Add parallel Print Page Options

Hezekiah Keeps the Passover

30 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah. He wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh also, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. For the king and his rulers and all the people in Jerusalem had decided to keep the Passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at the set time, because there had not been enough religious leaders who had made themselves holy. And the people had not been gathered to Jerusalem. So the new time pleased the king and all the people. And they made it known in all Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem. For great numbers of people had not kept it, as they were told to do. Men were sent through all Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his rulers, as the king had told them. The letters said, “O sons of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to those of you who have not been taken away by the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your fathers and your brothers. They were not faithful to the Lord God of their fathers, so He gave them a reason to fear, as you see. Now do not make your hearts hard like your fathers, but give yourselves to the Lord. Come to His holy place which He has set apart forever. And worship the Lord your God, that His burning anger may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will be shown pity by those who took them away, and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is kind and loving. He will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.”

10 So the men took the letters from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun. But the people laughed at them and made fun of them. 11 Only a few men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun put away their pride and came to Jerusalem. 12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the rulers told them by the Word of the Lord.

The People Keep the Passover

13 Many people gathered together at Jerusalem to keep the Special Supper of Bread Without Yeast in the second month. There were very many people. 14 They took away the altars which were in Jerusalem. And they also took away all the special perfume altars and threw them into the river of Kidron. 15 Then they killed the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The religious leaders and Levites were ashamed and made themselves holy, and brought burnt gifts to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood in their places as they should, as given by the Law of Moses the man of God. The religious leaders placed the blood which they received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many of the people who had not made themselves holy. So the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for every one who was unclean, to make them holy to the Lord. 18 For many of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not made themselves clean. Yet they ate the Passover in a different way than had been written. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord forgive everyone 19 who makes his heart ready to look for God, the Lord God of his fathers, even if he does not follow the rules of the holy place for making himself clean.” 20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah, and healed the people. 21 The people of Israel who were there in Jerusalem kept the Special Supper of Bread Without Yeast for seven days with great joy. The Levites and the religious leaders praised the Lord day after day, singing with loud music to the Lord. 22 Then Hezekiah spoke comforting words to all the Levites who had good understanding in the Lord’s work. So the people ate the food of the Special Supper for seven days, giving peace gifts and thanks to the Lord God of their fathers.

23 Then all the people decided to keep the Special Supper for another seven days. So they kept it for another seven days with joy. 24 For King Hezekiah of Judah had given the people 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep. And the rulers had given the people 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. And a large number of religious leaders made themselves holy. 25 All the people of Judah were filled with joy, with the religious leaders and the Levites, and all the people who came from Israel. Both the people who came from the land of Israel and those living in Judah were filled with joy. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. 27 Then the religious leaders and Levites stood and prayed that good would come to the people. And their voice was heard. Their prayer came to the Lord’s holy place in heaven.