Problem

Ahaz and Tiglathpileser

2 Kings 16:9 - And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.
2 Chronicles 28:21 - For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.

These 2 accounts seem to contradict each other. Ahaz, the king of Judah, asks for help and gets it in 2 Kings 7-10. But 2 Chronicles 20:21 (where Chronicles is a repeat of Kings, but with more of the "why" explained regarding each situation) states that it did not help him. Are they talking about the same incident, or 2 separate happenings?


Solution

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I have just spent the past few hours researching the Assyrian Kings. So far, all I have found is alot of debate, doubt, theory, and conjecture amongst the scholars on what kings ruled in Assyria during the time of Ahaz.

So, having wasted enough time, I am now going to set all of that nonsense aside and turn solely to the most accurate history book ever produced in order to answer this question; The King James Bible.

Now, some of you are probably saying, "But what about the Behistun Stone, or the Babylonian Chronicle? Are you just going to ignore these invaluable resources?" Well, yeah. You see, one thing the scholars all agree on is that there is an incomplete secular record of the Assyrian Kings during this time. So I am going to ignore them completely and see what the Holy Scriptures have to say about these kings, and if somebody finds a piece of pottery some day that confirms it, great.

So, 2 Kings records Ahaz offering money to the King of Assyria to help him because the King of Syria and the King of Israel have risen up against him. So, the King of Assyria "hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin" (2 Ki. 16:9). However, 2 Chronicles records Ahaz offering money to the King of Assyria to help him, but the King of Assyria "distressed him", "strengthened him not", and "helped him not" (2 Chr. 28:20-21).

So what is the solution? Well, bear with me for a minute while I lay some ground work. First, notice that the two accounts refer to two slightly different names:

Tiglathpileser (2 Kings)
Tilgathpilneser (2 Chronicles)

Now before you start screaming "spelling variation", allow me to list some facts:

In 2 Kings, Tiglathpileser is credited with the following actions:

"In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria."

Ahaz gives money to Tiglathpileser and then goes to meet him in Damascus after Tiglathpileser helps King Ahaz. It is here that Ahaz copies the pattern of the altar Tiglathpileser had built, and has Urijah the priest build one just like it.

In 2 Chronicles, Tilgathpilneser is credited with the following actions:

"And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day." (1 Chr. 5:26)

"Beerah his son, whom Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: he was prince of the Reubenites." (1 Chr. 5:6)

Ahaz offers Tilgathpilneser money to help him, but the offer is refused. No mention is made of Tilgathpilneser going to Damascus.

"So what is your point?" My point is this: they don't overlap! Except for the part where Ahaz offers both men money to help him out, the accounts of the two men don't overlap at all! So now you probably want to know how I will handle the fact that he offers two men with similar names money to come and help him, but they are not the same person? Hmm...If only there was a verse that mentioned Ahaz sending messengers to more than one king...WAIT A MINUTE..THERE IS!!!

"At that time did king Ahaz send unto the KINGS of Assyria to help him" (2 Chr. 28:16)!!! Well, what do you know! Ahaz sent messengers and money to two different kings of Assyria! One of them came to his rescue, and the other did not! 2 Kings records the account of the king who came to help him, and 2 Chronicles records the account of the king who did not help him!

And there you have it. This is not a contradiction. Read both accounts very carefully and you will see that the names are spelled differently for a reason; they represent two different kings!

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