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How old would Ahaz have been when his son, Hezekiah was born? A cursory look at 2 Kings 16:1 and 18:1 suggest he may have only been eleven. (Ahaz was 20 when he became king and he reigned 16 years. So he died aged 36. Hezekiah was 25 when he became king. 36 - 25 = 11)

Would a more likely possibility have been that they were brothers - both of them sons of Jotham?

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7 Answers 7

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It is said in 2 Kings 16:20 this

20 Ahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Hezekiah his son succeeded him as king.

(Emphasis Mine)

Things were much different at that time, so it is very probable that yes, Ahaz had a son at the age of just 11.

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This is a question with much debate and theories. To resolve the answer, we must first look at events that have more trustful dates. There are 3 events that provide a more consensus date;

  1. Year of Aram and Israel joined forces to attack Jerusalem, 735BC
  2. Year of the fallen of Israel to Assyria, 722BC
  3. Year of Sennacherib besiege Jerusalem, 701BC

Let's first start with Isaiah 7:14, the sign of Messiah "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel"

This sign if only applied to Jesus 730 years later, has no implication to Ahaz at that time. Isaiah used the word "almah", which translated to "virgin", instead of the formal Hebrew word "bethulah", which has a specific reason. "almah" refers to a woman of childbearing age, but has not been married. Moreover, it has a deeper meaning of "hidden, concealed" that supposedly hasn't been met by the boys. So Isaiah prophecies to Ahaz, "I know you have a secret lover, and now she is pregnant, and she will give birth to a boy, not a girl, and God will be with him." It might have shocked Ahaz that Isaiah knew, and more likely he knew she was pregnant before Ahaz realized, and he knew it was a boy, the next King Hezekiah.

Now we look at 2 Kings 18:13 "In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them." Count backward from 701BC, Hezekiah became King in 715BC, not in compliance to 728BC (3rd year of Hoshea in 2 Kings 18:1); and by the time he was 20, not in compliance to 25 (in 2 Kings 18:2).

If the above is valid, Ahaz became King in 731BC at 20, so Isaiah met him in 735BC while he was 16. This seems to fulfill he had a young secret lover. 2 Kings 15:32 told the father of Ahaz, Jotham reigned in Jerusalem for 16 years, 2 Kings 15:30 told in the 20th year of Jotham, Hoshea assassinated Pekah and took the Israel Kingship, that we know it was 730BC.

As a devote Christian, I totally understand the stake in taking this hypothesis. However, even if I accepted the original verses completely, the verses themselves did not add up to a logical sense.

  1. 2 Kings 15:30; Hoshea took the Israel Kingship (730BC) in the 20th year of Jotham. Let's say Jotham reigned in 749BC for 16 years, Ahaz reigned in 734BC at 20; Hezekiah reigned in 728BC (2 Kings 18:1-2) at 25, that made Ahaz had Hezekiah as a son when he was one year old!
  2. If Ahaz coregent with Jotham, Ahaz died at 36 when Hezekiah was 25, made Ahaz have Hezekiah as a son when he was 11, oops!
  3. If Ahaz was coregent with Jotham, Ahaz started reigned in 743BC, by the time Pekah was in his 7th year, not in compliance to 2 Kings 16:1-2, 17th year.
  4. If Hezekiah reigned in 728BC (2 Kings 18:1), his 14th year is 715BC, by the time the Assyrian King was Sargon II (722-705BC), not Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13)

There is an intense struggle should we take every single word in the Bible infallible as it had been warned in Revelation 22:18-19, or there is a greater will of God that through a time of frequent hand coping and translations, who is capable to devote his life to know him.

May God give us wisdom in reading his book.

By the way, 2 Kings 18:7 says "And the Lord was with him (Hezekiah)...."

Recommend reference from Journal Article "The Date of Hezekiah's Birth" by John McHugh posted in JSTOR.

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I would most likely attribute the reigning dates to co-regency rather than early maturity or fatherhood.

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  • I agree with this answer, this is a relatively common practice and it would explain a lot of discrepancies in the royal dynasty dates in the books of kings and chronicles. Was going to comment the same thing. This has always been my first thought when I see such discrepancies.
    – Kevin H
    Sep 21, 2018 at 14:41
  • Co-regency would point to the son becoming king any time prior to the death of Hezekiah, which would steer the age difference in a direction contradictory to the point I think that you are trying to make. Applying co-regency to Hezekiah as the Son to Ahaz would make Ahaz even younger at the time he would have fathered Hezekiah. sometimes throughout history there have been instances where there is someone else that runs things until the son comes of age to rule, this is more likely than Co-Regency, unless this is what you mean by Co-Regency?
    – Malachi
    Jan 22, 2021 at 17:08
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According to Wikipedia, the youngest a boy ever impregnated a woman was age 9, but extremely rare and questionable (Source). At age 11, there are several instances.

But the ancients were inconsistent in how they numbered. Sometimes they began with zero, sometimes one. It could be that Ahaz was 20 but almost 21 when he began to reign (as we count age) and Hezekiah could have been just turning 24 (even turning 23 if they began counting his age with "1" instead of zero). That would mean Ahaz became a father at age 13, which is very possible. Or it could be a scribal error. A co-regency would be possible only if Ahaz was incapacitated for a while or if Hezekiah waited for Ahaz's death before reforming the nation. It is unlikely that Hezekiah could bring about the reforms he did with Ahaz sharing the throne.

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Ahaz was 20 years old when his son Hezekiah was born! Five years later Father Ahaz is 25 years old. The 25th birth date of Ahaz in Judah is the same as Hoshea of Israel's 03rd year reign. A father(Ahaz) son (Hezekiah) relationship would place son Hezekiah at the age of 05 in this year. Otherwise, the surface reading of 2Ki 18:1-3 would literally make Ahaz and Hezekiah twin brothers instead of Father Son.

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  • 1
    Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. This answer needs more work for it to be of any help. You have shared your thoughts, but not how they came about.
    – enegue
    Apr 5, 2018 at 9:26
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It looks more likely that Hezekiah was 15 years when he began to reign rather than 25. Ahaz ascended the throne at 20 years, and may have given birth to Hezekiah at 21. In that sense, Hezekiah would be 15 when his father Ahaz was 36 and died. I hasten to say however, that this deduction has no biblical accuracy. it is a mere conjecturing that makes human sense.

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  • 1
    Welcome to BH. Please see the Tour and the Help as to the purpose and the functioning of the site. I'm afraid that 'mere conjecturing' is not what we are after. This is an hermeneutic site, after all. We do need biblical accuracy so we need referenced texts to the actual evidence of the scripture.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 15, 2020 at 17:02
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I would subscribe to the possibility of a coregency, although the text doesn't point to a need for that. There's also one more possibility, that is often found; a scribal error.

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  • Welcome to BH. Please see the Tour and the Help as to the purpose and the functioning of the site.Can you substantiate, from scripture, your suggestions ?
    – Nigel J
    Jul 16, 2020 at 16:45
  • This answer is credible but could be improved with a reference or two to support it.
    – Dottard
    Jul 23, 2020 at 0:55

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