2 Kings 18:2
Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
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(2) Abi.—This should probably be Abijah, as in Chronicles and a few MSS.

18:1-8 Hezekiah was a true son of David. Some others did that which was right, but not like David. Let us not suppose that when times and men are bad, they must needs grow worse and worse; that does not follow: after many bad kings, God raised one up like David himself. The brazen serpent had been carefully preserved, as a memorial of God's goodness to their fathers in the wilderness; but it was idle and wicked to burn incense to it. All helps to devotion, not warranted by the word of God, interrupt the exercise of faith; they always lead to superstition and other dangerous evils. Human nature perverts every thing of this kind. True faith needs not such aids; the word of God, daily thought upon and prayed over, is all the outward help we need.Twenty and five years old was he - This statement, combined with that of 2 Kings 16:2, would make it necessary that his father Ahaz should have married at the age of 10, and have had a child born to him when he was 11 years of age. This is not impossible; but its improbability is so great, that most commentators suggest a corruption in some of the numbers.

The Zachariah here mentioned was perhaps one of the "faithful witnesses" of Isaiah Isa 8:2.


2Ki 18:1-3. Hezekiah's Good Reign.

1, 2. Hezekiah … began to reign. Twenty and five years old—According to this statement (compare 2Ki 16:2), he must have been born when his father Ahaz was no more than eleven years old. Paternity at an age so early is not unprecedented in the warm climates of the south, where the human frame is matured sooner than in our northern regions. But the case admits of solution in a different way. It was customary for the later kings of Israel to assume their son and heir into partnership in the government during their lives; and as Hezekiah began to reign in the third year of Hoshea (2Ki 18:1), and Hoshea in the twelfth year of Ahaz (2Ki 17:1), it is evident that Hezekiah began to reign in the fourteenth year of Ahaz his father, and so reigned two or three years before his father's death. So that, at the beginning of his reign in conjunction with his father, he might be only twenty-two or twenty-three, and Ahaz a few years older than the common calculation makes him. Or the case may be solved thus: As the ancient writers, in the computation of time, take notice of the year they mention, whether finished or newly begun, so Ahaz might be near twenty-one years old at the beginning of his reign, and near seventeen years older at his death; while, on the other hand, Hezekiah, when he began to reign, might be just entering into his twenty-fifth year, and so Ahaz would be near fourteen years old when his son Hezekiah was born—no uncommon age for a young man to become a father in southern latitudes [Patrick].

Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign. How is this credible? For then Ahaz, who lived but six and thirty years, 2 Kings 16:2, must beget Hezekiah at the eleventh year of his age.

Answ. 1. There are some like instances mentioned by credible authors; which these very men will not deny, who are so ready to quarrel with the Holy Scriptures for such matters.

2. This being the confessed custom of sacred and other writers, in the numbering of years, sometimes to omit, and sometimes to add, those which are imperfect or unfinished; and so Ahaz might be near one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and near seventeen years older when he died. And on the other side, Hezekiah, when he began to reign, might be only four and twenty years old complete, and but entered into his five and twentieth year. And thus Ahaz might be between thirteen and fourteen years old when he got Hezekiah; which is not at all strange, especially in that nation, to which God had promised a singular degree of fruitfulness, and in that house of David, to which God had made so many and such great promises.

3. It is not certain that Ahaz lived only thirty six years; for those sixteen years which he reigned, 2 Kings 17:2, may be computed, not from the first beginning of his reign, when he reigned with his father, (of which See Poole "2 Kings 15:30",) which was at the twentieth year of his age, but from the beginning of his reign alone.

4. Some affirm that Hezekiah was not the natural, but only the legal son and successor of Ahaz; for the name of son is given in Scripture to such persons; as 1 Chronicles 3:16, compared with 2 Kings 24:17 Matthew 1:12, compared with Jeremiah 22:30; and to adopted sons, Acts 7:21 Hebrews 11:24; and to sons-in-law, 1 Samuel 24:16 26:17 Luke 3:23. Any of these solutions are far more credible to any man of common prudence, than that these sacred books, whose Divine original hath been so fully evidenced both by God and men, are but the fictions and contrivances of a base impostor. And if none of these solutions were sufficient, it is absurd to conclude that a true resolution cannot be found because it is not yet found; because it is manifest, that many difficulties, both in Scripture and in the arts, which were formerly judged insoluble, have been cleared in later times; and therefore we may justly expect the resolution of other difficulties, which may be thought not yet fully explained. Abi, or Abijah, 2 Chronicles 29:1.

Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign,.... Now as Ahaz his father began to reign at twenty, and reigned sixteen, he must die at thirty six; so that this son of his must be born to him when at eleven years of age, for only so many years there be between twenty five and thirty six, which may seem wonderful; but, as Grotius observes, Hezekiah had now entered into the twenty fifth year, and he might be just turned of twenty four, and so his father might be twelve years of age at his birth: besides, as it is usual for the divine historian to take away or add the incomplete years of kings, Ahaz might be near twenty one when he began to reign, and might reign almost seventeen, which makes the age of Ahaz to be about thirty eight; and Hezekiah being but little more than twenty four, at his death there were thirteen or near fourteen years difference in their age, and which was an age that need not be thought incredible for begetting of children. Bochart (f) and others (g) have given many instances of children begotten by persons under that age, even at ten years of age (h): four years after his birth, the famous city of Rome began to be founded (i), A. M. 3256, and before Christ 748, as commonly received, though it is highly probable it was of a more early date; according to Dionysius Halicarnassensis, it was founded in the first year of the seventh Olympaid, in the times of Ahaz, A. M. 3118 (k):

and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem; so that he reigned twenty three years or more after the captivity of the ten tribes:

his mother's name also was Abi the daughter of Zachariah; perhaps the daughter of the same that was taken by Isaiah for a witness, Isaiah 8:3 who very probably was a very good woman, and took care to give her son a religious education, though he had so wicked a father.

(f) Ep. Carbonell. tom. 1. oper. p. 920. (g) Vid. Hieronymi Opera, tam. 3. Ep. Vital. fol. 25. C. (h) T. Bab. Avodah Zarah, fol. 44. 1.((i) Usser. Annal. p. 86, 87. (k) Vid. Breithaupt. Not. in Hist. Gorion. Heb. l. 5. c. 1.

Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
2. His mother’s name also was Abi] R.V. And his mother’s name was Abi. In Chronicles the name is given as Abijah.

Verse 2. - Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign (on the difficulties connected with this statement, and the best mode of meeting them, see the comment upon 2 Kings 16:1); and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. So Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:3. § 1), and the author of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 29:1). He reigned fourteen years before his severe illness, and fifteen afterwards. His mother's name also was Abi. Abi, "my father," is scarcely a possible name. We must, therefore, correct Kings by Chronicles, and regard her true name as Abijah, which menus "Jehovah is my father" (compare "Abiel"). The daughter of Zachariah. Perhaps the Zechariah of Isaiah 8:2. 2 Kings 18:2Length and character of Hezekiah's reign.

(Note: On comparing the account of Hezekiah's reign given in our books (2 Kings 18-20) with that in 2 Chronicles 29-32, the different plans of these two historical works are at once apparent. The prophetic author of our books first of all describes quite briefly the character of the king's reign (2 Kings 18:1-8), and then gives an elaborate description of the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib and of his attempt to get Jerusalem into his power, together with the destruction of the proud Assyrian force and Sennacherib's hasty return to Nineveh and death (2 Kings 18:13-19, 2 Kings 18:37); and finally, he also gives a circumstantial account of Hezekiah's illness and recovery, and also of the arrival of the Babylonian embassy in Jerusalem, and of Hezekiah's conduct on that occasion (2 Kings 20). The chronicler, on the other hand, has fixed his chief attention upon the religious reformation carried out by Hezekiah, and therefore first of all describes most elaborately the purification of the temple from all idolatrous abominations, the restoration of the Jehovah-cultus and the feast of passover, to which Hezekiah invited all the people, not only the subjects of his own kingdom, but the remnant of the ten tribes also (2 Chronicles 29-31); and then simply gives in 2 Kings 32 the most summary account of the attack made by Sennacherib upon Jerusalem and the destruction of his army, of the sickness and recovery of Hezekiah, and of his great riches, the Babylonian embassy being touched upon in only the most casual manner. The historical character of the elaborate accounts given in the Chronicles of Hezekiah's reform of worship and his celebration of the passover, which Thenius follows De Wette and Gramberg in throwing doubt upon, has been most successfully defended by Bertheau as well as others. - On the disputed question, in what year of Hezekiah's reign the solemn passover instituted by him fell, see the thorough discussion of it by C. P. Caspari (Beitrr. z. Einleit. in d. B. Jesaia, pp. 109ff.), and our Commentary on the Chronicles, which has yet to appear.)

2 Kings 18:1, 2 Kings 18:2. In the third year of Hoshea of Israel, Hezekiah became king over Judah, when he was twenty-five years old. According to 2 Kings 18:9, 2 Kings 18:10, the fourth and sixth years of Hezekiah corresponded to the seventh and ninth of Hoshea; consequently his first year apparently ran parallel to the fourth of Hoshea, so that Josephus (Ant. ix. 13, 1) represents him as having ascended the throne in the fourth year of Hoshea's reign. But there is no necessity for this alteration. If we assume that the commencement of his reign took place towards the close of the third year of Hoshea, the fourth and sixth years of his reign coincided for the most part with the sixth and ninth years of Hoshea's reign. The name הזקיּה or הזקיּהוּ (2 Kings 18:9, 2 Kings 18:13, etc.) is given in its complete form יהזקיּהוּ, "whom Jehovah strengthens," in 2 Chronicles 29ff. and Isaiah 1:1; and והזקיּה in Hosea 1:1 and Micah 1:1. On his age when he ascended the throne, see the Comm. on 2 Kings 16:2. The name of his mother, אבי, is a strongly contracted form of אבי (2 Chronicles 29:1).

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