2 Kings 15:32-38 Good News Translation (GNT)
King Jotham of Judah
32 In the second year of the reign of Pekah son of Remaliah as king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah became king of Judah 33 at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. 34 Following the example of his father Uzziah, Jotham did what was pleasing to the Lord. 35 But the pagan places of worship were not destroyed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. It was Jotham who built the North Gate of the Temple.
36 Everything else that Jotham did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 37 It was while he was king that the Lord first sent King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel to attack Judah. 38 Jotham died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City, and his son Ahaz succeeded him as king.
2 Chronicles 27:1-7 Good News Translation (GNT)
King Jotham of Judah
27 Jotham became king at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. His mother was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok. 2 He did what was pleasing to the Lord, just as his father had done; but unlike his father he did not sin by burning incense[a] in the Temple. The people, however, went on sinning.
3 It was Jotham who built the North Gate of the Temple and did extensive work on the city wall in the area of Jerusalem called Ophel. 4 In the mountains of Judah he built cities, and in the forests he built forts and towers. 5 He fought against the king of Ammon and his army and defeated them. Then he forced the Ammonites to pay him the following tribute each year for three years: four tons of silver, fifty thousand bushels of wheat, and fifty thousand bushels of barley. 6 Jotham grew powerful because he faithfully obeyed the Lord his God. 7 The other events of Jotham's reign, his wars, and his policies, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
Micah 1:1 Good News Translation (GNT)
1 During the time that Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, the Lord gave this message to Micah, who was from the town of Moresheth. The Lord revealed to Micah all these things about Samaria and Jerusalem.
2 Kings 16 Good News Translation (GNT)
King Ahaz of Judah
16 In the seventeenth year of the reign of Pekah son of Remaliah as king of Israel, Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah 2 at the age of twenty, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. He did not follow the good example of his ancestor King David; instead, he did what was not pleasing to the Lord his God 3 and followed the example of the kings of Israel. He even sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the Lord had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced. 4 At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree, Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense.
5 King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel attacked Jerusalem and besieged it, but could not defeat Ahaz. (6 At the same time the king of Edom[a] regained control of the city of Elath and drove out the Judeans who lived there. The Edomites settled in Elath and still live there.) 7 Ahaz sent men to Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, with this message: “I am your devoted servant. Come and rescue me from the kings of Syria and of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple and the palace treasury, and sent it as a present to the emperor. 9 Tiglath Pileser, in answer to Ahaz' plea, marched out with his army against Damascus, captured it, killed King Rezin, and took the people to Kir as prisoners.
10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Emperor Tiglath Pileser, he saw the altar there and sent back to Uriah the priest an exact model of it, down to the smallest details. 11 So Uriah built an altar just like it and finished it before Ahaz returned. 12 On his return from Damascus, Ahaz saw that the altar was finished, 13 so he burned animal sacrifices and grain offerings on it and poured a wine offering and the blood of a fellowship offering on it. 14 The bronze altar dedicated to the Lord was between the new altar and the Temple, so Ahaz moved it to the north side of his new altar. 15 Then he ordered Uriah: “Use this large altar of mine for the morning burnt offerings and the evening grain offerings, for the burnt offerings and grain offerings of the king and the people, and for the people's wine offerings. Pour on it the blood of all the animals that are sacrificed. But keep the bronze altar for me to use for divination.” 16 Uriah did as the king commanded.
17 King Ahaz took apart the bronze carts used in the Temple and removed the basins that were on them. He also took the bronze tank from the backs of the twelve bronze bulls and placed it on a stone foundation. 18 And in order to please the Assyrian emperor, Ahaz also removed from the Temple the platform for the royal throne and closed up the king's private entrance to the Temple.[b]
19 Everything else that King Ahaz did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah.
20 Ahaz died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City, and his son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
2 Chronicles 28 Good News Translation (GNT)
King Ahaz of Judah
28 Ahaz became king at the age of twenty, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. He did not follow the good example of his ancestor King David; instead, he did what was not pleasing to the Lord 2 and followed the example of the kings of Israel. He had metal images of Baal made, 3 burned incense in Hinnom Valley, and even sacrificed his own sons as burnt offerings to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the Lord had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced. 4 At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense.
War with Syria and Israel
5-6 Because King Ahaz sinned, the Lord his God let the king of Syria defeat him and take a large number of Judeans back to Damascus as prisoners. The Lord also let the king of Israel, Pekah son of Remaliah, defeat Ahaz and kill 120,000 of the bravest Judean soldiers in one day. The Lord, the God of their ancestors, permitted this to happen, because the people of Judah had abandoned him. 7 An Israelite soldier named Zichri killed King Ahaz' son Maaseiah, the palace administrator Azrikam, and Elkanah, who was second in command to the king. 8 Even though the Judeans were their own relatives, the Israelite army captured 200,000 women and children as prisoners and took them back to Samaria, along with large amounts of loot.
The Prophet Oded
9 A man named Oded, a prophet of the Lord, lived in the city of Samaria. He met the returning Israelite army with its Judean prisoners as it was about to enter the city, and he said, “The Lord God of your ancestors was angry with Judah and let you defeat them, but now he has heard of the vicious way you slaughtered them. 10 And now you intend to make the men and women of Jerusalem and Judah your slaves. Don't you know that you also have committed sins against the Lord your God? 11 Listen to me! These prisoners are your brothers and sisters. Let them go, or the Lord will punish you in his anger.”
12 Four of the leading men of the Northern Kingdom, Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai also opposed the actions of the army. 13 They said, “Don't bring those prisoners here! We have already sinned against the Lord and made him angry enough to punish us. Now you want to do something that will increase our guilt.” 14 So then the army handed the prisoners and the loot over to the people and their leaders, 15 and the four men were appointed to provide the prisoners with clothing from the captured loot. They gave them clothes and sandals to wear, gave them enough to eat and drink, and put olive oil on their wounds. Those who were too weak to walk were put on donkeys, and all the prisoners were taken back to Judean territory at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then the Israelites returned home to Samaria.
Ahaz Asks Assyria for Help
16-17 The Edomites began to raid Judah again and captured many prisoners, so King Ahaz asked Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, to send help. 18 At this same time the Philistines were raiding the towns in the western foothills and in southern Judah. They captured the cities of Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, and Gederoth, and the cities of Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo with their villages, and settled there permanently. 19 Because King Ahaz of Judah had violated the rights of his people and had defied the Lord, the Lord brought troubles on Judah. 20 The Assyrian emperor, instead of helping Ahaz, opposed him and caused him trouble. 21 So Ahaz took the gold from the Temple, the palace, and the homes of the leaders of the people, and gave it to the emperor, but even this did not help.
The Sins of Ahaz
22 When his troubles were at their worst, that man Ahaz sinned against the Lord more than ever. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of the Syrians, who had defeated him. He said, “The Syrian gods helped the kings of Syria, so if I sacrifice to them, they may help me too.” This brought disaster on him and on his nation. 24 In addition, he took all the Temple equipment and broke it in pieces. He closed the Temple and set up altars in every part of Jerusalem. 25 In every city and town in Judah he built pagan places of worship, where incense was to be burned to foreign gods. In this way he brought on himself the anger of the Lord, the God of his ancestors.
26 All the other events of his reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 King Ahaz died and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
Micah 1:1 Good News Translation (GNT)
1 During the time that Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, the Lord gave this message to Micah, who was from the town of Moresheth. The Lord revealed to Micah all these things about Samaria and Jerusalem.
2 Kings 18-20 Good News Translation (GNT)
King Hezekiah of Judah
18 In the third year of the reign of Hoshea son of Elah as king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah 2 at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 3 Following the example of his ancestor King David, he did what was pleasing to the Lord. 4 He destroyed the pagan places of worship, broke the stone pillars, and cut down the images of the goddess Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze snake that Moses had made, which was called Nehushtan. Up to that time the people of Israel had burned incense in its honor. 5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel; Judah never had another king like him, either before or after his time. 6 He was faithful to the Lord and never disobeyed him, but carefully kept all the commands that the Lord had given Moses. 7 So the Lord was with him, and he was successful in everything he did. He rebelled against the emperor of Assyria and refused to submit to him. 8 He defeated the Philistines and raided their settlements, from the smallest village to the largest city, including Gaza and its surrounding territory.
9 In the fourth year of Hezekiah's reign—which was the seventh year of King Hoshea's reign over Israel—Emperor Shalmaneser of Assyria invaded Israel and besieged Samaria. 10 In the third year of the siege Samaria fell; this was the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign and the ninth year of Hoshea's reign. 11 The Assyrian emperor[a] took the Israelites to Assyria as prisoners and settled some of them in the city of Halah, some near the Habor River in the district of Gozan, and some in the cities of Media.
12 Samaria fell because the Israelites did not obey the Lord their God, but broke the covenant he had made with them and disobeyed all the laws given by Moses, the servant of the Lord. They would not listen and they would not obey.
The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem
13 In the fourteenth year of the reign of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, attacked the fortified cities of Judah and conquered them. 14 Hezekiah sent a message to Sennacherib, who was in Lachish: “I have done wrong; please stop your attack, and I will pay whatever you demand.” The emperor's answer was that Hezekiah should send him ten tons of silver and one ton of gold. 15 Hezekiah sent him all the silver in the Temple and in the palace treasury; 16 he also stripped the gold from the temple doors and the gold with which he himself had covered the doorposts, and he sent it all to Sennacherib. 17 The Assyrian emperor sent a large army from Lachish to attack Hezekiah at Jerusalem; it was commanded by his three highest officials. When they arrived at Jerusalem, they occupied the road where the cloth makers work by the ditch that brings water from the upper pool. 18 Then they sent for King Hezekiah, and three of his officials went out to meet them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace; Shebna, the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, who was in charge of the records. 19 One of the Assyrian officials told them that the emperor wanted to know what made King Hezekiah so confident. 20 He demanded, “Do you think that words can take the place of military skill and might? Who do you think will help you rebel against Assyria? 21 You are expecting Egypt to help you, but that would be like using a reed as a walking stick—it would break and jab your hand. That is what the king of Egypt is like when anyone relies on him.”
22 The Assyrian official went on, “Or will you tell me that you are relying on the Lord your God? It was the Lord's shrines and altars that Hezekiah destroyed, when he told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship only at the altar in Jerusalem. 23 I will make a bargain with you in the name of the emperor. I will give you two thousand horses if you can find that many men to ride them! 24 You are no match for even the lowest ranking Assyrian official, and yet you expect the Egyptians to send you chariots and cavalry! 25 Do you think I have attacked your country and destroyed it without the Lord's help? The Lord himself told me to attack it and destroy it.”
26 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah told the official, “Speak Aramaic to us, sir. We understand it. Don't speak Hebrew; all the people on the wall are listening.”
27 He replied, “Do you think you and the king are the only ones the emperor sent me to say all these things to? No, I am also talking to the people who are sitting on the wall, who will have to eat their excrement and drink their urine, just as you will.”
28 Then the official stood up and shouted in Hebrew, “Listen to what the emperor of Assyria is telling you! 29 He warns you not to let Hezekiah deceive you. Hezekiah can't save you. 30 And don't let him persuade you to rely on the Lord. Don't think that the Lord will save you and that he will stop our Assyrian army from capturing your city. 31 Don't listen to Hezekiah. The emperor of Assyria commands you to come out of the city and surrender. You will all be allowed to eat grapes from your own vines and figs from your own trees, and to drink water from your own wells— 32 until the emperor resettles you in a country much like your own, where there are vineyards to give wine and there is grain for making bread; it is a land of olives, olive oil, and honey. If you do what he commands, you will not die, but live. Don't let Hezekiah fool you into thinking that the Lord will rescue you. 33 Did the gods of any other nations save their countries from the emperor of Assyria? 34 Where are they now, the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did anyone save Samaria? 35 When did any of the gods of all these countries ever save their country from our emperor? Then what makes you think the Lord can save Jerusalem?”
36 The people kept quiet, just as King Hezekiah had told them to; they did not say a word. 37 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah tore their clothes in grief, and went and reported to the king what the Assyrian official had said.
The King Asks Isaiah's Advice
19 As soon as King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes in grief, put on sackcloth, and went to the Temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim, the official in charge of the palace, Shebna, the court secretary, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They also were wearing sackcloth. 3 This is the message which he told them to give Isaiah: “Today is a day of suffering; we are being punished and are in disgrace. We are like a woman who is ready to give birth, but is too weak to do it. 4 The Assyrian emperor has sent his chief official to insult the living God. May the Lord your God hear these insults and punish those who spoke them. So pray to God for those of our people who survive.”
5 When Isaiah received King Hezekiah's message, 6 he sent back this answer: “The Lord tells you not to let the Assyrians frighten you with their claims that he cannot save you. 7 The Lord will cause the emperor to hear a rumor that will make him go back to his own country, and the Lord will have him killed there.”
The Assyrians Send Another Threat
8 The Assyrian official learned that the emperor had left Lachish and was fighting against the nearby city of Libnah; so he went there to consult him. 9 Word reached the Assyrians that the Egyptian army, led by King Tirhakah of Ethiopia,[b] was coming to attack them. When the emperor heard this, he sent a letter to King Hezekiah of Judah 10 to tell him, “The god you are trusting in has told you that you will not fall into my hands, but don't let that deceive you. 11 You have heard what an Assyrian emperor does to any country he decides to destroy. Do you think that you can escape? 12 My ancestors destroyed the cities of Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph, and killed the people of Betheden who lived in Telassar, and none of their gods could save them. 13 Where are the kings of the cities of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?”
14 King Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went to the Temple, placed the letter there in the presence of the Lord, 15 and prayed, “O Lord, the God of Israel, seated on your throne above the winged creatures, you alone are God, ruling all the kingdoms of the world. You created the earth and the sky. 16 Now, Lord, look at what is happening to us. Listen to all the things that Sennacherib is saying to insult you, the living God. 17 We all know, Lord, that the emperors of Assyria have destroyed many nations, made their lands desolate, 18 and burned up their gods—which were no gods at all, only images of wood and stone made by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, rescue us from the Assyrians, so that all the nations of the world will know that only you, O Lord, are God.”
Isaiah's Message to the King
20 Then Isaiah sent a message telling King Hezekiah that in answer to the king's prayer 21 the Lord had said, “The city of Jerusalem laughs at you, Sennacherib, and makes fun of you. 22 Whom do you think you have been insulting and ridiculing? You have been disrespectful to me, the holy God of Israel. 23 You sent your messengers to boast to me that with all your chariots you had conquered the highest mountains of Lebanon. You boasted that there you cut down the tallest cedars and the finest cypress trees and that you reached the deepest parts of the forests. 24 You boasted that you dug wells and drank water in foreign lands and that the feet of your soldiers tramped the Nile River dry.
25 “Have you never heard that I planned all this long ago? And now I have carried it out. I gave you the power to turn fortified cities into piles of rubble. 26 The people who lived there were powerless; they were frightened and stunned. They were like grass in a field or weeds growing on a roof when the hot east wind blasts them.[c]
27 “But I know everything about you, what you do and where you go. I know how you rage against me. 28 I have received the report of that rage and that pride of yours, and now I will put a hook through your nose and a bit in your mouth, and take you back by the same road you came.”
29 Then Isaiah said to King Hezekiah, “Here is a sign of what will happen. This year and next you will have only wild grain to eat, but the following year you will be able to plant your grain and harvest it, and plant vines and eat grapes. 30 Those in Judah who survive will flourish like plants that send roots deep into the ground and produce fruit. 31 There will be people in Jerusalem and on Mount Zion who will survive, because the Lord is determined to make this happen.
32 “And this is what the Lord has said about the Assyrian emperor: ‘He will not enter this city or shoot a single arrow against it. No soldiers with shields will come near the city, and no siege mounds will be built around it. 33 He will go back by the same road he came, without entering this city. I, the Lord, have spoken. 34 I will defend this city and protect it, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.’”
35 That night an angel of the Lord went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. At dawn the next day there they lay, all dead! 36 Then the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib withdrew and returned to Nineveh. 37 One day, when he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, two of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords and then escaped to the land of Ararat. Another of his sons, Esarhaddon, succeeded him as emperor.
King Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery
20 About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and said to him, “The Lord tells you that you are to put everything in order, because you will not recover. Get ready to die.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed: 3 “Remember, Lord, that I have served you faithfully and loyally and that I have always tried to do what you wanted me to.” And he began to cry bitterly.
4 Isaiah left the king, but before he had passed through the central courtyard of the palace the Lord told him 5 to go back to Hezekiah, ruler of the Lord's people, and say to him, “I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and in three days you will go to the Temple. 6 I will let you live fifteen years longer. I will rescue you and this city Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria. I will defend this city, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.”
7 Then Isaiah told the king's attendants to put on his boil a paste made of figs, and he would get well.[d] 8 King Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign to prove that the Lord will heal me and that three days later I will be able to go to the Temple?”
9 Isaiah replied, “The Lord will give you a sign to prove that he will keep his promise. Now, would you prefer to have the shadow on the stairway go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?”[e]
Messengers from Babylonia
12 About that same time the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been sick, so he sent him a letter and a present. 13 Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them his wealth—his silver and gold, his spices and perfumes, and all his military equipment. There was nothing in his storerooms or anywhere in his kingdom that he did not show them. 14 Then the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked, “Where did these men come from and what did they say to you?”
Hezekiah answered, “They came from a very distant country, from Babylonia.”
15 “What did they see in the palace?”
“They saw everything. There is nothing in the storerooms that I didn't show them.”
16 Isaiah then told the king, “The Lord Almighty says that 17 a time is coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Nothing will be left. 18 Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia.”
19 King Hezekiah understood this to mean that there would be peace and security during his lifetime, so he replied, “The message you have given me from the Lord is good.”
The End of Hezekiah's Reign
20 Everything else that King Hezekiah did, his brave deeds, and an account of how he built a reservoir and dug a tunnel to bring water into the city, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah.
21 Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh succeeded him as king.
2 Chronicles 29-32 Good News Translation (GNT)
King Hezekiah of Judah
29 Hezekiah became king of Judah at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 Following the example of his ancestor King David, he did what was pleasing to the Lord.
The Purification of the Temple
3 In the first month of the year after Hezekiah became king, he reopened the gates of the Temple and had them repaired. 4 He assembled a group of priests and Levites in the east courtyard of the Temple 5 and spoke to them there. He said, “You Levites are to consecrate yourselves and purify the Temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove from the Temple everything that defiles it. 6 Our ancestors were unfaithful to the Lord our God and did what was displeasing to him. They abandoned him and turned their backs on the place where he dwells. 7 They closed the doors of the Temple, let the lamps go out, and failed to burn incense or offer burnt offerings in the Temple of the God of Israel. 8 Because of this the Lord has been angry with Judah and Jerusalem, and what he has done to them has shocked and frightened everyone. You know this very well. 9 Our fathers were killed in battle, and our wives and children have been taken away as prisoners.
10 “I have now decided to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that he will no longer be angry with us. 11 My sons, do not lose any time. You are the ones that the Lord has chosen to burn incense to him and to lead the people in worshiping him.”
12-14 The following Levites were there:
From the clan of Kohath, Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah
15 These men assembled their fellow Levites, and they all made themselves ritually clean. Then, as the king had commanded them to do, they began to make the Temple ritually clean, according to the Law of the Lord.[a] 16 The priests went inside the Temple to purify it, and they carried out into the Temple courtyard everything that was ritually unclean. From there the Levites took it all outside the city to Kidron Valley.
17 The work was begun on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day they had finished it all, including the entrance room to the Temple. Then they worked for the next eight days, until the sixteenth of the month, preparing the Temple for worship.
The Temple Is Rededicated
18 The Levites made the following report to King Hezekiah: “We have completed the ritual purification of the whole Temple, including the altar for burnt offerings, the table for the sacred bread, and all their equipment. 19 We have also brought back all the equipment which King Ahaz took away during those years he was unfaithful to God, and we have rededicated it. It is all in front of the Lord's altar.”
20 Without delay King Hezekiah assembled the leading men of the city, and together they went to the Temple. 21 As an offering to take away the sins of the royal family and of the people of Judah and to purify the Temple, they took seven bulls, seven sheep, seven lambs, and seven goats. The king told the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to offer the animals as sacrifices on the altar. 22 The priests killed the bulls first, then the sheep, and then the lambs, and sprinkled the blood of each sacrifice on the altar. 23 Finally they took the goats to the king and to the other worshipers, who laid their hands on them. 24 Then the priests killed the goats and poured their blood on the altar as a sacrifice to take away the sin of all the people, for the king had commanded that burnt offerings and sin offerings be made for all Israel.
25 The king followed the instructions that the Lord had given to King David through Gad, the king's prophet, and through the prophet Nathan; he stationed Levites in the Temple, with harps and cymbals, 26 instruments like those that King David had used. The priests also stood there with trumpets. 27 Hezekiah gave the order for the burnt offering to be presented; and as the offering began, the people sang praise to the Lord, and the musicians began to play the trumpets and all the other instruments. 28 Everyone who was there joined in worship, and the singing and the rest of the music continued until all the sacrifices had been burned. 29 Then King Hezekiah and all the people knelt down and worshiped God. 30 The king and the leaders of the nation told the Levites to sing to the Lord the songs of praise that were written by David and by Asaph the prophet. So everyone sang with great joy as they knelt and worshiped God.
31 Hezekiah said to the people, “Now that you are ritually clean, bring sacrifices as offerings of thanksgiving to the Lord.” They obeyed, and some of them also voluntarily brought animals to be sacrificed as burnt offerings. 32 They brought 70 bulls, 100 sheep, and 200 lambs as burnt offerings for the Lord; 33 they also brought 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep as sacrifices for the people to eat. 34 Since there were not enough priests to kill all these animals, the Levites helped them until the work was finished. By then more priests had made themselves ritually clean. (The Levites were more faithful in keeping ritually clean than the priests were.) 35 In addition to offering the sacrifices that were burned whole, the priests were responsible for burning the fat that was offered from the sacrifices which the people ate, and for pouring out the wine that was presented with the burnt offerings.
And so worship in the Temple was begun again. 36 King Hezekiah and the people were happy, because God had helped them to do all this so quickly.
Preparations for Passover
30 1-3 The people had not been able to celebrate the Passover Festival at the proper time in the first month, because not enough priests were ritually clean and not many people had assembled in Jerusalem. So King Hezekiah, his officials, and the people of Jerusalem agreed to celebrate it in the second month, and the king sent word to all the people of Israel and Judah. He took special care to send letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover in honor of the Lord, the God of Israel. 4 The king and the people were pleased with their plan, 5 so they invited all the Israelites, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, to come together in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover according to the Law, in larger numbers than ever before. 6 Messengers went out at the command of the king and his officials through all Judah and Israel with the following invitation:
“People of Israel, you have survived the Assyrian conquest of the land. Now return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he will return to you. 7 Do not be like your ancestors and your Israelite relatives who were unfaithful to the Lord their God. As you can see, he punished them severely. 8 Do not be stubborn as they were, but obey the Lord. Come to the Temple in Jerusalem, which the Lord your God has made holy forever, and worship him so that he will no longer be angry with you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then those who have taken your relatives away as prisoners will take pity on them and let them come back home. The Lord your God is kind and merciful, and if you return to him, he will accept you.”
10 The messengers went to every city in the territory of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far north as the tribe of Zebulun, but people laughed at them and made fun of them. 11 Still, there were some from the tribes of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun who were willing to come to Jerusalem. 12 God was also at work in Judah and united the people in their determination to obey his will by following the commands of the king and his officials.
Passover Is Celebrated
13 A great number of people gathered in Jerusalem in the second month to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 14 They took all the altars that had been used in Jerusalem for offering sacrifices and burning incense and threw them into Kidron Valley. 15 And on the fourteenth day of the month they killed the lambs for the Passover sacrifice. The priests and Levites who were not ritually clean became so ashamed that they dedicated themselves to the Lord, and now they could sacrifice burnt offerings in the Temple. 16 They took their places in the Temple according to the instructions in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites gave the blood of the sacrifices to the priests, who sprinkled it on the altar. 17 Because many of the people were not ritually clean, they could not kill the Passover lambs, so the Levites did it for them and dedicated the lambs to the Lord. 18 In addition, many of those who had come from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not performed the ritual of purification, and so they were observing Passover improperly. King Hezekiah offered this prayer for them: 19 “O Lord, the God of our ancestors, in your goodness forgive those who are worshiping you with all their heart, even though they are not ritually clean.” 20 The Lord answered Hezekiah's prayer; he forgave the people and did not harm them. 21 For seven days the people who had gathered in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread with great joy, and day after day the Levites and the priests praised the Lord with all their strength.[b] 22 Hezekiah praised the Levites for their skill in conducting the worship of the Lord.
A Second Celebration
After the seven days during which they offered sacrifices in praise of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, 23 they all decided to celebrate for another seven days. So they celebrated with joy. 24 King Hezekiah contributed 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for the people to kill and eat, and the officials gave them another 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. A large number of priests went through the ritual of purification. 25 So everyone was happy—the people of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the people who had come from the north, and the foreigners who had settled permanently in Israel and Judah. 26 The city of Jerusalem was filled with joy, because nothing like this had happened since the days of King Solomon, the son of David. 27 The priests and the Levites asked the Lord's blessing on the people. In his home in heaven God heard their prayers and accepted them.
Hezekiah Reforms Religious Life
31 After the festival ended, all the people of Israel went to every city in Judah and broke the stone pillars, cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and destroyed the altars and the pagan places of worship. They did the same thing throughout the rest of Judah, and the territories of Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh; then they all returned home.
2 King Hezekiah reestablished the organization of the priests and Levites, under which they each had specific duties. These included offering the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, taking part in the Temple worship, and giving praise and thanks in the various parts of the Temple. 3 From his own flocks and herds he provided animals for the burnt offerings each morning and evening, and for those offered on the Sabbath, at the New Moon Festival, and at the other festivals which are required by the Law of the Lord.
4 In addition, the king told the people of Jerusalem to bring the offerings to which the priests and the Levites were entitled, so that they could give all their time to the requirements of the Law of the Lord. 5 As soon as the order was given, the people of Israel brought gifts of their finest grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and other farm produce, and they also brought the tithes[c] of everything they had. 6 All the people who lived in the cities of Judah brought tithes of their cattle and sheep, and they also brought large quantities of gifts which they dedicated to the Lord their God. 7 The gifts started arriving in the third month and continued to pile up for the next four months. 8 When King Hezekiah and his officials saw how much had been given, they praised the Lord and praised his people Israel. 9 The king spoke to the priests and the Levites about these gifts, 10 and Azariah the High Priest, a descendant of Zadok, said to him, “Since the people started bringing their gifts to the Temple, there has been enough to eat and a large surplus besides. We have all this because the Lord has blessed his people.”
11 On the king's orders they prepared storerooms in the Temple area 12 and put all the gifts and tithes in them for safekeeping. They placed a Levite named Conaniah in charge and made his brother Shimei his assistant. 13 Ten Levites were assigned to work under them: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. All this was done under the authority of King Hezekiah and Azariah the High Priest. 14 Kore son of Imnah, a Levite who was chief guard at the East Gate of the Temple, was in charge of receiving the gifts offered to the Lord and of distributing them. 15 In the other cities where priests lived, he was faithfully assisted in this by other Levites: Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah. They distributed the food equally to their fellow Levites according to what their duties were, 16 and not by clans. They gave a share to all males thirty[d] years of age or older who had daily responsibilities in the Temple in accordance with their positions. 17 The priests were assigned their duties by clans, and the Levites twenty years of age or older were assigned theirs by work groups. 18 They were all registered together with their wives, children, and other dependents, because they were required to be ready to perform their sacred duties at any time. 19 Among the priests who lived in the cities assigned to Aaron's descendants or in the pasture lands belonging to these cities, there were responsible men who distributed the food to all the males in the priestly families and to everyone who was on the rolls of the Levite clans.
20 Throughout all Judah, King Hezekiah did what was right and what was pleasing to the Lord his God. 21 He was successful, because everything he did for the Temple or in observance of the Law, he did in a spirit of complete loyalty and devotion to his God.
The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem
32 After these events, in which King Hezekiah served the Lord faithfully, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, invaded Judah. He besieged the fortified cities and gave orders for his army to break their way through the walls. 2 When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib intended to attack Jerusalem also, 3-4 he and his officials decided to cut off the supply of water outside the city in order to keep the Assyrians from having any water when they got near Jerusalem. The officials led a large number of people out and stopped up all the springs, so that no more water flowed out of them. 5 The king strengthened the city's defenses by repairing the wall, building towers on it,[e] and building an outer wall. In addition, he repaired the defenses built on the land that was filled in on the east side of the old part of Jerusalem. He also had a large number of spears and shields made. 6 He placed all the men in the city under the command of army officers and had them assemble in the open square at the city gate. He said to them, 7 “Be determined and confident, and don't be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. 8 He has human power, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” The people were encouraged by these words of their king.
9 Some time later, while Sennacherib and his army were still at Lachish, he sent the following message to Hezekiah and the people of Judah who were with him in Jerusalem: 10 “I, Sennacherib, Emperor of Assyria, ask what gives you people the confidence to remain in Jerusalem under siege. 11 Hezekiah tells you that the Lord your God will save you from our power, but Hezekiah is deceiving you and will let you die of hunger and thirst. 12 He is the one who destroyed the Lord's shrines and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship and burn incense at one altar only. 13 Don't you know what my ancestors and I have done to the people of other nations? Did the gods of any other nation save their people from the emperor of Assyria? 14 When did any of the gods of all those countries ever save their country from us? Then what makes you think that your god can save you? 15 Now don't let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like that. Don't believe him! No god of any nation has ever been able to save his people from any Assyrian emperor. So certainly this god of yours can't save you!”
16 The Assyrian officials said even worse things about the Lord God and Hezekiah, the Lord's servant. 17 The letter that the emperor wrote defied the Lord, the God of Israel. It said, “The gods of the nations have not saved their people from my power, and neither will Hezekiah's god save his people from me.” 18 The officials shouted this in Hebrew in order to frighten and discourage the people of Jerusalem who were on the city wall, so that it would be easier to capture the city. 19 They talked about the God of Jerusalem in the same way that they talked about the gods of the other peoples, idols made by human hands.
20 Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed to God and cried out to him for help. 21 The Lord sent an angel that killed the soldiers and officers of the Assyrian army. So the emperor went back to Assyria disgraced. One day when he was in the temple of his god, some of his sons killed him with their swords.
22 In this way the Lord rescued King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the power of Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, and also from their other enemies. He let the people live in peace[f] with all the neighboring countries. 23 Many people came to Jerusalem, bringing offerings to the Lord and gifts to Hezekiah, so that from then on all the nations held Hezekiah in honor.
Hezekiah's Illness and Pride
24 About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. He prayed, and the Lord gave him a sign that he would recover. 25 But Hezekiah was too proud to show gratitude for what the Lord had done for him, and Judah and Jerusalem suffered for it. 26 Finally, however, Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem humbled themselves, and so the Lord did not punish the people until after Hezekiah's death.
Hezekiah's Wealth and Splendor
27 King Hezekiah became very wealthy, and everyone held him in honor. He had storerooms built for his gold, silver, precious stones, spices, shields, and other valuable objects. 28 In addition, he had storehouses built for his grain, wine, and olive oil; barns for his cattle; and pens for his sheep. 29 Besides all this, God gave him sheep and cattle and so much other wealth that he built many cities. 30 It was King Hezekiah who blocked the outlet for Gihon Spring and channeled the water to flow through a tunnel to a point inside the walls of Jerusalem. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did, 31 and even when the Babylonian ambassadors came to inquire about the unusual event that had happened in the land, God let Hezekiah go his own way only in order to test his character.
The End of Hezekiah's Reign
32 Everything else that King Hezekiah did and his devotion to the Lord are recorded in The Vision of the Prophet Isaiah Son of Amoz and in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 Hezekiah died and was buried in the upper section of the royal tombs. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem paid him great honor at his death. His son Manasseh succeeded him as king.
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