Ahaz - a Young Father

“Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.” (2 Kings 16:2 NKJV) “Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king.” (2 Kings 18:1 NKJV)

 

Ahaz became the father of Hezekiah when Ahaz was TEN or ELEVEN years old.

·      Ahaz was 20 when he began to reign, and reigned for 16 years, which indicates that he ceased reigning when he was only 36. Yet his son Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to reign, which indicates that Ahaz became the father of Hezekiah when Ahaz was 11 years old.

  • The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states, “This makes Hezekiah to have been born when his father was extremely young. He ascended the throne at twenty-five. Ahaz had done so at twenty. Add to this a little more than fourteen years (say fifteen) for his reign. Thus his whole life must have been but thirty-five years; so that his son, according to this chronology, must have been born when Ahaz was ten years of age.”[1]

 

ERROR IN THE TEXT?

The idea that a man could be a father at age 11 is so difficult for some that many assume an error in the text.

  • The Wycliffe Bible Commentary states, “Ahaz would, then, have been twenty-three years old, and Hezekiah would have been twelve, which would make Ahaz eleven when Hezekiah was born, and that is too young.”[2]
  • Barnes Commentary states, “Its improbability is so great, that most commentators suggest a corruption in some of the numbers.”[3]
  • The New American Commentary states, “Montgomery and Gehman date Hezekiah’s era as 725–696 BC and state that the “fourteenth year” in 2 Kings 18:13 “may be a scribal miswriting of ‘24,’ … Perhaps R. Hubbard’s comments on the text are the fairest way to address the matter: ‘At present, the best solution is to concede that the problem lies in the synchronisms with Hoshea. It is possible that their dates are correct but calculated by some principles not clear to us.”[4]
  • The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states “This date can hardly be right.”[5]

 

DIFFERENT AGE?

Many think that Ahaz was older when he became the father of Hezekiah:

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  • Ahaz at 13 – Matthew Poole states, “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.”[6]
  • Ahaz at 14 - The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary states, “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.”[7]
  • Ahaz at 15 - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary states, “He must have been only fifteen years old when his son Hezekiah was born.”[8] The Expositors Bibles states, “This, however, is practically impossible consistently with the dates that Ahaz reigned sixteen years and became king at the age of twenty, for it would then follow that Hezekiah was born when his father was a mere boy—and this, although Hezekiah does not seem to have been the eldest son; for Ahaz had burnt “his son,” and, according to the Chronicler, more than one son, to propitiate Moloch. Probably Hezekiah was a boy of fifteen when he began to reign. The chronology of his reign of twenty-nine years is, unhappily, much confused.”[9]
  • Ahaz at 16 - The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary states, “The reading found in the LXX, Syriac, and Arabic at 2 Chronicles 28:1, and also in certain codices, viz., five and twenty instead of twenty, may therefore be a preferable one. According to this, Hezekiah, like Ahaz, was born in his father's sixteenth year.”[10]

 

CO-REGENT WITH HIS FATHER JOTHAM?

Others suggest that the dates may be adjusted because of an alleged co-regency between Ahaz and his father Jotham.

  • “The Apologetics Study Bible” states, “Became king,” that is, when his co-regency ended and he became king in his own right. Hezekiah reigned 29 years, until 686 b.c.[11]
  • The KJV Bible Commentary states, “If he came to the throne in the third year of Hoshea, he evidently was a co-regent with his father Ahaz.” [12]
  • John MacArthur states, “The 29 years given here indicate only those years after his co-regency with Ahaz was over, when he was the actual sovereign[14]
  • The Wycliffe Bible Commentary states, “It becomes clear that the age twenty at which Ahaz is said to have come to the throne was his age at the beginning of his coregency with Jotham. The statement that he reigned sixteen years must refer to the period of his independent reign.”[15]
  • John Wesley wrote, “It is not certain that Ahaz lived only thirty six years, for those sixteen years which he reigned, may be computed, not from the first beginning of his reign, when he reigned with his father; which was at the twentieth year of his age, but from the beginning of his reigning alone.”[16]

·      The Bible Knowledge Commentary states, “Evidently Hezekiah reigned as coregent with his father Ahaz for 14 years (729-715 BC)”[13]

However, there is no mention in the Biblical text of a co-regency between Ahaz and his father Jotham, although Jotham did have a co-regency with his own father Uzziah/Azariah.

 

VERY YOUNG FATHERS

Although many have difficulty with the idea that a man could become a father at such a young age, there have been multiple reports of men becoming fathers at this age and even YOUNGER: