradiction just shows you that you don't know even what the possibilities are much less what the answer is.

And that indeed, is the most amazing thing about the Bible that I've ever discovered. How it shows the blackness of men's hearts by offering up a seeming contradiction and men, like fish, take it hook, line and sinker. That only strengthens my firm belief that it is God's word.

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"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." I Kings 8:26

"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." II Chronicles 22:2

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The writer of Kings, not wanting to go into details beyond that of chronology may not have chosen to highlight an anomaly in the record. And he was technically correct to say that Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign. However, in Chronicles the anomaly is very much highlighted, exposing a cancerous sin that Jehoshapat left God to deal with. The writer in Chronicles details that at the time of Ahaziah's one year reign in Jerusalem his age in fact is 42.

What happened? Likely Jehoshaphat's heart was lifted up by reason of his status, wealth and dominion. The writer in the chronicles account details the following: "Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab. And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead." II Chronicles 18:1-2

"After certain years," is key. The exact years that elapsed after Jehoshaphat joined affinity with Ahab before the war must be 7. This is the year when Ahaziah is 22. He is not a son of Jehoshaphat and would not be a valid candidate for the throne of Judah. But perhaps Jehoshaphat wanted to maintain the peace with Ahab and keep him as an ally. Jehoshaphat have in all likelihood consented to Ahab's request saying, 'If either of us die may Ahaziah rule the kingdom' - a promise Jehoshaphat never intended to keep good on. But Ahab and Athaliah may have been eager to give Ahaziah experience in reigning in Israel at that time. They then waited seven years to install Ahaziah in Judah, at which time a war was brewing. Ahab and Athaliah pressed the issue a second time, making Jehoshaphat consent beyond what he wanted, again to keep the peace.

And this time the affinity became a promise of Jehoshaphat's son in marriage to Athaliah. Ahaziah now became a step-son to the line of David. Jehoshaphat thought he would never have to keep good on this promise either because he trusted God would always keep the line of David pure. However, he left a mess behind. He eventually died and so did his own son. And the daughter his son was married to tried to install her son, which took twenty years to come about. Twenty years of planning to have him reign only one year. The son of Ahaziah who was hid, would have had to be a step-son of Ahaziah only, because he must be of the line of David and Ahaziah was not.

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Books on Apparent Contradictions