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Is There a Difference Between 2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2?

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Those who oppose scripture often do so on ludicrous grounds. One of them is to denigrate texts because of the errors of transcribers, etc.

The 42 years in 2 Chronicles obviously appears to be different from the same topic in 2 Kings. Therefore, say detractors, the Bible is in error. This, however, is not exactly logical. Firstly, what appears to be error is not an error in the text but an error in handling the reading of the text - most readers have insufficient knowledge to enable them to argue properly. This is just a fact, not a judgment.

Secondly, if there is an error, it is not in the information but in the actions of those who translate and transcribe, or otherwise change, textual information from one language to another. This is not an error in the original words, but an error in the one transcribing/translating, etc.

Thirdly, most of these supposed ‘errors’ are brought to attention by Higher Critics, whose methodology is not just speculative, but plainly wrong. Even if a transcriber or translator gets it wrong, it never hurts the gist or meaning. So what’s the problem?

What is the case here? That the king (Ahaziah) as supposedly 22 in 2 Kings when he started his short reign, but 42 years old in 2 Chronicles. Which is true? The answer is easy – he was 22 years old. How do we know this? Because his father, who reigned before him, was only 40 when he died!

We now know the true age. Why, then, is the age of 42 given in 2 Chronicles?

Some think a transcriber got it wrong. In itself this is no real problem, for the error is in someone other than the original author. Bear in mind that the error of a transcriber is NOT the same as an error in the original text or the original author. It is just a technical mistake! There were no errors in what the Spirit gave to Bible authors.

However, another possibility arises – that the age given is of the new king’s mother, and not the king himself, who was 22. This is not an excuse, for the original Hebrew text puts it: “he was the son of forty two years” (that is, the son of a mother of that age), thus allowing for the suggested explanation. Other ancient translations actually have the age as 22, not 42, so the explanation may be accurate.

Therefore, any supposed ‘contradiction’ is only in the mind of the one opposed to scripture. It is not a contradiction at all, but is either a transcriptional mistake, or an interpretational misperception on the part of the reader. Either way it is not a Bible error or contradiction.

One of the easiest ways to check is simply to read contextually as well as trans-scripturally. In this case we have the age of the new king in 2 Kings, so there is no problem. That some try to make it a ‘problem’ is irrelevant, for there is no problem! Those who read scripture theologically merely follow the clues and read trans-scripturally to find the answers. But, those with an axe to grind will grab hold of any and all apparent hooks as an excuse, and rarely read theologically.

This is one of the favourite ‘errors’ found in the annals of Higher Critics, so it can fairly easily be disregarded, for Higher Criticism is itself known to be bogus. Interestingly (as I think I said in my article on Higher Criticism), Romanism once discounted it, but now embraces it, because it gives them a jaundiced view of scripture as God’s word, making it full of supposed errors. They should first read the work of Higher Critics and see how others completely debunk it, before they resort to their false arguments!

© August 2012

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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