How old was Jehoiachin at the time of his coronation?

In II Kings 24:8 it is written, “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign.” But, in II Chronicles 36:9 we read, “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign.”

How old was he really? Was he eight or eighteen?


Excellent question!

Commentators on these verses explain that Jehoiachin was, in fact, crowned twice. Shortly after Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim, began his reign, he (or the king of Egypt) crowned his eight-year-old son as heir to the throne, to ensure that Jehoiachin would become king after him.

Jehoiakim himself had to wrest the throne (with the help of the King of Egypt) from his younger brother, Jehoahaz. As a result, Jehoiakim wanted to ensure that his firstborn would be firmly ensconced on the throne before his own death.

When Jehoiachin was eighteen, Jehoiakim died and Jehoiachin in fact took the throne.

For further reading on the kings mentioned here please read Jehoahaz and Joiakim and Jehoiachin.

See commentaries of Radak and Malbim.