When reading the Bible, I always try to pay attention to the footnotes. Depending on the translation and type of Bible you’re reading, you might not have footnotes. For example, the only King James Bible translations I know that have footnotes are study Bibles. While footnotes can be helpful, I confess that I’m less likely to read printed footnotes over digital footnotes. In the YouVersion application, the “footnotes” are easily accessible. They don’t hinder my reading flow, like having to navigate to the bottom of a page and find the right note in printed form.

While reading 2 Chronicles today, I encountered a footnote for this verse.

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 36:9 (NIV)

Footnote: “One Hebrew manuscript, some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also 2 Kings 24:8); most Hebrew manuscripts eight” (NIV).

If you’re like me, when you see something like this footnote, you do as I did. You’ll investigate it.

This footnote informs us that Jehoiachin might have been eight years old when he became king. In fact, the King James Bible and many others state Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king. To exacerbate the issue, these same translations also tell us he was eighteen when he became king, as seen here.

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

2 Kings 24:8 (KJV)

Part of my investigatory process is reading commentaries. I typically do this after I’ve checked different translations of a verse, depending on what I’m investigating. I noticed in this investigation that many of the commentators thought there was an error in 2 Chronicles 36:9 and that the correct age was eighteen, not eight. Unlike many of these esteemed commentators, I’ve not been studying the Bible for many years, and I’m not a pastor or preacher. Yet, I don’t believe there is a contradiction here. After all, this is the Bible, and God doesn’t contradict himself.

There are a couple of explanations for the “discrepancy” in 2 Chronicles 36:9 and 2 Kings 24:8.

Jehoiachin was established as a co-regent with his father Jehoiakim before Jehoiakim was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. This is why 2 Chronicles 36:9 reports that Jehoiachin was eight years old. He was eight when he started reigning with his father. Coregency in troubled times isn’t a new idea in the Bible. When David wanted to secure his throne for Solomon, he established him as king while he was still living.

When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.

1 Chronicles 23:1 (NIV)

In the case of Asa and his son Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat took Asa’s place as king when Asa was no longer fit to rule.

Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place and strengthened himself against Israel.

2 Chronicles 17:1 (ESV)

Another possibility deals with the fact that the years of kings mentioned in Scripture don’t always account for the beginning of their age but from some other event that was remarkable. In this case, Judah was in the 8th year of Babylonian bondage. We see this type of recording of time throughout the Bible. See Ezekiel 1:2, Ezekiel 33:21, and Ezekiel 40:1, where the time is measured from the event of being exiled.

On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin (emphasis added).

Ezekiel 1:2 (NIV)

In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” (emphasis added)

Ezekiel 33:21 (NIV)

In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city—on that very day the hand of the Lord was on me and he took me there (emphasis added).

Ezekiel 40:1 (NIV)

This marking of time might seem odd to us, but it shouldn’t because we do it ourselves. There are events in our lives that stand out, and we think about the time since that event. They can be good things like being saved or bad things like catastrophic life-changing injuries.

Something I’ve learned is that there is always an explanation for any apparent contradiction in the Bible, but that explanation is never that God is wrong. Even if I can’t find any explanation, my go-to answer will be that the fault lies with me and my understanding.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.