WAS JEHOIACHIN 18 OR 8 WHEN HE BECAME KING OF ISRAEL AND DID HE RULE FOR 3 MONTHS OR 3 MONTHS AND 10 DAYS?
2 KINGS 24:8 VS 2 CHR 36:9
[2 Kings 24:8 KJV]:
"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 Chron 36:9 KJV, cf. NKJV, NASB, AV, YLT]:
"Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD."
The more recent NIV has it differently based on manuscript evidence and an examination of that evidence on a case by case basis:
[2 Chron 36:9 NIV, cf. HOLMAN]:
"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."
Manuscript evidence when correctly examined ON A CASE BY CASE BASIS and not on the basis of favoring the majority of one type manuscript over another due to the false presupposition that one type is always more reliable than another no matter what, will provide the best rendering of what the original text was. This process must be accompanied by the use of normative rules of language, (in this case the original Hebrew), and the rest of the H.I.C.E.E method of interpretation which is the self-evident method to be used with the words of God's Word:
This procedure for interpreting/translating the words of God's Word from available manuscript evidence and from the best rendering into English leads in this case to the conclusion that Jehoiachin was 18 and not 8 - a matter of the omission of one Hebrew character. So the correct rendering for 2 Chr 36:9 is 18 as rendered in the more recent NIV and HOLMAN versions. Manuscript evidence supports this: one Hebrew manuscript, a number of Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac show 18 years. Furthermore, 2 Kgs 24:9 is a description of an older man rather than a young boy. For the fact that the Chaldeans condemned him to prison in 597 B.C., indicates that they considered him to be a responsible adult.
Consider this succinct statement re: this matter from THE NEW SCOFIELD STUDY BIBLE, NIV, Editor: C. I. Scofield, Oxford Univ. Press, 1984, pp. 414-5:
"In copying manuscripts, mistakes in numbers sometimes occur. Many disagreements between numbers in Samuel and Kings, and those in Chronicles, are alleged. Actually, out of the approximately 150 instances of parallel numbers in these books, fewer than one-sixth disagree. In two cases a different number is given for the age of a king at his accession (cp. 2 Chr. 22:2... with 2 Ki 8:26 and 2 Chr 36:9... with 2 Ki 24:8); in the other thirteen cases of this type, numbers agree. Certain disagreements are very small (cp. 1 Chr 21:5, as to Judah, with 2 Sam 24:9; 2 Chr 2:2, 17-18 with 1 Ki 5:15-16; and 2 Chr 8:18 with 1 Ki 9:28). Sometimes the apparent discrepancy disappears on careful study (cp. 1 Chr 21:25 with 2 Sam 24:24; 2 Chr 3:4 with 1 Ki 6:2).
When numbers seem clearly to disagree, it is generally best to keep an open mind unless evidence is available on which to make a decision one way or the other.
God gave us a Bible free from error in the original manuscripts. In its preservation through many generations of recopying, he providentially kept it from serious error, although He permitted a few scribal mistakes.
The small proportion of numbers where there is a disagreement testifies to the scrupulous care with which Bible manuscripts were copied. That there are some divergences should warn us to compare Scripture with Scripture and always to recognize the danger of overemphsizing any isolated passage."
Furthermore, although Jehoiachin may have ruled for precisely 3 months and 10 days, it is nevertheless accurately reported in 2 Kgs 24:8 that his rule lasted 3 months as well without having to note the 10 days, as the author's intent evident throughout 1 & 2 Kings was not to chronicle an accounting ledger but simply to stay within a range of years or months where applicable.
This is of course within the rules of normative language: How much did you pay for that car? Ans: 15,000. (Actually 15,097.08 + TTL and interest, less trade in).
The books of 1 & 2 Kings reflect a more general attitude toward numbers than does 1 & 2 Chronicles, which tends to be more specific. So an interpretative approach which demands precision where none is intended, in order to be totally consistent, might even contend that 1 Chronicles is not precise enough since it was not precisely stated to the hour. But on the other hand, one must work within the particular author's intentions within the particular book as to whether there is a contradiction or error. Did not Jehoiachin rule for 3 months?: Ans: Yes. ...3 months and 10 days: Ans: Yes again.
Many who claim error or contradiction have an unrealistic view of precisely what the original Bible was and is. The following studies should shed some light on the matter:
THE BIBLE: IT'S AUTHENTICITY AND RELIABILITY AND INERANCY
THE ORIGINAL BIBLE