Is Jehoiachin’s age a Bible contradiction?

Posted by on Feb 5, 2011 in Questions and Answers, Text | Comments Off on Is Jehoiachin’s age a Bible contradiction?

No, this is not a Bible contradiction.  Jehoiachin was 18 when he reigned in Judah.

We have contended that there are no errors or contradictions in your King James Bible.  Yet, in the reign of Jehoiachin, the second to the last king before the Babylonian captivity, we find an “apparent” contradiction between the account in 2 Kings and the account in 2 Chronicles.

In 2 Ki 24:8, Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign.  In 2 Chr 36:9, Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign.  This question of the week is a good one then, because Bible correctors love to argue that this is a contradiction in your Bible.  Thus, they attempt to destroy your faith in the words of God.

Finis Dake (Dake’s Annotated Bible) says, “This can be explained only as an error in copying the number in one of the two places.  Such mistakes were easy to make if the copy from which another was made was in the slightest way marred.”  Comments like that open the door to apostasy in the worst way.  That excuse is what gave rise to the attack on the deity of Jesus by the removal of “God” in 2 Tim 3:16

Following the belief that there was a mistake in one of the texts, the NIV changed Jehoiachin’s age to eighteen in 2 Chr 36:9, with this footnote for manuscript evidence: “One Hebrew manuscript, some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts eight.”  So, on the authority of ONE Hebrew manuscript they changed God’s words.  All of the rest of the Hebrew manuscripts said that his age was eight.

Is there a mistake?  No.  Then what’s the explanation for the difference in his age?  The explanation is simple.  The Rev. John Brown, Brown’s Dictionary, 1834, said, “It seems, his father installed him when he was but eight years of age; and after his father’s death, he, at eighteen, succeeded to the sole government.”

For simplicity, we have prepared the following table which shows the names of the kings, the years of their reigns, and the three sieges by Nebuchadnezzar.

King

Age

Year

Length
of Reign

Reference

Captivity
(or notes on reign)

Reference

Jehoiakim 25 609 11 years 2 Ki 23:36      
   606 The 3rd year of his reign    1st – in the 1st year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign Dan 1:1
   598 The end of his reign      
Jehoiachin 8/18 598 3 mos. 10 days 2 Chr 36:9
2 Ki 24:8
This king is also called Jeconiah in Jer 29:2   
   597 The end of his reign    2nd – in the 8th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The year expired in Jehoiachin’s reign 2 Ki 24:12
2 Chr 36:10
Zedekiah 21 597 11 years 2 Ki 24:18      
   586 The end of his reign    3rd – in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign 2 Ki 25:2, 8

From this table, you can see that John Brown is right.  Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin’s father, reigned for eleven years.  In the second year of his reign, when Jehoiachin was 8, Jehoiakim would have picked Jehoiachin to rule.  Then, when Jehoiakim died, Jehoiachin ascended to the throne at age 18 and reigned for 3 months and 10 days.  To help him with his rule, his mother reigned as queen.  [See 2 Ki 24:12 and Jer 29:2.  When Jehoiachin went into captivity, he went with his mother, who was called “the queen.”].

Jehoiachin had to be 18 when he actually ascended to the throne, because a prophecy about him in Jer22:28, where he is called Coniah, says that he is cast out with “his seed.”  He had to be old enough to have children when he went into captivity.  He wouldn’t have had seed at age eight.

Why would Jehoiakim have named Jehoiachin king at eight?  That’s fairly simple.  Pharaohnecho killed Josiah, Jehoiachin’s grandfather, in battle and the people installed Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin’s uncle, as king to replace Josiah.  He reigned for 3 months (2 Ki23:30-31).  Then, Pharaoh removed Jehoahaz and installed his brother Jehoiakim as king (2 Ki23:34).  This was the first instance of a foreign king selecting a king in Judah.

To prevent this from happening again, Jehoiakim would have named his son, Jehoiachin, king and his mother, Nehushta (2 Ki 24:8), queen to provide stability in the government in case anything happened to Jehoiakim.  At this time, Babylon was taking control away from Egypt (2 Ki 24:7) and Egypt was losing power in Judah.  Things were very unstable.

Sure enough, when Jehoiakim died, Jehoiachin ascended to the throne.  But his reign only lasted 3 months and 10 days, until Nebuchadnezzar came in for the second time, took Jehoiachin and his mother captive, and put Zedekiah on the throne.  Thus, God fulfilled his promise to cut off Jehoiachin’s seed from the throne (Jer22:28-30).

Hope this helps,

Pastor Bevans Welder

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