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Hezekiah Celebrates the Passover

30 And Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah. He even wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they come to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. The king counseled with his officials and all the assembly in Jerusalem to have the Passover in the second month. For they were not able to have it at the appropriate time of the first month because a sufficient amount of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people assembled yet in Jerusalem. And this matter was pleasing in the eyes of the king and all the assembly. So they decreed to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they come to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem, for the multitude of people did not do as it was written.

So couriers ran throughout all Israel and Judah with a letter from the hand of the king and his officials as a command from the king:

“Sons of Israel, return to the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel that He might turn to the remnant who has escaped from the king of Assyria. Do not act like your fathers and brothers who were faithless before the Lord God of their fathers, and He appointed them for horror, as you observe. So now do not harden your necks as your fathers, but give yourselves to the Lord and come to the sanctuary that He has consecrated permanently. Serve the Lord your God so that His burning anger might turn away from you all. Because if you return to the Lord, your brothers and children will find compassion before those who have taken them captive, in order to return you to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn His face from you if you all return to Him.”

10 So the couriers ran from city to city in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh and up to Zebulun, but the people laughed at them and mocked them. 11 However some men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and journeyed to Jerusalem. 12 And even in Judah the hand of God was on them to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and officials by the word of the Lord.

13 And many people assembled in Jerusalem to have the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. There was a very large assembly. 14 They went out and removed the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.

15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed, and they consecrated themselves and brought in burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood at their places according to the Law of Moses, the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood they received from the hands of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had consecrated themselves, so the Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for those who were not clean in order to consecrate the people to the Lord. 18 For a multitude of the people—many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun—had not purified themselves. For they ate of the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed over them saying, “The Lord is good, and may He pardon 19 everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, but is not pure according the rules of the holy sanctuary.” 20 So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

21 Then the sons of Israel present in Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy, and the Levites and priests praised the Lord every day, singing with loud instruments to the Lord.

22 Then Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord. So they ate for the appointed seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their fathers.

23 Then the whole assembly counseled to have the feast for another seven days, so they had seven more days of gladness. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah lifted up for the assembly one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep. And the officials offered up for the assembly one thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep. And a multitude of priests consecrated themselves. 25 So all the assembly of Judah and the priests and Levites and all the assembly who came from Israel rejoiced, even the sojourners who came from the land of Israel and those who resided in Judah. 26 And there was a great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had not been anything like this. 27 Then the priests and Levites went out and blessed the people, and their voices were heard. And their prayers came up to His holy habitation in the heavens.