In the Book of Kings, it says that Omri became king of Israel in the 31st year of Asa and ruled for 12 years, but it then says that Ahab, the son of Omri became king of Israel in the 38th year of Asa, which is only 6-7 years after Omri became king.

So, there is a discrepancy. I do not think this discrepancy can be arguing that there was a co-regency for two reasons. First of all, there is no mention of a co-regency and the general context of the Book of Kings is such that a shared throne would be worthy of mention. Also, the text specifically says that Omri died and was buried in Samaria, and his son became king in his stead (autou ant autou). Since the text specifically says that he succeeded him, it cannot be a co-regency.

Now, the Septuagint seems to say something different, that Ahab became king during the reign of Jesophat, son of Asa, not during Asa's reign. If so, why would the Masoretic text say that he became king in the 38th year of Asa?

  • There are only two discrepancies in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, and this is not among them. Unless I'm missing something, verses 23-24 and 28-29 seem to plainly answer the question.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Excellent question! The problem can be resolved, NOT by a co-regency with Omri's son, Ahab, but the co-regency with the disputed Tibni.

Following the death of king Elnah (1 Kings 16:21), Zimri "reigned" for 7 days before he suicided. The commander of the army was Omri and "the people were divided" (v21) between Tibni and Omri. A civil war lasting about 5 years ensued before Omri and his forces finally prevailed and Tibni was defeated and killed (1 Kings 16:23).

Thus, Omri became a disputed king in the 27th year of Asa (1 Kings 16:15) and undisputed (when all Israel) made him king in the 31st year of Asa (1 Kings 16:23). He died in the 38th year of Asa. This is illustrated further by the fact during the disputed reign, Omri's capital was at Tizrah (1 Kings 16:23) and shortly after his defeat of Tibni, he bought the hill of Samaria, built the city and moved his seat of power there.

Thus, Omni reigned for either 6 years or 12 years (inclusive reckoning) depending on whether you count the disputed reign or not.

  • It should seem yet necessary here to explain where the 'sixth year' of Omri's reign in Tirzah should fall, since from the 27th to 31st year would be at most five years in Tirzah.
    – user21676
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 21:59
  • @user21676 Yes, Omri also reigned in Tirzah for the 32nd year of Asa. Then Omri's last 6 years, he reigned in Samaria (Asa's 33rd-38th). It helps to see it on a chart: i.imgur.com/WGZeH1C.png Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 4:34
  • A possibility, but given the possibility that Omri was Baasha II(2Ch 16:1, Baasha I having died[1Ki 15:33]), and, 1 Kings 15:21, that he fled there in his later years(though he were buried in Samaria), it is shown to be one not perfectly obvious.
    – user21676
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 10:57
  • Omri wasn't Baasha II. 2Ch 16:1 isn't referring to Asa's 36th year as in Omri's 10th year, but rather the 36th year since the kingdom divided. You're right, it's not perfectly obvious, in fact I'd venture to say it may be impossible without charting it all on a spreadsheet. There are just too many things that have to be kept in mind and remembered. Here's a chart of the years preceding the chart in my earlier comment: i.imgur.com/bwUQPxa.png Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 6:25
  • The problem is confusing since the text specifies Omri's "reign" to BEGIN in the 31st year of Asa's reign and that the reign lasted 12 years. This, in English at least, seems to clearly signify that it last 12 years AFTER and including the 31st year of Asa's reign. That being said, the dates all line up if it's assumed that the 12 years is counted from the year that Zimri died. So it certainly seems that's what's going on. But the verbiage is strange. If that period counts in his reign, why does it say his reign started later? Is there language/cultural context that makes this natural?
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 11:59

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