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Contemporary English Version (CEV)
31 After the Festival, the people went to every town in Judah and smashed the stone images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred poles[a] for worshiping the goddess Asherah. They destroyed all the local shrines[b] and foreign altars in Judah, as well as those in the territories of Benjamin, Ephraim, and West Manasseh. Then everyone went home.
2 Hezekiah divided the priests and Levites into groups, according to their duties. Then he assigned them the responsibilities of offering sacrifices to please the Lord[c] and sacrifices to ask his blessing.[d] He also appointed people to serve at the temple and to sing praises at the temple gates. 3 Hezekiah provided animals from his own herds and flocks to use for the morning and evening sacrifices, as well as for the sacrifices during the Sabbath celebrations, the New Moon Festivals, and the other religious feasts required by the Law of the Lord.
4 He told the people of Jerusalem to bring the offerings that were to be given to the priests and Levites, so that they would have time to serve the Lord with their work. 5 As soon as the people heard what the king wanted, they brought a tenth of everything they owned, including their best grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and other crops. 6 The people from the other towns of Judah brought a tenth of their herds and flocks, as well as a tenth of anything they had dedicated to the Lord. 7 The people started bringing their offerings to Jerusalem in the third month,[e] and the last ones arrived four months later. 8 When Hezekiah and his officials saw these offerings, they thanked the Lord and the people.
9 Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the large amount of offerings. 10 The high priest at the time was Azariah, a descendant of Zadok, and he replied, “Ever since the people have been bringing us their offerings, we have had more than enough food and supplies. The Lord has certainly blessed his people. Look at how much is left over!”
11 So the king gave orders for storerooms to be built in the temple, and when they were completed, 12-13 all the extra offerings were taken there. Hezekiah and Azariah then appointed Conaniah the Levite to be in charge of these storerooms. His brother Shimei was his assistant, and the following Levites worked with them: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. 14 Kore son of Imnah was assigned to guard the East Gate, and he was put in charge of receiving the offerings voluntarily given to God and of dividing them among the priests and Levites. 15-16 He had six assistants who were responsible for seeing that all the priests in the other towns of Judah also got their share of these offerings. They were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah.
Every priest and every Levite over thirty[f] years old who worked daily in the temple received part of these offerings, according to their duties. 17 The priests were listed in the official records by clans, and the Levites twenty years old and older were listed by their duties. 18 The official records also included their wives and children, because they had also been faithful in keeping themselves clean and acceptable to serve the Lord.
19 Hezekiah also appointed other men to take food and supplies to the priests and Levites whose homes were in the pastureland around the towns of Judah. But the priests had to be descendants of Aaron, and the Levites had to be listed in the official records.
20-21 Everything Hezekiah did while he was king of Judah, including what he did for the temple in Jerusalem, was right and good. He was a successful king, because he obeyed the Lord God with all his heart.
32 After King Hezekiah had faithfully obeyed the Lord’s instructions by doing these things, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He attacked the fortified cities and thought he would capture every one of them.
2 As soon as Hezekiah learned that Sennacherib was planning to attack Jerusalem, 3-4 he and his officials worked out a plan to cut off the supply of water outside the city, so that the Assyrians would have no water when they came to attack. The officials got together a large work force that stopped up the springs and streams near Jerusalem.
5 Hezekiah also had workers repair the broken sections of the city wall. Then they built defense towers and an outer wall to help protect the one already there. The landfill on the east side of David’s City was also strengthened.
He gave orders to make a large supply of weapons and shields, 6 and he appointed army commanders over the troops. Then he gathered the troops together in the open area in front of the city gate and said to them:
7 Be brave and confident! There’s no reason to be afraid of King Sennacherib and his powerful army. We are much more powerful, 8 because the Lord our God fights on our side. The Assyrians must rely on human power alone.
These words encouraged the army of Judah.
9 When Sennacherib and his troops were camped at the town of Lachish, he sent a message to Hezekiah and the people in Jerusalem. It said:
10 I am King Sennacherib of Assyria, and I have Jerusalem surrounded. Do you think you can survive my attack? 11 Hezekiah your king is telling you that the Lord your God will save you from me. But he is lying, and you’ll die of hunger and thirst. 12 Didn’t Hezekiah tear down all except one of the Lord’s altars and places of worship?[g] And didn’t he tell you people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship at that one place?
13 You’ve heard what my ancestors and I have done to other nations. Were the gods of those nations able to defend their land against us? 14 None of those gods kept their people safe from the kings of Assyria. Do you really think your God can do any better? 15 Don’t be fooled by Hezekiah! No god of any nation has ever been able to stand up to Assyria. Believe me, your God cannot keep you safe!
16 The Assyrian officials said terrible things about the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah. 17 Sennacherib’s letter even made fun of the Lord. It said, “The gods of other nations could not save their people from Assyria’s army, and neither will the God that Hezekiah worships.” 18 The officials said all these things in Hebrew, so that everyone listening from the city wall would understand and be terrified and surrender. 19 The officials talked about the Lord God as if he were nothing but an ordinary god or an idol that someone had made.
20 Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz asked the Lord for help, 21 and he sent an angel that killed every soldier and commander in the Assyrian camp.
Sennacherib returned to Assyria, completely disgraced. Then one day he went into the temple of his god where some of his sons killed him.
22 The Lord rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from Sennacherib and also protected them from other enemies. 23 People brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord and expensive gifts for Hezekiah, and from that day on, every nation on earth respected Hezekiah.
24 About this same time, Hezekiah got sick and was almost dead. He prayed, and the Lord gave him a sign that he would recover. 25 But Hezekiah was so proud that he refused to thank the Lord for everything he had done for him. This made the Lord angry, and he punished Hezekiah and the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Hezekiah and the people later felt sorry and asked the Lord to forgive them. So the Lord did not punish them as long as Hezekiah was king.
27 Hezekiah was very rich, and everyone respected him. He built special rooms to store the silver, the gold, the precious stones and spices, the shields, and the other valuable possessions. 28 Storehouses were also built for his supply of grain, wine, and olive oil; barns were built for his cattle, and pens were put up for his sheep. 29 God made Hezekiah extremely rich, so he bought even more sheep, goats, and cattle. And he built towns where he could keep all these animals.
30 It was Hezekiah who built a tunnel that carried the water from Gihon Spring into the city of Jerusalem. In fact, everything he did was successful! 31 Even when the leaders of Babylonia sent messengers to ask Hezekiah about the sign God had given him, God let Hezekiah give his own answer to test him and to see if he would remain faithful.
32 Everything else Hezekiah did while he was king, including how faithful he was to the Lord, is included in the records kept by Isaiah the prophet. These are written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 When Hezekiah died, he was buried in the section of the royal tombs that was reserved for the most respected kings,[h] and everyone in Judah and Jerusalem honored him. His son Manasseh then became king.