2 Chronicles 29-31
New English Translation
Hezekiah Consecrates the Temple
29 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother[a] was Abijah,[b] the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done.[c]
3 In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the Lord’s temple and repaired them. 4 He brought in the priests and Levites and assembled them in the square on the east side. 5 He said to them: “Listen to me, you Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, so you can consecrate the temple of the Lord God of your ancestors.[d] Remove from the sanctuary what is ceremonially unclean. 6 For our fathers were unfaithful; they did what is evil in the sight of[e] the Lord our God and abandoned him. They turned away[f] from the Lord’s dwelling place and rejected him.[g] 7 They closed the doors of the temple porch and put out the lamps; they did not offer incense or burnt sacrifices in the sanctuary of the God of Israel. 8 The Lord was angry at Judah and Jerusalem and made them an appalling object of horror at which people hiss out their scorn,[h] as you can see with your own eyes. 9 Look, our fathers died violently[i] and our sons, daughters, and wives were carried off[j] because of this. 10 Now I intend[k] to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, so that he may relent from his raging anger.[l] 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him,[m] to be his ministers,[n] and offer sacrifices.”[o]
12 The following Levites prepared to carry out the king’s orders:[p]
From the Kohathites: Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah;
from the Merarites: Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel;
from the Gershonites: Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah;
13 from the descendants of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel;
from the descendants of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah;
14 from the descendants of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei;
from the descendants of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 They assembled their brothers and consecrated themselves. Then they went in to purify the Lord’s temple, just as the king had ordered, in accordance with the word[q] of the Lord. 16 The priests then entered the Lord’s temple to purify it; they brought out to the courtyard of the Lord’s temple every ceremonially unclean thing they discovered inside.[r] The Levites took them out to the Kidron Valley. 17 On the first day of the first month they began consecrating; by the eighth day of the month they reached the porch of the Lord’s temple.[s] For eight more days they consecrated the Lord’s temple. On the sixteenth day of the first month they were finished. 18 They went to King Hezekiah and said: “We have purified the entire temple of the Lord, including the altar of burnt sacrifice and all its equipment, and the table for the Bread of the Presence and all its equipment. 19 We have prepared and consecrated all the items that King Ahaz removed during his reign when he acted unfaithfully. They are in front of the altar of the Lord.”
20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah assembled the city officials and went up to the Lord’s temple. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and Judah.[t] The king[u] told the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer burnt sacrifices on the altar of the Lord. 22 They slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and splashed it on the altar. Then they slaughtered the rams and splashed the blood on the altar; next they slaughtered the lambs and splashed the blood on the altar. 23 Finally they brought the goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they placed their hands on them. 24 Then the priests slaughtered them. They offered their blood as a sin offering on the altar to make atonement for all Israel, because the king had decreed[v] that the burnt sacrifice and sin offering were for all Israel.
25 Hezekiah[w] stationed the Levites in the Lord’s temple with cymbals and stringed instruments just as David, Gad the king’s prophet,[x] and Nathan the prophet had ordered. (The Lord had actually given these orders through his prophets.) 26 The Levites had[y] David’s musical instruments and the priests had trumpets. 27 Hezekiah ordered the burnt sacrifice to be offered on the altar. As they began to offer the sacrifice, they also began to sing to the Lord, accompanied by the trumpets and the musical instruments of King David of Israel. 28 The entire assembly worshiped, as the singers sang and the trumpeters played. They continued until the burnt sacrifice was completed.
29 When the sacrifices were completed, the king and all who were with him bowed down and worshiped. 30 King Hezekiah and the officials told the Levites to praise the Lord, using the psalms[z] of David and Asaph the prophet.[aa] So they joyfully offered praise and bowed down and worshiped. 31 Hezekiah said, “Now you have consecrated yourselves[ab] to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings[ac] to the Lord’s temple.” So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and whoever desired to do so[ad] brought burnt sacrifices.
32 The assembly brought a total of 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs as burnt sacrifices to the Lord,[ae] 33 and 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep[af] were consecrated. 34 But there were not enough priests to skin all the animals,[ag] so their brothers, the Levites, helped them until the work was finished and the priests could consecrate themselves. (The Levites had been more conscientious about consecrating themselves than the priests.)[ah] 35 There was a large number of burnt sacrifices, as well as fat from the peace offerings and drink offerings that accompanied the burnt sacrifices. So the service of the Lord’s temple was reinstituted.[ai] 36 Hezekiah and all the people were happy about what God had done[aj] for them,[ak] for it had been done quickly.[al]
Hezekiah Observes the Passover
30 Hezekiah sent messages throughout Israel and Judah; he even wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, summoning them to come to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem and observe a Passover celebration for the Lord God of Israel. 2 The king, his officials, and the entire assembly in Jerusalem decided to observe the Passover in the second month. 3 They were unable to observe it at the regular[am] time because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. 4 The proposal seemed appropriate to[an] the king and the entire assembly. 5 So they sent an edict[ao] throughout Israel from Beer Sheba to Dan, summoning the people[ap] to come and observe a Passover for the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they had not observed it on a nationwide scale as prescribed in the law.[aq] 6 Messengers[ar] delivered the letters from the king and his officials throughout Israel and Judah.
This royal edict read:[as] “O Israelites, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so he may return[at] to you who have been spared from the kings of Assyria.[au] 7 Don’t be like your fathers and brothers who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their ancestors,[av] provoking him to destroy them,[aw] as you can see. 8 Now, don’t be stubborn[ax] like your fathers. Submit[ay] to the Lord and come to his sanctuary which he has permanently consecrated. Serve the Lord your God so that he might relent from his raging anger.[az] 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and sons will be shown mercy by their captors and return to this land. The Lord your God is merciful and compassionate; he will not reject you[ba] if you return to him.”
10 The messengers journeyed from city to city through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun, but people mocked and ridiculed them.[bb] 11 But some men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 In Judah God moved the people to unite[bc] and carry out the edict of the king and the officers in keeping with the Lord’s message. 13 A huge crowd assembled in Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.[bd] 14 They removed the altars in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.[be]
15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed, so they consecrated themselves and brought burnt sacrifices to the Lord’s temple. 16 They stood at their posts according to the regulations outlined in the law of Moses, the man of God. The priests were splashing the blood as the Levites handed it to them.[bf] 17 Because many in the assembly had not consecrated themselves, the Levites slaughtered[bg] the Passover lambs of all who were ceremonially unclean and could not consecrate their sacrifice to the Lord.[bh] 18 The majority of the many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun were ceremonially unclean, yet they ate the Passover in violation of what is prescribed in the law.[bi] For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: “May the Lord, who is good, forgive[bj] 19 everyone who has determined to follow God,[bk] the Lord God of his ancestors, even if he is not ceremonially clean according to the standards of the temple.”[bl] 20 The Lord responded favorably[bm] to Hezekiah and forgave[bn] the people.
21 The Israelites who were in Jerusalem observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. The Levites and priests were praising the Lord every day with all their might.[bo] 22 Hezekiah expressed his appreciation to all the Levites,[bp] who demonstrated great skill in serving the Lord.[bq] They feasted for the seven days of the festival,[br] and were making peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their ancestors.
23 The entire assembly then decided to celebrate for seven more days; so they joyfully celebrated for seven more days. 24 King Hezekiah of Judah supplied 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep[bs] for the assembly, while the officials supplied them[bt] with 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. Many priests consecrated themselves. 25 The celebration included[bu] the entire assembly of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the entire assembly of those who came from Israel, the resident foreigners[bv] who came from the land of Israel, and those who were residents of Judah. 26 There was a great celebration in Jerusalem, unlike anything that had occurred in Jerusalem since the time of King Solomon son of David of Israel.[bw] 27 The priests and Levites got up and pronounced blessings on the people. The Lord responded favorably to them[bx] as their prayers reached his holy dwelling place in heaven.
31 When all this was over, the Israelites[by] who were in the cities of Judah went out and smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and demolished[bz] all the high places and altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh.[ca] Then all the Israelites returned to their own homes in their cities.[cb]
The People Contribute to the Temple
2 Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and Levites to do their assigned tasks[cc]—to offer burnt sacrifices and present offerings and to serve, give thanks, and offer praise in the gates of the Lord’s sanctuary.[cd]
3 The king contributed[ce] some of what he owned for burnt sacrifices, including the morning and evening burnt sacrifices and the burnt sacrifices made on Sabbaths, new moon festivals, and at other appointed times prescribed[cf] in the law of the Lord. 4 He ordered[cg] the people living in Jerusalem to contribute the portion prescribed for the priests and Levites so they might be obedient[ch] to the law of the Lord. 5 When the edict was issued,[ci] the Israelites freely contributed[cj] the initial portion of their grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a tenth of everything, which added up to a huge amount. 6 The Israelites and people of Judah[ck] who lived in the cities of Judah also contributed a tenth of their cattle and sheep, as well as a tenth of the holy items consecrated to the Lord their God. They brought them and placed them in many heaps.[cl] 7 In the third month they began piling their contributions in heaps[cm] and finished in the seventh month. 8 When Hezekiah and the officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the Lord and pronounced blessings on his people Israel.[cn]
9 When Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps, 10 Azariah, the head priest from the family of Zadok, said to him, “Since the contributions began arriving in the Lord’s temple, we have had plenty to eat and have a large quantity left over. For the Lord has blessed his people, and this large amount remains.” 11 Hezekiah ordered that storerooms be prepared in the Lord’s temple. When this was done,[co] 12 they brought in the contributions, tithes,[cp] and consecrated items that had been offered.[cq] Konaniah, a Levite, was in charge of all this, assisted by his brother Shimei. 13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah worked under the supervision of Konaniah and his brother Shimei, as directed by King Hezekiah and Azariah, the supervisor of God’s temple.
14 Kore son of Imnah, a Levite and the guard on the east side, was in charge of the voluntary offerings made to God and disbursed the contributions made to the Lord and the consecrated items. 15 In the cities of the priests, Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah faithfully assisted him in making disbursements to their fellow priests[cr] according to their divisions, regardless of age.[cs] 16 They made disbursements to all the males three years old and up who were listed in the genealogical records—to all who would enter the Lord’s temple to serve on a daily basis and fulfill their duties as assigned to their divisions.[ct] 17 They made disbursements to the priests listed in the genealogical records by their families, and to the Levites twenty years old and up, according to their duties as assigned to their divisions, 18 and to all the infants, wives, sons, and daughters of the entire assembly listed in the genealogical records, for they faithfully consecrated themselves. 19 As for the descendants of Aaron, the priests who lived in the outskirts of all their cities,[cu] men were assigned[cv] to disburse portions to every male among the priests and to every Levite listed in the genealogical records.
20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah. He did what the Lord his God considered good and right and faithful. 21 He wholeheartedly and successfully reinstituted service in God’s temple and obedience to the law, in order to follow his God.[cw]
- 2 Chronicles 29:1 tn Heb “the name of his mother.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:1 tn The parallel passage in 2 Kgs 18:2 has “Abi.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:2 tn Heb “he did what was proper in the eyes of the Lord, according to all which David his father had done.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:5 tn Heb “fathers.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:6 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:6 tn Heb “turned their faces.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:6 tn Heb “and turned the back.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:8 tn Heb “and he made them [an object] of dread and devastation and hissing.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:9 tn Heb “fell by the sword.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:9 tn Heb “are in captivity.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:10 tn Heb “now it is with my heart.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:10 tn Heb “so that the rage of his anger might turn from us.” The jussive with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose/result after the preceding statement of intention.
- 2 Chronicles 29:11 tn That is, to conduct the religious rituals directed to the Lord.
- 2 Chronicles 29:11 tn That is, to be his ministers for the nation.
- 2 Chronicles 29:11 tn Heb “ones who cause [sacrifices] to go up in smoke.” The Hiphil form of קָטַר (qatar) can refer specifically to offering incense (e.g. 2 Chr 26:19; 32:12), but it may also be a general word for making sacrifices (e.g. 1 Chr 6:49). If it refers to burning incense, then the altar of incense in the Holy place of the tabernacle may be in view. Otherwise it is more general (they sacrifice animals later in this chapter, 2 Chr 29:21-24) and includes making sacrifices as well as offering incense.
- 2 Chronicles 29:12 tn Heb “and the Levites arose.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:15 tn Heb “words” (plural).
- 2 Chronicles 29:16 tn Heb “in the temple of the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:17 tn Heb “porch of the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:21 sn Perhaps these terms refer metonymically to the royal court, the priests and Levites, and the people, respectively.
- 2 Chronicles 29:21 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Chronicles 29:24 tn Heb “said.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:25 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Hezekiah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Chronicles 29:25 tn Or “seer.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:26 tn Heb “stood with” (i.e., stood holding).
- 2 Chronicles 29:30 tn Heb “with the words.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:30 tn Or “seer.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:31 tn Heb “filled your hand.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:31 tn Or “tokens of thanks.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:31 tn Heb “and all who were willing of heart.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:32 tn Heb “and the number of burnt sacrifices which the assembly brought was seventy bulls, one hundred rams, two hundred lambs; for a burnt sacrifice to the Lord were all these.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:33 tn The Hebrew term צֹאן (tsoʾn) denotes smaller livestock in general; depending on context it can refer to sheep only or goats only, but there is nothing in the immediate context here to specify one or the other.
- 2 Chronicles 29:34 tn Heb “the burnt sacrifices.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:34 tn Heb “for the Levites were more pure of heart to consecrate themselves than the priests.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:35 tn Or “established.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:36 tn Heb “prepared.”
- 2 Chronicles 29:36 tn Heb “the people.” The pronoun “them” has been used here for stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy.
- 2 Chronicles 29:36 tn Heb “for quickly was the matter.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:3 tn Heb “at that time.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:4 tn Heb “and the thing was proper in the eyes of.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:5 tn Heb “and they caused to stand a word to cause a voice to pass through.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:5 tn The words “summoning the people” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons, with the summons being the "voice" that passed throughout Israel.
- 2 Chronicles 30:5 tn Heb “because not for abundance had they done as written.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:6 tn Heb “the runners.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:6 tn Heb “and according to the command of the king, saying.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:6 tn The jussive with vav conjunctive indicates purpose/result after the preceding imperative.
- 2 Chronicles 30:6 tn Heb “to the survivors who are left to you from the palm of the kings of Assyria.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:7 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 19, 22).
- 2 Chronicles 30:7 tn Heb “and he made them a devastation” (or, perhaps, “an object of horror”).
- 2 Chronicles 30:8 tn Heb “don’t stiffen your neck” (a Hebrew idiom for being stubborn).
- 2 Chronicles 30:8 tn Heb “give a hand.” On the meaning of the idiom here, see HALOT 387 s.v. I יָד 2.
- 2 Chronicles 30:8 tn Heb “so that the rage of his anger might turn from you.” The jussive with vav conjunctive indicates purpose/result after the preceding imperative.
- 2 Chronicles 30:9 tn Heb “turn [his] face from you.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:10 tn Heb “and they were mocking them and ridiculing them.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:12 tn Heb “the hand of God was [such as] to give them one heart.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:13 tn The Hebrew text adds here, “a very large assembly.” This has not been translated to avoid redundancy with the expression “a huge crowd” at the beginning of the verse.
- 2 Chronicles 30:14 tn Heb “and they arose and removed the altars which were in Jerusalem, and all the incense altars they removed and threw into the Kidron Valley.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:16 tn Heb “from the hand of the Levites.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:17 tn Heb “were over the slaughter of.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:17 tn Heb “of everyone not pure to consecrate to the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:18 tn Heb “without what is written.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:18 tn Heb “make atonement for.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:19 tn Heb “everyone [who] has prepared his heart to seek God.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:19 tn Heb “and not according to the purification of the holy place.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:20 tn Heb “listened.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:20 tn Heb “healed.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:21 tn Heb “and they were praising the Lord day by day, the Levites and the priests with instruments of strength to the Lord.” The phrase בִּכְלֵי־עֹז (bikhle ʿoz, “with instruments of strength”) might refer to loud sounding musical instruments (NASB “with loud instruments”; NEB “with unrestrained fervour”). The present translation assumes an emendation to בְּכָל־עֹז (bekhol ʿoz, “with all strength”); see 1 Chr 13:8, as well as HALOT 805 s.v. I עֹז and BDB 739 s.v. עֹז).
- 2 Chronicles 30:22 tn Heb “and Hezekiah spoke to the heart of all the Levites.” On the meaning of the idiom “speak to the heart of” here, see HALOT 210 s.v. II דבר 8.d.
- 2 Chronicles 30:22 tn Heb “who demonstrated skill [with] good skill for the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:22 tn Heb “and they ate [during] the appointed time [for] seven days.” מוֹעֵד (moʿed, “appointed time”) is probably an adverbial accusative of time referring to the festival. However, some understand it as metonymically referring to the food eaten during the festival. See BDB 417 s.v.
- 2 Chronicles 30:24 tn The Hebrew term צֹאן (tsoʾn, translated “sheep” twice in this verse) denotes smaller livestock in general; depending on context it can refer to sheep only or goats only, but there is nothing in the immediate context here to specify one or the other.
- 2 Chronicles 30:24 tn Heb “the assembly.” The pronoun “them” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy.
- 2 Chronicles 30:25 tn Heb “they rejoiced.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:25 sn The term גֵּר (ger) refers to a foreign resident, but with different social implications in different settings. In Mosaic Law the resident foreigner was essentially a naturalized citizen and convert to worshiping the God of Israel (see Exod 12:19, 48; Deut 29:10-13). Here the term refers to those who had immigrated (or fled as refugees) from the conquered northern kingdom as well as those already residents of the southern kingdom of Judah.
- 2 Chronicles 30:26 tn Heb “and there was great joy in Jerusalem, for from the days of Solomon son of David, king of Israel, there was nothing like this in Jerusalem.”
- 2 Chronicles 30:27 tn Heb “and it was heard with their voice.” BDB 1034 s.v. שָׁמַע Niph.4 interprets this to mean “hearing was granted to their voice.” It is possible that the name יְהוָה (yehvah, “the Lord”) has been accidentally omitted.
- 2 Chronicles 31:1 tn Heb “all Israel.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:1 tn Or “tore down.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:1 tn Heb “the high places and the altars from all Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and in Manasseh until finished.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:1 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel returned, each to his possession to their cities.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:2 tn Heb “and Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites according to their divisions, each in accordance with his service for the priests and for the Levites.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:2 tn Heb “in the gates of the encampments of the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:3 tn Heb “the portion of the king [was].”
- 2 Chronicles 31:3 tn Heb “festivals, as written.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:4 tn Heb “said to.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:4 tn Heb “might hold firmly.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:5 tn Heb “and when the word spread out.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:5 tn Heb “the sons of Israel multiplied.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:6 tn Heb “and the sons of Israel and Judah.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:6 tn Heb “heaps, heaps.” Repetition of the noun draws attention to the large number of heaps.
- 2 Chronicles 31:7 tn Heb “they began the heaps to establish.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:8 tn Heb “they blessed the Lord and his people Israel.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:11 tn Heb “and they prepared.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:12 tn Heb “tenth.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:12 tn Heb “and holy things in faithfulness.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:15 tn Heb “to their brothers.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:15 tn Heb “like great, like small” (i.e., old and young alike).
- 2 Chronicles 31:16 tn Heb “in addition enrolling them by males from a son of three years and upwards, to everyone who enters the house of the Lord for a matter of a day in its day, for their service by their duties according to their divisions.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:19 tn Heb “the priests in the fields of the pastureland of their cities in every city and city.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:19 tn Heb “designated by names.”
- 2 Chronicles 31:21 tn Heb “and in all the work which he began with regard to the service of the house of God and with respect to the law and with respect to the commandment, to seek his God; with all his heart he acted and he succeeded.”