2 Kings 15:27—How can this verse say Pekah ruled over Samaria for 20 years when he took Samaria 8 years before the end of his reign?

Problem: According to 2 Kings 15:27, Pekah ruled over Israel in Samaria for 20 years. However, Hoshea the son of Elah killed Pekah only 8 years after Pekah had taken Samaria from Menahem. How could Pekah have reigned over Israel for 20 years when he only reigned from Samaria for 8 years?

Solution: Although Pekah did not have control over the city of Samaria, he was considered to be the only lawful king of Israel, and therefore his reign over Israel, and its capital city Samaria, was calculated from the time he claimed the throne after the death of Zechariah in 752 b.c. Pekah actually took up official residence in Samaria in 740 b.c., approximately two years after Menahem died. However, only eight years later, in 739 b.c., Hoshea led a conspiracy against Pekah and killed him.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.