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30 1-5 Since the people could not gather in Jerusalem immediately and since not enough priests were sanctified in time to celebrate the Passover holiday during the first month of his reign, Hezekiah, the leaders, and the people of Jerusalem decided to celebrate during the second month.

After restoring the temple, Hezekiah’s first opportunity to celebrate Israel’s renewed connection with God is Passover.

So he decided to send word to everyone—from Beersheba in the far south to Dan in the far north—to come to the Eternal’s temple in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover honoring the Eternal One, True God of Israel. Until Hezekiah, Judah had not celebrated as frequently as they should have.

So messengers carried letters written by the king and his leaders throughout the kingdoms.

Hezekiah’s Letter: People of Israel, return to the ways of the Eternal One, True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and He will return to those of you who escaped the conquering kings of Assyria to follow Him. Don’t be like your relatives who ignored the Eternal One, the True God of their fathers; they were destroyed and became a horrific spectacle to other nations. Do not be stubborn as they were. Obey Him, come to His sanctuary, and serve the Eternal One, your True God, so that He will not be angry with you. If you return to His ways, then your families who were exiled by the Assyrians will receive compassion and will return to their homes because the Eternal One, your True God, is gracious and compassionate and will return to you if you return to Him.

10-12 When the messengers took this message throughout the Northern Kingdom, most of the Northerners ridiculed and ignored the message. But some people from the Northern tribes of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun obeyed Hezekiah and the leaders and humbly traveled to Jerusalem just as all of the Southern Kingdom were given one mind and obeyed under the guidance of the True God via the command of the king and his officials.

13 Vast numbers of people responded to the king’s message and traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14 As part of the festivities, the people destroyed the Canaanite altars in Jerusalem and threw the incense altars into the Kidron Valley.

Having purged the city and cleansed the temple, the people are ready to celebrate.

15 They slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth of the second month.

The priests and Levites humbled themselves, sanctified themselves, and brought burnt offerings to the Eternal’s temple. 16 There they attended to their assigned duties, as Moses the follower of the True God had described, sprinkling the blood of the animals which the Levites sacrificed. 17 The Levites slaughtered the Passover lambs that were offered by the unclean people in the assembly while those who had sanctified themselves slaughtered their own lambs to the Eternal. 18 Many of the people from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves as prescribed, but they were able to eat the Passover feast because Hezekiah prayed on their behalf.

Hezekiah: Eternal One, because You are good, cover their sins for 19 everyone here who has neglected to ritually cleanse himself in order to properly enter the temple of the True God, the Eternal God of our ancestors. Everyone here wants to follow You.

20 The Eternal One heard Hezekiah’s prayer and healed them from the threat of disease for not approaching God as instructed. 21 So the Israelites who had traveled to Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days while the Levites and the priests played their instruments praising the Eternal daily. 22 Hezekiah commended the Levites who had remained faithful and prudent toward the Eternal, and everyone celebrated for seven days: feasting, sacrificing peace offerings, and offering praise to the Eternal One, True God of their ancestors.

23 Everyone decided to celebrate for another seven days, and they celebrated with joy. 24 By the time the festival ended, Hezekiah, king of the Southern Kingdom, had donated 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the leaders had donated 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep for the people to sacrifice. Also many priests had sanctified themselves. 25 Everyone in Judah rejoiced: priests, Levites, Northerners who had traveled for the festival, and Northerners who had moved to Judah permanently. 26 Nothing like this celebration had happened in Jerusalem since the reign of Solomon, son of David, so the people were joyous. 27 Finally the Levitical priests concluded the festival by blessing the people. And He heard their prayer from His sacred dwelling in heaven.

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