2 Chronicles 22 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of 2 Chronicles 22)
In this chapter we have an account of the wicked reign of Ahaziah the son of Jehoram, 2 Chronicles 22:1 of his death, the occasion and manner of it, 2 Chronicles 22:5 and of his mother Athaliah destroying all the royal seed, excepting one, who was hid by the king's sister, and assuming the government to herself, 2 Chronicles 22:10.

Verse 1. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead,.... He being the only surviving one of the sons of Jehoram, the same with Jehoahaz, 2 Chronicles 21:17 who was saved when the rest were taken captive and slain, by his mother Athaliah, and he made his escape, and that she also escaped is clear from 2 Chronicles 22:10

for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp; that is, of the Philistines, 2 Chronicles 21:16, which band seems to be a band or company of thieves and robbers, as the Septuagint, cruel and barbarous, as the action ascribed to them shows:

[for they] had slain all the eldest; sons of Jehoram; the Philistines and Arabians only carried them away captives, but those slew them in cold blood:

so Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned; being declared his successor by the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Verse 2. 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, bm, forty two, for bk, 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.

Verse 3. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab,.... As his father Jehoram had, 2 Chronicles 21:6

for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly; to commit idolatry, who was of that idolatrous house.

Verse 4. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab,.... See 2 Kings 8:27

for they were his counsellors, after the death of his father, to his destruction; both of soul and body; for they gave him bad advice, both in religious and civil things; these were some of the family or court of the king of Israel, that his mother sent for after his father's death to be of his council.

Verses 5-6. He walked also after their counsel,.... Did as they advised him, as in matters of religion, so in political things, of which there is an instance in this and the next verse; of which
See Gill on "2Ki 8:28-29".

Verse 7. And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram,.... Of his appointing; it was according to his purpose and decree, and was brought about by his overruling Providence, ordering the occasion and manner of it very justly for his sins:

for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi; see 2 Kings 9:21,

whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab; raised up to be king of Israel for that purpose, 2 Kings 9:6, the Targum is, "whom Elijah anointed by the command of the Word of the Lord;" but it was not Elijah, but a prophet by the order of Elisha, that anointed him, 2 Kings 9:1, and this being done by direction of the Lord, is ascribed to him.

Verse 8. And it came to pass, that when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab,.... On Joram, his son, and seventy more sons, his kinsfolks, courtiers, and priests:

and found the princes of Judah, and or even the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah; whose number was forty two:

that ministered to Ahaziah; had offices in his court, or in obedience to his will, went to visit the children of the king and queen of Israel:

and he slew them; Jehu did; of the occasion, time, and place of his meeting with them, and slaying them, see 2 Kings 10:12.

Verses 9-11. And he sought Ahaziah,.... Who fled on Joram's being wounded by Jehu:

and they caught him; the soldiers of Jehu, who were sent after him, and bid to smite him:

for he was hid in Samaria; either in some part of the kingdom of Samaria, or in the city itself, whither he fled:

and brought him to Jehu: who was at Jezreel, See Gill on "2Ki 9:27",

and when they had slain him they buried him; not at Jezreel, but delivered him to his servants to carry him to Jerusalem, and there bury him in the sepulchres of his fathers, 2 Kings 9:28,

because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart; a grandson of his, and therefore out of respect to the memory of his name, these being religious men, ordered his burial there:

so the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom; his brethren and their sons being slain, and his own children being young fell into the hands of Athaliah, who murdered them all, but one, hid by his aunt, and so got the government into her own hands, as may be observed in the following verses, 2 Chronicles 22:10.