Add parallel Print Page Options

The People Destroy the Local Shrines

31 After the Festival, the people went to every town in Judah and smashed the stone images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred poles[a] for worshiping the goddess Asherah. They destroyed all the local shrines[b] and foreign altars in Judah, as well as those in the territories of Benjamin, Ephraim, and West Manasseh. Then everyone went home.

Offerings for the Priests and Levites

Hezekiah divided the priests and Levites into groups, according to their duties. Then he assigned them the responsibilities of offering sacrifices to please the Lord[c] and sacrifices to ask his blessing.[d] He also appointed people to serve at the temple and to sing praises at the temple gates. Hezekiah provided animals from his own herds and flocks to use for the morning and evening sacrifices, as well as for the sacrifices during the Sabbath celebrations, the New Moon Festivals, and the other religious feasts required by the Law of the Lord.

He told the people of Jerusalem to bring the offerings that were to be given to the priests and Levites, so that they would have time to serve the Lord with their work. As soon as the people heard what the king wanted, they brought a tenth of everything they owned, including their best grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and other crops. The people from the other towns of Judah brought a tenth of their herds and flocks, as well as a tenth of anything they had dedicated to the Lord. The people started bringing their offerings to Jerusalem in the third month,[e] and the last ones arrived four months later. When Hezekiah and his officials saw these offerings, they thanked the Lord and the people.

Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the large amount of offerings. 10 The high priest at the time was Azariah, a descendant of Zadok, and he replied, “Ever since the people have been bringing us their offerings, we have had more than enough food and supplies. The Lord has certainly blessed his people. Look at how much is left over!”

11 So the king gave orders for storerooms to be built in the temple, and when they were completed, 12-13 all the extra offerings were taken there. Hezekiah and Azariah then appointed Conaniah the Levite to be in charge of these storerooms. His brother Shimei was his assistant, and the following Levites worked with them: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. 14 Kore son of Imnah was assigned to guard the East Gate, and he was put in charge of receiving the offerings voluntarily given to God and of dividing them among the priests and Levites. 15-16 He had six assistants who were responsible for seeing that all the priests in the other towns of Judah also got their share of these offerings. They were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah.

Every priest and every Levite over thirty[f] years old who worked daily in the temple received part of these offerings, according to their duties. 17 The priests were listed in the official records by clans, and the Levites twenty years old and older were listed by their duties. 18 The official records also included their wives and children, because they had also been faithful in keeping themselves clean and acceptable to serve the Lord.

19 Hezekiah also appointed other men to take food and supplies to the priests and Levites whose homes were in the pastureland around the towns of Judah. But the priests had to be descendants of Aaron, and the Levites had to be listed in the official records.

20-21 Everything Hezekiah did while he was king of Judah, including what he did for the temple in Jerusalem, was right and good. He was a successful king, because he obeyed the Lord God with all his heart.

Footnotes

  1. 31.1 sacred poles: See the note at 14.3.
  2. 31.1 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.
  3. 31.2 sacrifices to please the Lord: See the note at 1.6.
  4. 31.2 sacrifices to ask his blessing: See the note at 29.33.
  5. 31.7 third month: Sivan, the third month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-May to mid-June.
  6. 31.15,16 thirty: The Hebrew text has “three” instead of “thirty”; in Hebrew, these two words look almost exactly the same (see also Numbers 4.3; 1 Chronicles 23.3).