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2 Chronicles 29-31 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Judah’s King Hezekiah

29 Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king and reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah[a] daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done.

In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the Lord’s temple and repaired them. Then he brought in the priests and Levites and gathered them in the eastern public square. He said to them, “Hear me, Levites. Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of Yahweh, the God of your ancestors. Remove everything impure from the holy place. For our fathers were unfaithful and did what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They abandoned Him, turned their faces away from the Lord’s tabernacle, and turned their backs on Him.[b] They also closed the doors of the portico, extinguished the lamps, did not burn incense, and did not offer burnt offerings in the holy place of the God of Israel. Therefore, the wrath of the Lord was on Judah and Jerusalem, and He made them an object of terror, horror, and mockery,[c] as you see with your own eyes. Our fathers fell by the sword, and our sons, our daughters, and our wives are in captivity because of this. 10 It is in my heart now to make a covenant with Yahweh, the God of Israel so that His burning anger may turn away from us. 11 My sons, don’t be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence, to serve Him, and to be His ministers and burners of incense.”

Cleansing the Temple

12 Then the Levites stood up:

Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah from the Kohathites;
Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel from the Merarites;
Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah from the Gershonites;
13 Shimri and Jeuel from the Elizaphanites;
Zechariah and Mattaniah from the Asaphites;
14 Jehiel[d] and Shimei from the Hemanites;
Shemaiah and Uzziel from the Jeduthunites.

15 They gathered their brothers together, consecrated themselves, and went according to the king’s command by the words of the Lord to cleanse the Lord’s temple.

16 The priests went to the entrance of the Lord’s temple to cleanse it. They took all the unclean things they found in the Lord’s sanctuary to the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. Then the Levites received them and took them outside to the Kidron Valley. 17 They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the portico of the Lord’s temple. They consecrated the Lord’s temple for eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished.

18 Then they went inside to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed the whole temple of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the table for the rows of the bread of the Presence and all its utensils. 19 We have set up and consecrated all the utensils that King Ahaz rejected during his reign when he became unfaithful. They are in front of the altar of the Lord.”

Renewal of Temple Worship

20 King Hezekiah got up early, gathered the city officials, and went to the Lord’s temple. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. Then he told the descendants of Aaron, the priests, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests received the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. They slaughtered the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar. They slaughtered the lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar. 23 Then they brought the goats for the sin offering right into the presence of the king and the congregation, who laid their hands on them. 24 The priests slaughtered the goats and put their blood on the altar for a sin offering, to make atonement for all Israel, for the king said that the burnt offering and sin offering were for all Israel.

25 Hezekiah stationed the Levites in the Lord’s temple with cymbals, harps, and lyres according to the command of David, Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet. For the command was from the Lord through His prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.

27 Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offering be offered on the altar. When the burnt offerings began, the song of the Lord and the trumpets began, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 The whole assembly was worshiping, singing the song, and blowing the trumpets—all of this continued until the burnt offering was completed. 29 When the burnt offerings were completed, the king and all those present with him bowed down and worshiped. 30 Then King Hezekiah and the officials told the Levites to sing praise to the Lord in the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with rejoicing and bowed down and worshiped.

31 Hezekiah concluded, “Now you are consecrated[e] to the Lord. Come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the Lord’s temple.” So the congregation brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all those with willing hearts brought burnt offerings. 32 The number of burnt offerings the congregation brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs; all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. 33 Six hundred bulls and 3,000 sheep were consecrated.

34 However, since there were not enough priests, they weren’t able to skin all the burnt offerings, so their Levite brothers helped them until the work was finished and until the priests consecrated themselves. For the Levites were more conscientious[f] to consecrate themselves than the priests were. 35 Furthermore, the burnt offerings were abundant, along with the fat of the fellowship offerings and with the drink offerings for the burnt offering.

So the service of the Lord’s temple was established. 36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over how God had prepared the people, for it had come about suddenly.

Celebration of the Passover

30 Then Hezekiah sent word throughout all Israel and Judah, and he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem to observe the Passover of Yahweh, the God of Israel. For the king and his officials and the entire congregation in Jerusalem decided to observe the Passover of the Lord in the second month, because they were not able to observe it at the appropriate time. Not enough of the priests had consecrated themselves and the people hadn’t been gathered together in Jerusalem. The proposal pleased the king and the congregation, so they affirmed the proposal and spread the message throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, to come to observe the Passover of Yahweh, the God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they hadn’t observed it often,[g] as prescribed.[h]

So the couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the hand of the king and his officials, and according to the king’s command, saying, “Israelites, return to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel so that He may return to those of you who remain, who have escaped from the grasp of the kings of Assyria. Don’t be like your fathers and your brothers who were unfaithful to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors so that He made them an object of horror as you yourselves see. Don’t become obstinate[i] now like your fathers did. Give your allegiance[j] to Yahweh, and come to His sanctuary that He has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God so that He may turn His burning anger away from you, for when you return to Yahweh, your brothers and your sons will receive mercy in the presence of their captors and will return to this land. For Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful; He will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.”

10 The couriers traveled from city to city in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun, but the inhabitants[k] laughed at them and mocked them. 11 But some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also, the power of God was at work in Judah to unite them[l] to carry out the command of the king and his officials by the word of the Lord.

13 A very large assembly of people was gathered in Jerusalem to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14 They proceeded to take away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away 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 burnt offerings to the Lord’s temple. 16 They stood at their prescribed posts, according to the law of Moses, the man of God. The priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites, 17 for there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves, and so the Levites were in charge of slaughtering the Passover lambs for every unclean person to consecrate the lambs to the Lord. 18 A large number of the people—many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun—were ritually unclean, yet they had eaten the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah had interceded for them, saying, “May the good Lord provide atonement on behalf of 19 whoever sets his whole heart on seeking God, Yahweh, the God of his ancestors, even though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary.” 20 So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21 The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread seven days with great joy, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day after day with loud instruments. 22 Then Hezekiah encouraged[m] all the Levites who performed skillfully before the Lord. They ate at the appointed festival for seven days, sacrificing fellowship offerings and giving thanks to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.

23 The whole congregation decided to observe seven more days, so they observed seven days with joy, 24 for Hezekiah king of Judah contributed 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for the congregation. Also, the officials contributed 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep for the congregation, and many priests consecrated themselves. 25 Then the whole assembly of Judah with the priests and Levites, the whole assembly that came from Israel, the foreigners who came from the land of Israel, and those who were living in Judah, rejoiced. 26 There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for nothing like this was known since the days of Solomon son of David, the king of Israel.

27 Then the priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard their voice, and their prayer came into His holy dwelling place in heaven.

Removal of Idolatry

31 When all this was completed, all Israel who had attended went out to the cities of Judah and broke up the sacred pillars, chopped down the Asherah poles, and tore down the high places and altars throughout Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, to the last one.[n] Then all the Israelites returned to their cities, each to his own possession.

Offerings for Levites

Hezekiah reestablished the divisions of the priests and Levites for the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, for ministry, for giving thanks, and for praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord, each division corresponding to his service among the priests and Levites. The king contributed[o] from his own possessions for the regular morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings of the Sabbaths, of the New Moons, and of the appointed feasts, as written in the law of the Lord. He told the people who lived in Jerusalem to give a contribution for the priests and Levites so that they could devote their energy to the law of the Lord. When the word spread, the Israelites gave liberally of the best of the grain, new wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field, and they brought in an abundance, a tenth of everything. As for the Israelites and Judahites who lived in the cities of Judah, they also brought a tenth of the cattle and sheep, and a tenth of the dedicated things that were consecrated to the Lord their God. They gathered them into large piles. In the third month they began building up the piles, and they finished in the seventh month. When Hezekiah and his officials came and viewed the piles, they praised the Lord and His people Israel.

Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the piles. 10 Azariah, the chief priest of the household of Zadok, answered him, “Since they began bringing the offering to the Lord’s temple, we eat and are satisfied and there is plenty left over because the Lord has blessed His people; this abundance is what is left over.”

11 Hezekiah told them to prepare chambers in the Lord’s temple, and they prepared them. 12 The offering, the tenth, and the dedicated things were brought faithfully. Conaniah the Levite was the officer in charge of them, and his brother Shimei was second. 13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were deputies under the authority of Conaniah and his brother Shimei by appointment of King Hezekiah and of Azariah the chief official of God’s temple.

14 Kore son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the East Gate, was over the freewill offerings to God to distribute the contribution to the Lord and the consecrated things. 15 Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah in the cities of the priests were to faithfully distribute it under his authority to their brothers by divisions, whether large or small. 16 In addition, they distributed it to males registered by genealogy three[p] years old and above; to all who would enter the Lord’s temple for their daily duty, for their service in their responsibilities according to their divisions. 17 They distributed also to those recorded by genealogy of the priests by their ancestral families and the Levites 20 years old and above, by their responsibilities in their divisions; 18 to those registered by genealogy—with all their infants, wives, sons, and daughters—of the whole assembly (for they had faithfully consecrated themselves as holy); 19 and to the descendants of Aaron, the priests, in the common fields of their cities, in each and every city. There were men who were registered by name to distribute a portion to every male among the priests and to every Levite recorded by genealogy.

20 Hezekiah did this throughout all Judah. He did what was good and upright and true before the Lord his God. 21 He was diligent in every deed that he began in the service of God’s temple, in the instruction and the commands, in order to seek his God, and he prospered.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Chronicles 29:1 = Abi in 2Kg 18:2
  2. 2 Chronicles 29:6 Lit and they gave the back of the neck
  3. 2 Chronicles 29:8 Lit hissing
  4. 2 Chronicles 29:14 Alt Hb tradition reads Jehuel
  5. 2 Chronicles 29:31 Lit Now you have filled your hands
  6. 2 Chronicles 29:34 Lit upright of heart; Ps 32:11; 64:10
  7. 2 Chronicles 30:5 Or in great numbers
  8. 2 Chronicles 30:5 Lit often, according to what is written
  9. 2 Chronicles 30:8 Lit Don’t stiffen your neck
  10. 2 Chronicles 30:8 Lit hand
  11. 2 Chronicles 30:10 Lit but they
  12. 2 Chronicles 30:12 Lit to give them one heart
  13. 2 Chronicles 30:22 Lit spoke to the heart of
  14. 2 Chronicles 31:1 Lit Manasseh, until finishing
  15. 2 Chronicles 31:3 Lit The king’s portion
  16. 2 Chronicles 31:16 Or 30; 1Ch 23:3

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