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For example, King David gave his son Solomon the throne while David was still alive to keep the peace within the kingdom (1 Kings 1:30-39). It was important that the rightful heir to David’s throne be uncontested by David’s other sons (1Kings 1:5-7). Since David made his son Solomon the King of Israel, does that immediately conclude David’s 40 year reign (1 Kings 2:11), or does David’s 40 year reign conclude when David dies?

There are other instances of possible coregency in Judah’s lineage of kings. Here is another example from 2 Kings 8:16 (NIV ‘84), “In the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began his reign as king of Judah.” Do situations like this one here, as well as the aforementioned one with David and Solomon, cause an overlap between kings in the Biblical timeline? Or does a king’s successor coming to power while the previous ruler is still alive immediately end the reign of the former monarch?

This question is important to me because I find great satisfaction in working through the Biblical timeline, and, how succession of kings is understood in the Bible greatly effects the timeline’s outcome.

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  • J N Darby, on a single page within his translation of the bible, gives the history of the Kings of Judah and Israel, parallel. It is a very helpful glance at the co-incidence of Judah and Israel's monarchs.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 4, 2023 at 5:46
  • One of the best modern Chronologies is that included in many Zondervan Bibles. Overlaps are usually easy to detect because of the differences between the length of reign and the starting time of the next king compared to the previous.
    – Dottard
    Dec 4, 2023 at 11:12

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Biblical historians have devoted volumes to unraveling the timeline of biblical accounts regarding the kings of Judah and Israel. Co-regencies are one of the major problems in solving the puzzle. Here are some resources:

For the OP's secondary questions:

  1. Yes: situations like the ones you mention can cause an overlap between kings in the Biblical timeline, depending on how the timeline is constructed.

  2. No: a king’s successor coming to power while the previous ruler is still alive does not necessarily result in an immediate end the reign of the former monarch in terms of the timeline. Again, this depends on how one constructs the timeline.

No doubt these answers to not help much to clear up gray areas. But we are dealing here with human endeavors to understand things that are not clear in the scriptures. Timelines fall into the area are human responsibility, not divine inspiration.

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