2 Chronicles 22:2
Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.
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(2) Forty and two years old.—An error of transcription. 2Kings 8:26, twenty and two; and so the Syriac and Arabic: the LXX. has “twenty.” Ahaziah could not have been forty when he succeeded, because his father was only forty when he died (2Chronicles 21:20).

Athaliah the daughter of Omrii.e., granddaughter, she being daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Kings adds, “king of Israel,” which the chronicler purposely omits. (Comp. Micah 6:16 : “The statutes of Omri,” “the works of the house of Ahab.”)

2 Chronicles 22:2. Forty and two years old was Ahaziah — It is said (2 Kings 8:26) that he was but two and twenty years old when he began to reign; so that, it is probable, an error has been committed here by the copyist or transcriber. For some Greek copies have here twenty-two years old, and it is so in the Syriac and Arabic translations, and particularly in that most ancient copy of the Syriac, which was used by the church at Antioch in the primitive times, and to this day is kept in the church of Antioch, from which Archbishop Usher did, at his own great charge, get an exact copy transcribed. Athaliah the daughter of Omri — That is, of Omri’s family; or, of Ahab, Omri’s son. Grand-children are often called sons or daughters in the Scriptures.

22:1-12 The reign of Ahaziah, Athaliah destroys the royal family. - The counsel of the ungodly ruins many young persons when they are setting out in the world. Ahaziah gave himself up to be led by evil men. Those who advise us to do wickedly, counsel us to our destruction; while they pretend to be friends, they are our worst enemies. See and dread the mischief of bad company. If not the infection, yet let the destruction be feared, Re 18:4. We have here, a wicked woman endeavouring to destroy the house of David, and a good woman preserving it. No word of God shall fall to the ground. The whole truth of the prophecies that the Messiah was to come from David, and thereby the salvation of the world, appeared to be now hung upon the brittle thread of the life of a single infant, to destroy whom was the interest of the reigning power. But God had purposed, and vain were the efforts of earth and hell.For "42" read "22" (see the marginal reference). Ahaziah's father, Jehoram, was but 40 when be died 2 Chronicles 21:20. 2. Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign—(Compare 2Ki 8:26). According to that passage, the commencement of his reign is dated in the twenty-second year of his age, and, according to this, in the forty-second year of the kingdom of his mother's family [Lightfoot]. "If Ahaziah ascended the throne in the twenty-second year of his life, he must have been born in his father's nineteenth year. Hence, it may seem strange that he had older brothers; but in the East they marry early, and royal princes had, besides the wife of the first rank, usually concubines, as Jehoram had (2Ch 21:17); he might, therefore, in the nineteenth year of his age, very well have several sons" [Keil] (compare 2Ch 21:20; 2Ki 8:17).

Athaliah the daughter of Omri—more properly, "granddaughter." The expression is used loosely, as the statement was made simply for the purpose of intimating that she belonged to that idolatrous race.

Forty and two years old was Ahaziah.

Object. He was then only twenty-two years old, as is affirmed, 2 Kings 8:26. Besides, Joram his father died in his fortieth year, as is twice noted, 2 Chronicles 21:5,20: how then can this be true?

Answ. 1. In the Hebrew it is, a son of forty-two years, &c., which is an ambiguous phrase; and though it doth for the most part, yet it doth not always, signify the age of the person, as is manifest from 1 Samuel 13:1, See Poole "1 Samuel 13:1". And therefore it is not necessary that this should note his age (as it is generally presumed to do, and that is the only ground of the difficulty); but it may note either,

1. The age of his mother Athaliah; who being so great, and infamous, and mischievous a person to the kingdom and royal family of Judah, it is not strange if her age be here described, especially seeing she herself did for a season sway this sceptre. Or rather,

2. Of the reign of that royal race and family from which by his mother he was descended, to wit, of the house of Omri, who reigned six years, 1 Kings 16:23; Ahab his son reigned twenty-two years, 1 Kings 16:29; Ahaziah his son two years, 1 Kings 22:51; Joram his son twelve years, 2 Kings 3:1; all which, put together, make up exactly these forty-two years; for Ahaziah began his reign in Joram’s twelfth year, 2 Kings 8:25. And such a kind of computation of the years, not of the king’s person, but of his reign or kingdom, we had before, 2 Chronicles 16:1, See Poole "2 Chronicles 16:1". And so we have an account of the person’s age in 2 Kings 8:26, and here of the kingdom to which he belonged.

Answ. 2. Some acknowledge an error in the transcribers of the present Hebrew copies, in which language the numeral letters for twenty-two and forty-two are so like, that they might easily be mistaken. For that it was read twenty-two here, as it is in the Book of Kings, in other Hebrew copies, they gather from hence, that it is at this day so read in divers ancient Greek copies, as also in those two ancient translations, the Syriac and the Arabic, and particularly in that famous and most ancient copy of the Syriac, which was used by the church of Antioch in the primitive times, and to this day is kept in the church of Antioch, from which that most reverend, learned, pious, and public-spirited archbishop Usher did at his own great charge get another copy transcribed, in which he hath published to all the world that he found it here written twenty and two years old, &c. Nor doth this overthrow the authority of the sacred text, as infidels would have it, partly because it is only an historical passage, of no importance to the substantial doctrines of faith and a good life; and partly because the question here is not whether this text be true, but which is the true reading of the text, whether that of the generality of present copies, or that which was used in the ancient copies, which the ancient and venerable translators above mentioned did follow; for it seems unreasonable and uncharitable to think that all of them would have conspired to have changed the text, and put in twenty and two for forty and two, if they had so read it in their Hebrew copies. Nor can this open any great door to those innumerable changes which some have boldly and rashly made in the Hebrew text without any such pretence of authority, as there is for this, which as they are affirmed without reason, or authority, or necessity, so they may as easily be rejected. If all this will not satisfy our present infidels, I desire them only to consider what hath been hinted before upon such occasions, that many difficulties which did seem unanswerable, being now fully cleared by later writers, it is but reasonable to think that this may be so in after-times, either by finding of some Hebrew copies in which it may be twenty and two years, &c., or by some other way.

The daughter of Omri, i.e. of Omri’s family; or of Ahab, Omri’s son. Grandchildren are oft called sons and daughters, as Matthew 1:1, Luke 3:26.

Forty two and years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign,.... In 2 Kings 8:26, he is said to be but twenty two years old at his accession to the throne, which is undoubtedly most correct; for this makes him to be two years older than his father when he died, who was thirty two when he began to reign, and reigned eight years, 2 Chronicles 21:20, different ways are taken to solve this difficulty; some refer this to Jehoram, that he was forty two when Ahaziah began to reign, but he was but forty when he died; others to the age of Athaliah his mother, as if he was the son of one that was forty two, when he himself was but twenty two; but no instance is given of any such way of writing, nor any just reason for it; others make these forty two years reach to the twentieth of his son Joash, his age twenty two, his reign one, Athaliah six, and Joash thirteen; but the two principal solutions which seem most to satisfy learned men are, the one, that he was twenty two when he began to reign in his father's lifetime, and forty two when he began to reign in his own right; but then he must reign twenty years with his father, whereas his father reigned but eight years: to make this clear they observe (b), as Kimchi and Abarbinel, from whom this solution is taken, that he reigned eight years very happily when his son was twenty two, and taken on the throne with him, after which he reigned twenty more ingloriously, and died, when his son was forty two; this has been greedily received by many, but without any proof: the other is, that these forty two years are not the date of the age of Ahaziah, but of the reign of the family of Omri king of Israel; so the Jewish chronology (c); but how impertinent must the use of such a date be in the account of the reign of a king of Judah? all that can be said is, his mother was of that family, which is a trifling reason for such an unusual method of reckoning: it seems best to acknowledge a mistake of the copier, which might easily be made through a similarity of the numeral letters, forty two, for twenty two (d); and the rather since some copies of the Septuagint, and the Syriac and Arabic versions, read twenty two, as in Kings; particularly the Syriac version, used in the church of Antioch from the most early times; a copy of which Bishop Usher obtained at a very great price, and in which the number is twenty two, as he assures us; and that the difficulty here is owing to the carelessness of the transcribers is owned by Glassius (e), a warm advocate for the integrity of the Hebrew text, and so by Vitringa (f): and indeed it is more to the honour of the sacred Scriptures to acknowledge here and there a mistake in the copiers, especially in the historical books, where there is sometimes a strange difference of names and numbers, than to give in to wild and distorted interpretations of them, in order to reconcile them, where there is no danger with respect to any article of faith or manners; and, as a learned man (g) has observed of the New Testament,"it is an invincible reason for the Scripture's part, that other escapes should be so purposely and infinitely let pass, and yet no saving and substantial part at all scarce moved out of its place; to say the truth, these varieties of readings, in a few by-places, do the same office to the main Scriptures, as the variation of the compass to the whole magnet of the earth, the mariner knows so much the better for these how to steer his course;''and, with respect to some various readings in the Old Testament, Dr. Owen (h) observes, God has suffered this lesser variety to fall out, in or among the copies we have, for the quickening and exercising of our diligence in our search of his word:

he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri, see 2 Kings 8:26.

(b) In Hieron. Trad. Heb. in Paralip. fol. 85. E. (c) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 17. So Ben Gersom. (d) See Kennicott's Dissert. 1. p. 98. (e) Philolog. Sacr. p. 114. (f) Hypotypol Hist. Sacr. p. 67. (g) J. Gregory's Preface to his Works. (h) Divine Original of the Scripture, p. 14.

{b} Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned {c} one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter {d} of Omri.

(b) Read 2Ch 21:20.

(c) That is, after the death of his father.

(d) She was Ahab's daughter, who was the son of Omri.

2. Forty and two years old] LXX., ὢν εἴκοσι ἐτῶν agreeing nearly with 2 Kings 8:26, “two-and-twenty years old” (Heb. and LXX.).

daughter of Omri] So 2 Kings 8:26, but more correctly “daughter of Ahab” (2 Kings 8:18).

Verse 2. - Forty and two; read, twenty and two, and see parallel, 2 Kings 8:26; and note on our 2 Chronicles 21:5. Daughter of Omri; i.e. granddaughter of Omri, as Omri was the father of Ahab. 2 Chronicles 22:2The number 42 is an orthographical error for 22 (ב having been changed into )מ, 2 Kings 8:26. As Joram was thirty-two years of age at his accession, and reigned eight years (2 Chronicles 21:20 and 2 Chronicles 21:5), at his death his youngest son could not be older than twenty-one or twenty-two years of age, and even then Joram must have begotten him in his eighteenth or nineteenth year. It is quite consistent with this that Joram had yet older sons; for in the East marriages are entered upon at a very early age, and the royal princes were wont to have several wives, or, besides their proper wives, concubines also. Certainly, had Ahaziah had forty-two older brothers, as Berth. and other critics conclude from 2 Kings 10:13., then he could not possibly have been begotten, or been born, in his father's eighteenth year. But that idea rests merely upon an erroneous interpretation of the passage quoted; see on 2 Chronicles 22:8. Ahaziah's mother Athaliah is called the daughter, i.e., granddaughter, of Omri, as in 2 Kings 8:26, because he was the founder of the idolatrous dynasty of the kingdom of the ten tribes.
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