Did Thiele Overlook Hezekiah’s Coregency? -- By: Leslie McFall

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 146:584 (Oct 1989)
Article: Did Thiele Overlook Hezekiah’s Coregency?
Author: Leslie McFall


Did Thiele Overlook Hezekiah’s Coregency?

Leslie McFall

Fellow, Tyndale House
Cambridge, England

Edwin R. Thiele’s work on the chronology of the kings of Israel and Judah has deservedly become the standard work for this period of Israel’s history.1 His meticulous research convinced him that the Hebrew text was written from contemporary documents, with one exception—2 Kings 17–18. His strongly argued conclusion is that while these two chapters are based on contemporary documents, they are “the work of some individual who lived many years after these events took place—long after the Northern Kingdom had come to its end and at a time when all memory as to the exact relationships between Israel and Judah at the important period when the Northern Kingdom was approaching its end had been lost.”2

His research also convinced him that the Hebrew text had been transmitted without the alteration or corruption of one single numeral.3 He claims that the original text of 2 Kings 17–18 had

built-in errors and yet was faithfully transmitted without any attempt to correct those manifest blunders.4

Despite this one exception Thiele’s work has restored the biblical student’s confidence in the text of the Hebrew Bible to a degree never before achieved except in the precritical period of the Reformation. This is his lasting legacy to biblical scholarship in general and to biblical chronologists in particular.

Thiele’s view of 2 Kings 17–18 seems oddly out of place when set against his confidence in the integrity of the Hebrew text and his belief in the contemporaneity of the written report, namely, that the present text was written on the basis of contemporary written documents or national diaries.5

If it can be demonstrated that 2 Kings 17–18 is not an exception to the method employed throughout 1 and 2 Kings, then complete confidence can be restored regarding the entire account of Israel’s kings without any qualification or reserve.

The Problem

Thiele was aware that Jotham of Judah and Pekah of Israel coincidentally began their respective coregencies in the year 751/50 and that again coincidentally they began their respective ...

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