# How do we determine the nature of the reign of the kings when the numbers don't seem to add up?

In the book of 2 Kings, the kingdoms of Judah and Israel were separate.

In Amaziah's (Judah) 15th year, Jeroboam (Israel) began to reign. In Jeroboam's (Israel) 27th year, Azariah (Judah) began to reign. That is, Azariah (Judah) began to reign 15+27=42 years after Amaziah (Judah) began to reign. However, Amaziah (Judah) only reigned 29 years. I've tried to illustrate this below:

ISRAEL:           Jeroboam (reigned from the 15th year of Amaziah)
JUDAH: Amaziah (reigned 29y)  -->   Azariah (reigned from the 27th year of Jeroboam)

(see Melachim 2 / 2 Kings 14:2, 14:23, 15:1)

Similarly, Ahaz began to reign in Pekah's 17th year. Hoshea began to reign in Ahaz' 12th year. But Pekah only reigned 20 years (leaving a gap of 9 years).

ISRAEL: Pekah (reigned 20y)  -->  Hoshea (began to reign in Ahaz' 12th year)
JUDAH:            Ahaz (began to reign in Pekah's 17th year)

(see Melachim 2 / 2Kings 15:17, 16:1, 17:1)

I know that many have tried to make the chronologies fit by including co-regencies (two kings reigning at the same time). But the word מָלַךְ is the same for all of these kings - wouldn't all of the מָלַךְs either refer to the beginning of a co-regency, or the beginning of a reign alone? And if not: how do we differentiate the beginning of a co-regency from the beginning of a reign alone, based on the words used or the context?

• I'm perusing my history/archaeology books now..trying to find the ones that have the synchronization problems addressed..They managed to make sense out of the numbers through three methods-First, as you have mentioned, co-regencies, ie:Uzziah/Jotam. Second - there was supposedly a different way of reckoning reigns' lengths in the two kingdoms, including or not including accession years, I think. Third, occasional scribal error, as is possible with the Ahaz/Pekah/Hoshea example--if Ahaz started in the 7th instead of the 17th, the numbers add up better. Looking now for the definite references... – Gary Nov 13 '13 at 14:34
• @Gary , thanks for the comment with your three explanations. As I've explained, I don't see a convincing reason to accept explanation #1 (unless you have a good reason to take "malach" differently when used the same way). Explanation #2 may be help with inconsistencies <3 years (I'd be interested if you have sources/reasons), but these two inconsistencies are >3 years. Explanation #3, though it is possible (the MT does contain a few well documented scribal errors), should only be used as a last resort. – Niobius Nov 15 '13 at 16:14
• I WISH I could find that book!!! It might be lent out... if you look around on the Web there's a bunch of different rationalizations, nobody has one consistent one, though.. I would make it an answer if I had the ref.. – Gary Nov 15 '13 at 17:36
• There are a BUNCH of inconsistencies in the numbers, Ahaz having Hezekiah @11 yrs old(36 when he died w/Hezekiah reigning @ 25), Ahaziah being the youngest @ 42 in II Chronicles 22:2 and only 22 in II Kings 8:26... I wonder if the Talmud or later literature has comments on any of those...hmm food for more questions... – Gary Nov 15 '13 at 17:44
• For Pekach things are harder to explain, but Seder Olam tries (same source as above, just page 63). Basically his explanation is that Hoshea ruled for a total of 9+9=18 years, but Melachim only counts the years he was independent of Assyria (i.e "when he started to rebel"), thus pushing is kingship date down by 9 years and giving him less time on the throne. – Nic Sep 3 '14 at 14:38

If necessary I would respond to all issues about the Kings' chronology. Otherwise I will refer below to sources on the topic.

Malbim

See Seder Olam with Hagahos of Yaavetz and Vilna Gaon.

Aderes Eliyahu (Vilna Gaon) with table of Judges and Kings. http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=26873&st=&pgnum=136

Keep in mind: All king lists of all histories assume some overlap due to different kings beginning and ending reigns on different dates as well as some kings having a different reckoning for when they officially assumed the throne as opposed to practically, actually doing so...

• Thanks for the answer. Consider more directly addressing the issue of coregency, (if the answer is that the text indeed does not differentiate between regency, so be it, but specifying this would improve the post). Consider also clarifying where in the Malbim. (Simply adding in: commentary to verses of beginning of reigns, would be a useful addition.) Consider also summarising the SH, Malbim, SO, Gra, etc. Not how they solve each problem, but their methodologies in brief. || optimally questions world be more specific, but given the general nature of the question, that's probably your best bet. – mevaqesh Aug 9 '17 at 15:29
• מה שהלב חושק- הזמן עושק... אך מראה מקום אני לך, ובעזרת נותן התורה ב"ה עוד חזון למועד... – Shaul Goldman Aug 10 '17 at 0:19