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29 Hezekiah, son of Abijah (Zechariah’s daughter), became king when he was 25 years old and reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. He followed the Eternal, just as his ancestor David had.

He “strengthens” the relationship between God and the Southern Kingdom, just as his name implies.

Hezekiah’s first action when he began to reign was reopening and repairing the Eternal’s temple. He called all the priests and the Levites into the square east of the temple.

Hezekiah (to the Levites): Listen to me. First, you must sanctify yourselves so that you can sanctify the temple of the Eternal One, the True God of your ancestors, and remove the immoral and ungodly items that are there.

The previous generations forgot the laws of the Eternal One, our True God, and were unfaithful—abandoning the temple, ignoring Him with their backs turned, closing the doors of the front of the temple so no one else could worship there, extinguishing the temple lamps, and stopping the incense and burnt offerings to the True God of Israel. For these offenses, the Eternal has punished us, Judah and Jerusalem, as you have witnessed, with deaths, disasters, and derision. Our fathers were slaughtered in the wars with the Arameans and the Northern Kingdom, and our wives and children are still prisoners of those wars.

10 But I want to renew a covenant with the Eternal, God of Israel, and follow His ways again so that he will not continue to be angry with us. 11 Now that we have made this commitment, we must not abandon the Eternal, who expects us to be in His presence, serve Him, minister on His behalf to others, and burn incense continually.

12 Then seven Levite families sent forward representatives. From the main Levite lines: Mahath (son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah) from the Kohathites, Kish (son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel) from the sons of Merari, Joah (son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah) from the Gershonites, 13 and Shimri and Jeiel from the sons of Elizaphan. From the Levitical singers: Zechariah and Mattaniah from the sons of Asaph, 14 Jehiel and Shimei from the sons of Heman, and Shemaiah and Uzziel from the sons of Jeduthun.

15 The representatives gathered all of their kinsmen, sanctified themselves, then sanctified the Eternal’s temple as the king commanded and as the Eternal desired. 16 The priests cleansed the most holy place in the Eternal’s temple, taking every unclean thing outside into the temple courts, from where the Levites then took them to the Kidron Valley to be discarded. 17 This cleansing began on the first day of the first month and ended on the eighth day of the month, when they were finally able to enter the Eternal’s temple porch. Then they blessed the Eternal’s temple, which took eight more days and ended on the sixteenth day of the first month. 18 Then they told King Hezekiah all they had done.

Levites: We have cleansed all of the Eternal’s temple: the altar of burnt offering, the table of unleavened bread, and all of the utensils. 19 Also we have recovered and sanctified all the utensils which King Ahaz disposed of during his despicable reign. Now they, too, are at the Eternal’s altar.

20 King Hezekiah woke up early and assembled the city leaders at the Eternal’s house. 21 The men brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats as sin offerings representing the atonement of the entire kingdom, the sanctuary, and Judah. Hezekiah then ordered the priests, the sons of Aaron, to sacrifice for the Southern Kingdom’s sins on the Eternal’s altar, 22-24 slaughtering the bulls, rams, and lambs and sprinkling their blood on the altar. Then they sacrificed for the atonement of all of Israel, the North and the South, as Hezekiah requested by offering the male goats. The priests brought the goats before the king and the leaders, laid their hands on the animals, slaughtered them, and covered the altar with their blood.

Having cleansed the nation and the temple, Hezekiah prepares to celebrate.

25-26 He assigned the priests to play their trumpets and the Levites to play King David’s cymbals, harps, and lyres in the Eternal’s temple as the Eternal had commanded them to do through the words of David, Gad (David’s seer), and Nathan the prophet. 27 Then Hezekiah commanded the burnt offering be offered on the altar. During the offering, the musicians played their trumpets and David’s instruments, performing the song to the Eternal. 28 The people worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpets sounded until the burnt offering was consumed. 29 Then the king and all the people there bowed down and worshiped.

Hezekiah and the Leaders (to the Levites): 30 Sing the songs of David the king and Asaph the seer, praising the Eternal One with their lyrics.

So the Levites praised Him joyously and bowed before Him in worship.

Hezekiah (to the people): 31 Now that you have cleansed yourselves with the blood offerings, show your gratitude by bringing your sacrifices and thanksgiving and burnt offerings to the Eternal’s temple.

The people did as Hezekiah suggested, 32-33 offering 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep, and some also brought burnt offerings to the Eternal: 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs. 34 Because of the large number of offerings, the priests could not prepare all of the burnt offerings and the Levites had to help them skin the animals until all had been sacrificed and the priests had all sanctified themselves (which the Levites had already done since they were more concerned with cleansing than the priests were). 35 The quantity of the burnt offerings, the fat of the peace offerings, and the libations for the burnt offerings were enough to restore the Eternal’s temple and its practices, 36 so Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over how quickly the True God had changed the hearts of the people and brought them back to following Him.

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