2 Chronicles 22:2 Commentary - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole
Forty and two years old was Ahaziah.
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 1Sa 13:1, See Poole "1Sa 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, 1Ki 16:23; Ahab his son reigned twenty-two years, 1Ki 16:29; Ahaziah his son two years, 1Ki 22:51; Joram his son twelve years, 2Ki 3:1; all which, put together, make up exactly these forty-two years; for Ahaziah began his reign in Joram’s twelfth year, 2Ki 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, 2Ch 16:1, See Poole "2Ch 16:1". And so we have an account of the person’s age in 2Ki 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.
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English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole
Matthew Poole (1624–1679) wrote English Annotations on the Holy Bible, completing the chapters as far as Isaiah 58 before his death in 1679. The rest of the Annotations were completed by friends and colleagues among his Nonconformist brethren. The first printing of the completed edition was in 1685, 2 volumes folio, followed by editions in 1688, 1696 (with valuable chapter outlines added by the editors, Samuel Clark and Edward Veale), and the 4th and definitive edition in 1700, the basis of all others.