I don't quite understand how Hezekiah relates chronologically to Shalmaneser.

In Kings Chapter 18, it says that Sennacherib attacked Judah in the 14th year of Hezekiah. So, if this occurred in 701 BC, then Hezekiah would have become king in approximately 715 BC. In the same chapter it says that Shalmaneser attacked Israel in the 4th year of Hezekiah and captured Samaria 3 years later, so those events would have been in approximately 711 BC and 708 BC, respectively.

Thus, that would mean that Shalmaneser was king of Assyria at least until 708 BC. Since in Sennacherib's Prism, it says that his campaign against Israel and Judah was his third. Thus, there can be at most 4 years between Shalmaneser and Sennacherib.

However, between Shalmaneser and Sennacherib ruled Sargon, mentioned in Isaiah, and Sargon is well attested to have ruled approximately 16 years. So, how can we have a reign of Sargon lasting 16 years, when according to Kings, there appear to be only 4 years separating Shalmaneser (who preceded Sargon) and Sennacherib, Sargon's son who was his successor?

1 Answer 1


Here is my attempt at listing the chronology of the period. Dates of Assyrian kings are taken from Wikipedia.

Date Judean Kings Kings of Assyria
732 BC Hoshea becomes king and reigns for 9 years, 2 Kings 17:1
745 BC Tiglath-Pileser III king of Assyria
729 BC Hezekiah appointed co-regent with Ahaz in 3rd year of Hosea, 2 Kings 18:1. He reigns for 43 years - 29 years as monarch
727 BC Shalmeneser V king of Assyria
724 BC Salmanesser V besieges Samaria, 2 Kings 18:9
722 BC End of Northern Kingdom of Israel, 2 Kings 18:10 Sargon II king of Assyria
715 BC Hezekiah monarch for 29 years at 25 years old, death of Ahaz, 2 Kings 18:2
705 BC Sennacherib king of Assyria
701 BC Hezekiah’s illness, 2 Kings 18:13 Jerusalem threatened by Sennacherib
700 BC? Hezekiah visited by envoys from Babylon’s government in exile
687 BC? Sennacherib’s second campaign in Judea
696 BC Manesseh (12 years old) appointed co-regent with Hezekiah, 2 Kings 21:1
686 BC Manesseh monarch for 45 years at death of Hezekiah
681 BC Sennacherib assassinated; Esarhaddon becomes king of Assyria

This appears to fit all the historical and Biblical data.

  • So, the idea is that Hezekiah became co-regent at age 11 with his father and is thus given 14 extra years of rule and Shalmaneser's attack is dated relative to his co-regency, rather than to the regency of Ahaz. Furthermore, when it says in Kings that Hezekiah ruled for 29 years, it means only that he ruled ALONE for 29 years, but altogether he ruled for 43 years including the co-regency. This seems strange because in 2 Kings 16 it says that Hezekiah succeeded Ahaz as king on his death, which would be a strange statement to make if he was already king. May 1, 2022 at 15:07
  • A further problem with this idea is that in 2 Kings 17, it says that Hoshea became king of Israel in the 12th year of Ahaz. Therefore, the attack of Shalmaneser would have happened when Ahaz was still alive. However, in Kings the attack of Shalmaneser is dated by the years of Hoshea and Hezekiah, not Ahaz. Why would they date the reign of Hoshea relative to Ahaz, but then date the fall of Israel to the adolescent Hezekiah, rather than to Ahaz who would have been alive and still king at that point? It seems incongruous. May 1, 2022 at 15:12
  • @TylerDurden - If you do not accept co-regencies, then OK, but that is what the data above suggests. Why not proffer an answer of your own?
    – Dottard
    May 1, 2022 at 22:14
  • Well, I don't know the answer, that's why I asked. I understand the reasoning of the co-regencies and after your post I found a paper about it, but it seems like an artificial idea which is not supported by the texts (as I explained in my comments above). Also, the scriptures don't ever mention co-regencies, which they probably would have if they had happened. I suspect some mistake or mistakes have been made somewhere, but I don't know what that mistake is. I also notice that in some cases there are minor 1-year errors in Kings which indicates the author was not using his sources right. May 1, 2022 at 22:47
  • @TylerDurden - look carefully at all the reigns of the kings of Judah - most we co-regencies such as: Asa with Jehoshaphat; Jehoshaphat with Jehoram; Amaziah with Uzziah; Uzziah with Jotham; Jotham with Ahaz; Ahaz with Hezekiah, etc. This is fairly easy to work out given the synchonisms with the reigns of the northern kingdom.
    – Dottard
    May 1, 2022 at 22:51

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