When did Baasha die? - BibelCenter [apparent] contradictions
When did Baasha die?
von Wolfgang Schneider

1 Kings 16:6-8 – Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned … In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.
2 Chronicles 16:1 – In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.

When comparing these two records as we can read them in the Authorized Version, it appears as if Baasha was campaigning against Judah at a time when he supposedly had been dead and buried for already 10 years. This is obviously an impossibility, therefore there must be something wrong either in the translation somewhere or else in our understanding of certain terms.

From reading the two sections of Scripture it seems that everything is clear and can easily be understood, there is really no possibility of a misunderstanding as such, except if there is something beneath the surface in terms of a translation problem. And indeed, the solution to this difficulty is found by considering the original text and the translation more closely. The word for "reign" in 1 Kings 16 is the Hebrew word malak and it refers to the act of "reigning". The word translated "reign" in 2 Chronicles 16 however is in the Hebrew the word malchooth which really means "kingdom". There are two different words used i nthe Hebrew text, which gives us the key to a correct understanding of what these verses are speaking about. The word malak is used for the actual act of "reigning", wheras the word malchooth refers to "kingdom".

2 Chronicles 16:1 speaks of the 36th year of the kingdom of Ahaziah, which is a reference to the so called northern kingdom, the kingdom of Israel. This kingdom had come into existence 36 years prior to this when under Rehoboam a split between Judah and Israel occurred and the kingdom became divided. Now, Baasha came up against Judah in the 16th year of his own reign, which was also the 26th year of Asa's reign over Israel.

WIth a careful consideration of the Hebrew text and a more accurate translation, the apparent contradiction is solved.

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Copyright © 2009 by Wolfgang Schneider
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Last changed: 10.02.2009