2 Kings 8:25—Did Ahaziah become king in the twelfth year of Jehoram or in the eleventh year of Jehoram?
Problem: According to 2 Kings 8:25, Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah in the twelfth year of the reign of Jehoram son of Ahab, king of Israel. However, 2 Kings 9:29 states that Ahaziah became king of Judah in the eleventh year of the reign of Jehoram over Israel. Which is right?
Solution: Both are correct. The difference stems from the manner in which the reign of a king was calculated in Israel and in Judah. At the time of the reign of Ahaziah in Judah, the system used to calculate the years of the reign of a king was the accession-year system. According to this system, the first official year of the reign of a king did not begin until the beginning of the new year after that king had taken the throne. The calculation system employed in Israel, however, was the nonaccession-year system in which the year that a king came to the throne was counted as his first official year. Consequently, what was the eleventh year according to the accession-year system was the twelfth year according to the nonaccession-year system.
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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.