1 Chronicles 3:15 says Jehoiakim was born 2nd, Zedekiah was born 3rd, and Shallum [Jehoahaz] was born 4th.

Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king(1), and Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king 3 months later(2). So how is it that, 11 years later, Zedekiah is only 21 years old when he becomes king?(3) Shouldn't he be 35 years old, according to 1 Chronicles 3:15?

(1) See 2 Kings 23:31 and 2 Chronicles 36:2. (2) See 2 Kings 23:36 and 2 Chronicles 36:5. (3) See 2 Kings 24:18 and 2 Chronicles 36:11.

  • 1
    It is interesting that the '25 year old' age given for Jehoiakim matches the amount of time since Josiah his father would have sought God(2Chr 34:1;3).
    – user21676
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 10:54
  • Cross posting is discouraged on SE. This question is also asked (and cross-answered) here.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 16:02
  • Please mention all relevant passages, such as 2 Kings 23 & 24, or 2 Chronicles 36.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 12:45
  • The Hebrew is ambiguous (דדו, which Strong's Concordance relates to beloved, but which could also be interpreted as toddle[r]) and the Greek explicitly reads son, pointing to the Zedekiah of 1 Chronicles 3:16 rather than the one of 3:15.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


From Contradicting Bible Contradictions we find an intriguing answer. Zedekiah was a lot younger than his “position” in the line of sons of Josiah because he was actually a grandson via an affair between Jehoikim and Hamutal one of Josiah wives. So his position was immediately after his biological father Jehoikim’s position.

Zedekiah is called: son of Josiah (verse 15), but he is also called: son of Jehoiakim (verse 16). When we take this information seriously – and we do – we have to reckon with an extramarital affair. Diagram tree of verse 15 and 16 with the mothers of the princes:                                   King Josiah               ____________(spouses)________                             |                        |                       | Unknown mother     Zebidha         Hamutal ———→               |                        |                       |             extramarital son              Johanan         Jehoiakim      Jehoahaz               |       (firstborn)            (Eliakim)           (Shallum)         Zedekiah                                 |            —————————→ (Mattaniah)                                (spouse)                           Nehushta                                             |                           Jehoiachin                            (Jeconia)   1 Chronicles 3:15 says: Zedekiah was a son of Hamutal, a wife of Josiah (2 Kings 23:31 and 24:18). 1 Chronicles 3:16 says: Zedekiah was also a son of Jehoiakim. At the age of about 15 Jehoiakim begot Zedekiah by Hamutal, one of Josiah’s spouses. In fact Josiah became the grandfather of Zedekiah and could be called his father by the rule: the son of a son is a son. Hamutal named the boy Mattaniah (2 Kings 24:17), meaning: ‘Gift of God’; but Josiah called him Zedekiah, meaning: ‘God is righteous’. Zedekiah was on the list of succession (1 Chronicles 3:15), immediately after his biological father Jehoiakim. When Jehoiakim would die as king, Zedekiah was his firstborn to succeed and that gave him the unusual position on the list of succession.

  • Useful link (+1).
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 9:51
  • I see 3 problems with speculating an extramarital affair as the explanation. The first is that 1 Chronicles 3:15 does not, as stated, say Zedekiah was a son of Hamutal. The 2nd problem is assuming v.15 is a succession list. Nothing is mentioned in the verse about reigning. "Firstborn", second, third and fourth indicate that the list is the first 4 sons born to Josiah. The 3rd problem is in assuming that Zedekiah (son of Josiah) in v. 15 is the same person as Zedekiah (son of Jehoiakim) in v. 16 Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 23:03
  • Apparently the Contradicting Bible Contradictions provided a reasonable answer to the question, including the identity of Zedekiah. However, it created a new problem that if Zedekiah was son of Jehoiakim and Hamutal while Josiah was alive, Zedekiah was borne of sinful affair. Bible never hid this kind of wickedness, in Genesis 35:22, Reuben and Jacob's concubine Bilhah, in 2 Sam 16:22, Absalom and David's concubines. Leviticus 18:8 wrote: "Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife". It needs an answer why would Bible not expose Zedekiah identity, particularly he was a king. Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 14:41

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