How old was Ahaziah?

Question from John in New York: Some of the bibles read that the person mentioned in 2 Chronicles 22:2 became king at the age of 22; other bibles, including the Tanakh, read that the person became king at  the age of 42.  Please explain the different translations?

Reply by Jim Myers: John, as usual you have made a great observation.  There are two accounts of the same event recorded in the Bible --
2 Kings 8:26 & 2 Chronicles 22:2.  The Kings account is generally believed by scholars to be the oldest version.

2 Kings 8:26 Hebrew Bible

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 Hebrew Bible

Forty and two 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.

In addition to the above accounts of the event there are also the Greek translations of the verses that are found in the Septuagint..  

2 Kings 8:26 Septuagint (4 Kings 8:26)

Twenty and two years old was Ochozias when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem :
and the name of his mother was Gotholia, daughter of Ambri king of
Israel .

2 Chronicles 22:2 Septuagint

Ochozias began to reign when he was twenty years old, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem :
and his motherís name was Gotholia, the daughter of Ambri.

John, the answer to your question is that the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Septuagint agree that Ahaziah was twenty-two years old in 2 Kings 8:26.  The confusion is caused by the later account recorded in 2 Chronicles 22:2 where the Hebrew Bibles states that he was forty-two years old, but the Greek translation of the same verse in the Septuagint states that he was twenty years-old.  Since there is agreement concerning the oldest account recorded in Kings, some translators may take that in account in making their translation of 2 Chronicles.  If, however, they do not state what they did in a footnote, readers may not be aware that they completely ignored what was written in the Hebrew text.  This, of course, presents another challenge for those who believe that their Bible is the "literal and inerrant word of God;" but that is for another study.

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