This article was originally published many years ago on the old KingsCalendar website under the title Who was Hezekiah’s Father? Jotham or Ahaz? and some of the issues discussed on this page were touched upon on this new website in an article titled Bible History Error: Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezkiah of Judah.
Just about everything to do with King Hezekiah of Judah is interesting and perplexing, because Bible chronology for that period of time (745BC to 701 BC) is, to put it into the vernacular, ‘completely screwed up.’ Every man and his dog has tried to figure out the chronology of events for this period of time, and everyone comes up with different results.
If you are new to the Kingscalendar research you should not proceed with this article until you read ‘What is the King’s Calendar?‘ The King’s Calendar operates on the premise that the chronological records contained in the Bible are artificial and that the Old Testament records are a reliable and trustworthy history of Israel.
1. Who was Hezekiah’s Father?
According to 2 Kings 15:33 King Jotham was 25 years of age when he commenced to reign and reigned 16 years. A total age of 41 years. 2 Kings 16:2 states that Ahaz was 20 years old when he commenced to reign, and reigned 16 years, a total of 36 years. According to 2 Kings 18:2, Hezekiah was 25 years old when he commenced to reign, reigning 29 years to the age of 54 years.
Since Hezekiah’s first year commences in 714 BC, [justified in the abovementioned articles], backdating the personal data from 714 BC, reveals an interesting situation.
By the standard of the King’s Calendar, Hezekiah was born in 737/36 BC during Jotham’s 7th/8th regnal year at which time Ahaz was only eleven/twelve years of age, and Jotham was thirty/thirty-one years of age. Therefore Ahaz was not Hezekiah’s father. Ahaz was either Jotham’s son or brother.
The Prophecy of Hezekiah’s Birth Isaiah 7:1 and 7:10-16
Verse 1 – And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it; but could not prevail against it. (This is historically incorrect)
Verse 10 – And the LORD spoke again unto Ahaz, saying
Verse 14 – Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel
For the Isaianic prophecy (Isaiah 7:10-16) to relate to Judean oppression at the hands of Rezin and Pekah, the prophecy was given to Jotham, not Ahaz, and it must be dated prior to 737 BC for it to relate to Hezekiah’s birth.
Note that this is before the current date set for The Syro-Ephraimitic War (734-732 BC). See The Syro-Ephraimitic War.
Also Note that at the time Hezekiah was born Jotham was 32 years of age, but only if the reference to his age is calculated from his sole and independent reign. Many would argue that he was 25 when he commenced his co-regency. (Refer to 2 Kings 15:32 and 2 Chronicles 27:1)
The Redactorial Error: Misidentifying Kings
In an article on the Old Kingscalendar Website relating to 8th Century BC History of the Middle East, the biblical narratives were displayed to reveal the following inconsistences:
1. That both Jotham and Ahaz are named as the Victims of Rezin and Pekah
2. That Rezin and Pekah Did and Did Not Conquer Ahaz.
3. That Tiglath-Pileser Did and Did Not Hearken to Ahaz.
4. That Rezin and Pekah acted in Unison, and yet separately on their own.
When one just glosses over the narrative these inconsistencies are easy to miss, but I would challenge you to go to the article and check the narrative inconsistences out. Also read Biblical Chronology and Hezekiah a Problem of History.
The contention of the King’s Calendar is that the redactors confused the Hebrew names of Jotham (Jehoahaz ie. JHHZ), Ahaz (Ahaziah ie. HZH) and Hezekiah (ie. HZKH).
Whilst only speculation, the significance of the prophecy announcing Hezekiah’s birth may be tied up with 2 Chronicles 28:7 in which it is specifically stated that Pekah of Israel killed Ahaz’ son Maaseiah – this should of course read ‘Jotham’s son Maaseiah.’
If Ahaz was Jotham’s brother and Jotham’s son had been killed, then Jotham had no heir other than Ahaz. So the prophecy was reassurance that an heir would be provided.
Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the ‘child born of a young woman of marriageable age,’ was given very shortly after Pekah and Rezin teamed up. Isaiah Chapter Seven Verse one appears to be a summary introducing the story. Verse two links Isaiah’s prophecy to the initial discovery of the conspiracy; “When the house of David was told, ‘Syria is in league with Ephraim.'”
Verse fourteen provides the promise of a child, ‘A young woman shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel,’ and verse sixteen indicates the time span before the downfall of the two kings, ‘For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.’
Certainly by 732 BC when Hezekiah was five years old, Damascus was in ruins, and by the age of sixteen years, so too was Samaria (722 BC).
1. Jotham and Ahaz were brothers
2. Jotham’s son was dead
3. A prophecy of an heir was given
4. Hezekiah was the son of Jotham not Ahaz
Pertinent Kingscalendar files:
2. Hezekiah’s Illness and Healing – and – Merodach Baladan
This section of this article was first published many years ago in an article titled Biblical Chronology and Hezekiah a Problem of History and has been reedited.
As a student of Bible History or just the history of the Ancient Near East, you may remember that when King Hezekiah of Judah was dying he was visited by the Prophet Isaiah who announced (Isaiah 38:5) that God would extend his life by fifteen (15) years.
The question in this section is not whether God healed him and lengthened his life but whether firstly that God would tell him how much life he had left and secondly whether that extended life amounted to 15 years.
I’m not saying that Hezekiah was not healed by God, only that I doubt very much that God would actually tell him how much time he had left. What is most probable is that the later redactors simply calculated how much extra time he lived, and just filled in the blank. The problem is, did they get it right?
The books of Kings and Chronicles were composed or collated from a host of documents and were not put into their present form until about three centuries after the time of Hezekiah.
That period in history from the time of King Uzziah to the time of Hezekiah contains quite a lot of confusing chronological material, and no one has quite figured it all out yet. Most scholars simply dispense with what the Bible says, and do what they do best – ‘Make it up as they go.’
The King’s Calendar: The Secret of Qumran, (What is the King’s Calendar) which successfully synchronises all the chronological material for the Divided Kingdom Period using an artificial calendrical construct, has no real problem with this time period at all.
When you just follow the Biblical chronological details without reading the Narrative text, it becomes quite clear that the redactors confused the identities of three successive kings. This is not exactly a difficult thing to do in Hebrew, especially when the records at hand seem confused.
King Uzziah’s son Jotham, who is usually written off by academics as not actually having had his own independent reign, is, according to the King’s Calendar, the Jehoahaz recorded in Ancient Assyrian Records as having paid tribute to Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria. Modern scholars have assumed that Jehoahaz must have been the full name of King Ahaz, whose proper name in all probability, was Ahaziah. Then of course there is the problem of King Hezekiah.
Did ancient writers three centuries after the fact mix up the names of these kings? When you study ‘just the chronology’ contained in the Bible for this period of history, it definitely appears that they did.
Where all the problems come from
The Bible tells us that King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah in the 14th year of Hezekiah, and all historians agree that this happened in 701 BC. Therefore Hezekiah started ruling in 715/714 BC right? Sounds simple enough!
But the Bible also tells us that when King Hoshea of Samaria (Israel) lost his country to the Assyrians, King Hezekiah was in his 6th year of reign. Since Samaria fell in 722 BC, that means that Hezekiah commenced his reign in 727/728 BC. Starting to get the picture?
This problem is dissolved by historians by saying that Hezekiah must have been co-reigning with his father Ahaz. But that doesn’t solve the problem because there is the matter of the Syro-Ephraimitic War to consider. This war commenced because Samaria (Israel) and Syria were attacking Judah, and the King of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser III, had to sort it all out. This occurred between 734 and 732 BC.
According to the Bible, King Hoshea, the one who lost Samaria in 722 BC, only reigned 9 years, and commenced in the 12th year of Ahaz. So the kingdom was lost in 722 BC and tracing back the nine years of Hoshea brings us to 731 BC which the Bible makes clear was the 12th year of Ahaz which means that he commenced in 743 BC.
Now we have another problem because according to Assyrian records, Tiglath-Pileser, in his third year of reign (743 BC.) invaded Samaria / Israel, and took tribute from King Menehem. This seems not to be a problem until you also consider that Menehem died in the 49th year of King Uzziah of Judah’s 52 year reign – which means that King Ahaz of Judah had to have commenced his reign three years before King Uzziah died.
This also would not be a problem except that the Bible tells us that King Uzziah’s son Jotham reigned for reigned for 16 years prior to King Ahaz.
The only way to make these kings fit together is if we remove one of them – King Jotham. That too might even be considered right to do except that the Biblical Narratives concerning the Syro-Ephraimitic War provides two different accounts of what happened during that war.
In one account, Tiglath-Pileser listened to King Ahaz’ appeal for help, and in the other, he didn’t.
What the King’s Calendar seems to indicate is that while someone jumbled up the names of the Kings of Judah, the chronological details are in fact correct. The only problem that the King’s Calendar sees is that the Biblical narrative reads Ahaz (Ahaziah) where it should read Jotham (Jehoahaz) and where it records Hezekiah reigning at the time of King Hoshea of Samaria, it should in fact read King Ahaz.
According the Bible Synchronisms, as seen through the King’s Calendar computer generated reconstruction:
1. King Uzziah died before April of 742 BC
2. King Jotham reigned until the end of 728 BC
3. Jotham was the King of Judah during the Syro-Ephraimitic War
4. King Ahaz reigned from 727 to early 714 BC – and –
5. King Hezekiah commenced his reign at the same time that King Sargon commenced his Ashdod Campaign (714-712 BC)
So what about Hezekiah’s healing?
The story of Hezekiah’s healing can be found In Isaiah Chapters 38 and 39 and these chapters should be read in conjunction with 2 Kings Chapters 18 & 19
The salient points are: Isaiah Chapter 38:1-6
In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city. [No mention of the Assyrian king’s name]
Isaiah Chapter 39:1 – 7
At that time Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
The Bible makes it appear that the timing of Hezekiah’s illness and healing, coincides with Sennacherib’s invasion in 701 BC during Hezekiah’s 14th yea but King Merodach Baladan was overthrown in 710 BC. (although he did regain power for a few months in 703 BC) So clearly Hezekiah was healed prior to 710BC or at least by 703 BC.
It would appear that a redactor writing three hundred years after the event, believing that Hezekiah was healed in 701 BC, calculated how much longer he lived and recorded that figure as being out of the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah. He made a mistake. He confused the two invasions of Assyrian kings, and assumed that the healing took place in 701 BC. If Hezekiah was healed in 710BC, then his extended life amounted to twenty-five years, not fifteen.
It may even be possible that the original records read that Hezekiah lived a further 25 years but that this was changed by the redactors who calculated that he could not have lived more than 15 years.
Nothing for this time period is simple.
As you may have begun to see, nothing during this time period is simple – except the chronology. It is precisely because everyone has relied on the narrative rather than the chronology, that no one has been able to sort out the problems without resorting to removing Jotham as king or assigning Hezekiah a long co-regency or in some other way explain away the problems.
The King’s Calendar relies only on the chronological details WITHIN an artificial construct and from that perspective all that is written in the Biblical narrative makes sense.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and have taken something from it.
Other articles you might like to read on the old site: