Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dating issue in 2 Chronicles 16.1

 1 & 2 Chronicles (NIV Application Commentary)
 The date formula ("theirty-sixth year of Asa's reign," 16:1) is problematic because according to 1 Kings 15:33 and 16:8, King Baasha is already dead.  Williamson's proposal for the harmonization of the data proves as helpful as any of the several options offered by commentators.  He suggests that the day formulas in 15:19 ("the thirty-fith year of Asa's reign") and 16:1 ("the thirty-sxth year...") actually refer to the split of the monarch.  This means these two date formulas correspond to the fifteenth and sixteenth years of Kings Asa' reign.  --Williamson, 1 and 2 Chronicles (NCBC), p. 255-28

The Bible Knowledge Commentary
16:1. In Asa’s 36th year he was confronted by Baasha, king of Israel, who built a fortress at the Israel-Judah border at Ramah, about six miles north of Jerusalem. Baasha’s purpose was to prevent further movement of Israelites south to Judah. A problem surfaces here in that the dates of Baasha (909–886 B.C.; cf. 1 Kings 15:33) necessitate his death 10 years before the 36th year of Asa. This has led some scholars to conclude that the 35th year (2 Chron. 15:19) refers to the 35th year of the kingdom of Judah since its division from Israel in 931 B.C. This would be 896 B.C. But this is unlikely for the 35th year of the kingdom would hardly be called “the 35th year of Asa’s reign.” More likely is the suggestion that the numbers may rest on a copyist’s misreading of Hebrew figures whereby 35th (15:19) and 36th (16:1) may have been misread for 15th and 16th. This would push the date of the events of chapter 16 back to 895, within Baasha’s reign.
 ---Eugene H. Merrill, “2 Chronicles,” ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 632.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

2 Chronicles 16

War with Baasha, and the weakness of Asa's faith. The end of his reign. - 2 Chronicles 16:1-6. Baasha's invasion of Judah, and Asa's prayer for help to the kingof Syria. The statement, “In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa,Baasha the king of Israel came up against Judah,” is inaccurate, or rathercannot possibly be correct; for, according to 1 Kings 16:8, 1 Kings 16:10, Baasha diedin the twenty-sixth year of Asa's reign, and his successor Elah wasmurdered by Zimri in the second year of his reign, i.e., in the twenty-seventh year of Asa. The older commentators, for the most part, acceptedthe conjecture that the thirty-fifth year (in 2 Chronicles 15:19) is to bereckoned from the commencement of the kingdom of Judah; andconsequently, since Asa became king in the twentieth year of the kingdomof Judah, that Baasha's invasion occurred in the sixteenth year of his reign,and that the land had enjoyed peace till his fifteenth year; cf. Ramb. ad h. l.; des Vignoles, Chronol. i. p. 299. This is in substance correct; but the statement, “in the thirty-sixth year of Asa's kingship,” cannot re reconciled with it. For even if we suppose that the author of the Chronicle derived his information from an authority which reckoned from the rise of the kingdom of Judah, yet it could not have been said on that authority, אסא למלכוּת. This only the author of the Chronicle can have written; but then he cannot also have taken over the statement, “in the thirty-sixth year,” unaltered from his authority into his book. There remains therefore no alternative but to regard the text as erroneous - the letters ל (30) and י (10), which are somewhat similar in the ancient Hebrew characters, having been interchanged by a copyist; and hence the numbers 35 and 36 have arisen out of the original 15 and 16. By this alteration all difficulties are removed, and all the statements of the Chronicle as to Asa's reign are harmonized. During the first ten years there was peace (2 Chronicles 14:1); thereafter, in the eleventh year, the inroad of the Cushites; and after the victory over them there was the continuation of the Cultus reform, and rest until the fifteenth year, in which the renewal of the covenant took place (2 Chronicles 15:19, cf. with 2 Chronicles 15:10); and in the sixteenth year the war with Baasha arose.
---Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 16:1". 1854-1889.

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