The Relationship of the Reign of Ahaz to the Accession of Hezekiah -- By: J. Barton Payne

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 126:501 (Jan 1969)
Article: The Relationship of the Reign of Ahaz to the Accession of Hezekiah
Author: J. Barton Payne

The Relationship of the Reign of Ahaz to the Accession of Hezekiah

J. Barton Payne

[J. Barton Payne, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.]

The dates to be assigned to the reign in Judah of Ahaz and his son Hezekiah, in the latter half of the eighth century B.C., remain the most problematic in the entire history of the Hebrew kingdom.1 A concensus appears to have been almost reached in respect to the parallel chronology of northern Israel, insofar as it extended into this period. E. R. Thiele’s explanation—for Pekah’s reign from 752 to 732 B.C.; and for Hoshea’s, from 732 to the fall of Samaria and of the north in 722—has been widely acclaimed.2 But for the southern kings mentioned above, Thiele’s refusal to recognize any synchronism between the reigns of Hoshea and Hezekiah, or to grant any form of accession prior to 715 B.C.,3 has undergone widespread criticism.

Evangelicals particularly insist upon the veracity of Scripture’s thrice repeated dating of Hoshea and Hezekiah in terms of each other’s reigns (2 Kings 18:1, 9–10).4 In the first edition of his book in 1951, Thiele was willing to consider these synchronisms, together with a corresponding reference in 17:1, as scribal and copyists’ errors rather than as the work of the editor of 2 Kings.5 In his revised edition, however, in

1965, he insists that the inspired autograph, as flat compiled, must have been the source of these falsehoods.6 Indeed, the very purpose of Thiele’s revision, including a new and repetitious final chapter,7 seems to be one of proving that the writing of the Scriptures “was done by men, not God…. They were not divine. God alone is infallible.”8 Little wonder that evangelicals have been less than enthusiastic, but have rather united in affirming, with 2 Kings 18:1, that if “Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign…in the third year of Hoshea,” then he must have experienced a rise to power during this particular year of 728* B.C.

Evangelicals disagree, however, upon the method of integrating their affirmation into an overall reconstruction of the...

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