Home Subscribe
Figure 1. The Age Contradiction of King Ahaziah

The Bible, revered as a sacred text by millions, is not without its share of inconsistencies and contradictions. One such example is the age discrepancy of King Ahaziah when he ascended to the throne of Judah. In this article, we will closely examine the contradiction, the relevant verses in the New International Version (NIV), and some common views on the issue from various sources.

Explore Faith Reason for more articles like this.

1. The Contradiction

The age contradiction of King Ahaziah appears in two different passages of the Bible:

  • 2 Kings 8:26 (NIV) states that Ahaziah was 22 years old when he became king of Judah:

    Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel.
    — 2 Kings 8:26 (NIV)
  • In contrast, 2 Chronicles 22:2 (NIV) claims that Ahaziah was 42 years old when he started his reign:

    Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri.
    — 2 Chronicles 22:2 (NIV)

The discrepancy between these two passages raises questions about the accuracy of the biblical text and provides an opportunity for critical examination.

2. Common Views on the Contradiction

There are several explanations that have been proposed by scholars and theologians to address this contradiction:

  1. Scribal Error: A widely accepted explanation is that the discrepancy is due to a scribal error during the process of copying ancient manuscripts. It is suggested that a scribe may have inadvertently written "forty-two" instead of "twenty-two" in 2 Chronicles 22:2 (Archer, 1982). Some scholars argue that the original Hebrew text may have had a numerical error, which was then carried over into subsequent translations.

  2. Different Age Calculation Methods: Another explanation posits that the two passages might be referring to different methods of calculating age in ancient times (Harrison, 1969). For example, one passage could be considering the age of Ahaziah when he was first appointed as a co-regent with his father, while the other could be referring to his age when he became the sole ruler.

  3. Symbolic Interpretation: Some theologians propose that the numbers might have symbolic meanings rather than literal ones (Longman, 1987). In this view, the numbers could represent a specific message or lesson, rather than the actual age of King Ahaziah. However, this perspective is less common and not widely accepted among biblical scholars.

3. Conclusion

The age contradiction of King Ahaziah in the Bible serves as an example of inconsistencies found within the sacred text. Despite the belief that the authors were inspired by God, errors like this one demonstrate that the Bible is not be infallible. By examining such discrepancies, we can engage in critical thinking and open dialogue about the nature of the Bible and the role it plays in our understanding of faith and history.

By fostering an environment where individuals feel at ease examining and questioning inconsistencies, instead of succumbing to gullibility, they can cultivate a more analytical mindset. This approach empowers them to make informed decisions, irrespective of the beliefs that surround them. This examination is not intended to undermine the Bible’s significance, but rather to encourage inquiry and critical analysis in the pursuit of truth.


Archer, G. L. (1982). Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Zondervan.

Harrison, R. K. (1969). Introduction to the Old Testament. Eerdmans.

Longman, T. I. I. I. (1987). How to Read the Bible as Literature. Zondervan.

Add Comment

* Required information
Drag & drop images (max 3)
What is the opposite word of weak?

Comments (1)


While some newer Bible versions have fixed this error, it persists in older translations. It is still perplexing to notice that a book allegedly inspired sustained such obvious mistakes. This served as one of my initial red flags, prompting questions about the consistency and accuracy of the text.