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29 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. His reign was generally good in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David’s had been.

In the very first month of the first year of his reign, he reopened the doors of the Temple and repaired them. 4-5 He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the open space east of the Temple and addressed them thus:

“Listen to me, you Levites. Sanctify yourselves and sanctify the Temple of the Lord God of your ancestors—clean all the debris from the holy place. For our fathers have committed a deep sin before the Lord our God; they abandoned the Lord and his Temple and turned their backs on it. The doors have been shut tight, the perpetual flame has been put out, and the incense and burnt offerings have not been offered. Therefore, the wrath of the Lord has been upon Judah and Jerusalem. He has caused us to be objects of horror, amazement, and contempt, as you see us today. Our fathers have been killed in war, and our sons and daughters and wives are in captivity because of this.

10 “But now I want to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My children, don’t neglect your duties any longer, for the Lord has chosen you to minister to him and to burn incense.”

12-14 Then the Levites went into action:

From the Kohath clan, Mahath (son of Amasai) and Joel (son of Azariah);

From the Merari clan, Kish (son of Abdi) and Azariah (son of Jehallelel);

From the Gershon clan, Joah (son of Zimmah) and Eden (son of Joah).

From the Elizaphan clan, Shimri and Jeuel;

From the Asaph clan, Zechariah and Mattaniah;

From the Hemanite clan, Jehuel and Shimei;

From the Jeduthun clan, Shemaiah and Uzziel.

15 They in turn summoned their fellow Levites and sanctified themselves, and began to clean up and sanctify the Temple, as the king (who was speaking for the Lord) had commanded them. 16 The priests cleaned up the inner room of the Temple and brought out into the court all the filth and decay they found there. The Levites then carted it out to Kidron Brook. 17 This all began on the first day of April, and by the eighth day they had reached the outer court, which took eight days to clean up, so the entire job was completed in sixteen days.

18 Then they went back to the palace and reported to King Hezekiah, “We have completed the cleansing of the Temple and of the altar of burnt offerings and of its accessories, also the table of the Bread of the Presence and its equipment. 19 What’s more, we have recovered and sanctified all the utensils thrown away by King Ahaz when he closed the Temple. They are beside the altar of the Lord.”

20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah went to the Temple with the city officials, 21 taking seven young bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the nation and for the Temple.

He instructed the priests, the sons of Aaron, to sacrifice them on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they killed the young bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar, and they killed the rams and sprinkled their blood upon the altar, and did the same with the lambs. 23 The male goats for the sin offering were then brought before the king and his officials, who laid their hands upon them. 24 Then the priests killed the animals and made a sin offering with their blood upon the altar to make atonement for all Israel, as the king had commanded—for the king had specified that the burnt offering and sin offering must be sacrificed for the entire nation.

25-26 He organized Levites at the Temple into an orchestral group, using cymbals, psalteries, and harps. This was in accordance with the directions of David and the prophets Gad and Nathan, who had received their instructions from the Lord. The priests formed a trumpet corps. 27 Then Hezekiah ordered the burnt offering to be placed upon the altar, and as the sacrifice began, the instruments of music began to play the songs of the Lord, accompanied by the trumpets. 28 Throughout the entire ceremony everyone worshiped the Lord as the singers sang and the trumpets blew. 29 Afterwards the king and his aides bowed low before the Lord in worship. 30 Then King Hezekiah ordered the Levites to sing before the Lord some of the psalms of David and of the prophet Asaph, which they gladly did, and bowed their heads and worshiped.

31 “The consecration ceremony is now ended,” Hezekiah said. “Now bring your sacrifices and thank offerings.” So the people from every part of the nation brought their sacrifices and thank offerings, and those who wished to brought burnt offerings too. 32-33 In all, there were 70 young bulls for burnt offerings, 100 rams, and 200 lambs. In addition, 600 oxen and 3,000 sheep were brought as holy gifts. 34 But there were too few priests to prepare the burnt offerings, so their brothers the Levites helped them until the work was finished—and until more priests had reported to work—for the Levites were much more ready to sanctify themselves than the priests were. 35 There was an abundance of burnt offerings, and the usual drink offering with each, and many peace offerings. So it was that the Temple was restored to service, and the sacrifices offered again. 36 And Hezekiah and all the people were very happy because of what God had accomplished so quickly.

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