How Long Did Jehoiachin Rule Over Jerusalem? 2 Kg 24, 2 Chr 36

Are 2 Kings 24:8 vs 2 Chronicles 36:9 contradictory about how long Jehoiachin reigned. Learn the solution to this alleged contradiction.
Bible "contradictions"
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Quick Answer

Here are two possible solutions:

  1. 2 Kings 24:8 is rounding to three months, while 2 Chronicles 36:9 is a more exact number.
  2. There was a copyist error.

The argument

Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning how long Jehoiachin ruled over Jerusalem. 2 Kings 24:8 says that Jehoiachin ruled for three months, and 2 Chronicles 36:9 says that he ruled for three months and ten days. Here are the relevant passages.

Jehoiachin ruled for three months

2 Kings 24:8 - Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

Jehoiachin ruled for three months and ten days

2 Chronicles 36:9 - Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord.

The solution

There are at least two possible solutions to this alleged contradiction.

  1. 2 Kings 24:8 is rounding to three months, while 2 Chronicles 36:9 is a more exact number.
  2. There was a copyist error.

1. 2 Kings 24:8 is rounding to three months, while 2 Chronicles 36:9 is a more exact number

It is very likely that 2 Kings 24:8 is simply rounding to the nearest month, while 2 Chronicles 36:9 is using a more exact number. Different people provide statistics in different ways.

The numbers given in the two verses are close enough that this is a very reasonable explanation for the seeming discrepancy.

2. There was a copyist error

Since Old Testament manuscripts were copied by hand, fatigued copyists could make mistakes in copying the manuscript they were working on. The Hebrew characters for three months and three months and ten days are extremely similar—only one small mark differentiates them, so it is understandable that a scribe may have made a mistake here.

Conclusion

That there are two reasonable explanations for this seeming contradiction demonstrates that there is no necessary contradiction betweeh 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

"I don't buy that explanation"

Some people have trouble accepting possible explanations to alleged contradictions in the Bible, especially ones that they consider a stretch. For example, Dan Barker, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says this:

I have received numerous replies from Christians who think that these contradictions are either trivial or easily explained. Yet not a single "explanation" has been convincing.

Fact vs Opinion

The fact is that there are plausible explanations for every alleged contradiction in the Bible. That there is a plausible explanation for an alleged contradiction does not mean that it is definitely the correct explanation for the alleged contradiction.

However, as long as a possible explanation has been suggested, then it has been objectively demonstrated that there is no necessary contradiction regarding the Bible verses and passages brought up.

When people like Dan Barker say that they don't find a particular explanation for a contradiction "convincing," then that is merely their opinion. A plausible explanation has been suggested that eliminates the necessary alleged contradiction. They simply don't like it, which is not at all a relevant argument against the explanation.

Additional Resources

To read more about solutions to Bible contradictions and difficulties, check out Norman Geisler's The Big Book of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation. While we do not agree with some of Geisler's theology, particularly concerning his view of predestination, this book is still an excellent resource. It is thorough and filled with research.

Another book to check out is Tim Chaffey's Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions: Exploring Forty Alleged Contraditions, which also answers many alleged contradictions in the Bible.

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