2 Chronicles 29

Hezekiah purifies the temple

1Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 2He did what was right in the eyes of the  Lord, just as his father David had done.

3In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the  Lord and repaired them. 4He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side 5and said, ‘Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the  Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. 6Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the  Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the  Lord’s dwelling-place and turned their backs on him. 7They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. 8Therefore, the anger of the  Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. 9This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. 10Now I intend to make a covenant with the  Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11My sons, do not be negligent now, for the  Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.’

12Then these Levites set to work:

from the Kohathites,
Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah;
from the Merarites,
Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel;
from the Gershonites,
Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah;
13from the descendants of Elizaphan,
Shimri and Jeiel;
from the descendants of Asaph,
Zechariah and Mattaniah;
14from the descendants of Heman,
Jehiel and Shimei;
from the descendants of Jeduthun,
Shemaiah and Uzziel.

15When they had assembled their fellow Levites and consecrated themselves, they went in to purify the temple of the  Lord, as the king had ordered, following the word of the  Lord. 16The priests went into the sanctuary of the  Lord to purify it. They brought out to the courtyard of the  Lord’s temple everything unclean that they found in the temple of the  Lord. The Levites took it and carried it out to the Kidron Valley. 17They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of the  Lord. For eight more days they consecrated the temple of the  Lord itself, finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month.

18Then they went in to King Hezekiah and reported: ‘We have purified the entire temple of the  Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the consecrated bread, with all its articles. 19We have prepared and consecrated all the articles that King Ahaz removed in his unfaithfulness while he was king. They are now in front of the  Lord’s altar.’

20Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to the temple of the  Lord. 21They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs and seven male goats as a sin offering
Or purification offering; also in verses 23 and 24
for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the  Lord.
22So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and splashed it against the altar; next they slaughtered the rams and splashed their blood against the altar; then they slaughtered the lambs and splashed their blood against the altar. 23The goats for the sin offering were brought before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. 24The priests then slaughtered the goats and presented their blood on the altar for a sin offering to atone for all Israel, because the king had ordered the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel.

25He stationed the Levites in the temple of the  Lord with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the  Lord through his prophets. 26So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments, and the priests with their trumpets.

27Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the  Lord began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel. 28The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the musicians played and the trumpets sounded. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed.

29When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshipped. 30King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the  Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed down and worshipped.

31Then Hezekiah said, ‘You have now dedicated yourselves to the  Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank-offerings to the temple of the  Lord.’ So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank-offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings.

32The number of burnt offerings the assembly brought was seventy bulls, a hundred rams and two hundred male lambs – all of them for burnt offerings to the  Lord. 33The animals consecrated as sacrifices amounted to six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep and goats. 34The priests, however, were too few to skin all the burnt offerings; so their relatives the Levites helped them until the task was finished and until other priests had been consecrated, for the Levites had been more conscientious in consecrating themselves than the priests had been. 35There were burnt offerings in abundance, together with the fat of the fellowship offerings and the drink offerings that accompanied the burnt offerings.

So the service of the temple of the  Lord was re-established.
36Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.

2 Chronicles 30

Hezekiah celebrates the Passover

1Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the  Lord in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the  Lord, the God of Israel. 2The king and his officials and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month. 3They had not been able to celebrate it at the regular time because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. 4The plan seemed right both to the king and to the whole assembly. 5They decided to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the  Lord, the God of Israel. It had not been celebrated in large numbers according to what was written.

6At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read:

‘People of Israel, return to the  Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.
7Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the  Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the  Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated for ever. Serve the  Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9If you return to the  Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the  Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.’

10The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but people scorned and ridiculed them. 11Nevertheless, some from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. 12Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the  Lord.

13A very large crowd of people assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14They removed the altars in Jerusalem and cleared away the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.

15They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the temple of the  Lord. 16Then they took up their usual positions as prescribed in the Law of Moses the man of God. The priests splashed against the altar the blood handed to them by the Levites. 17Since many in the crowd had not consecrated themselves, the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all those who were not ceremonially clean and could not consecrate their lambs
Or consecrate themselves
to the  Lord.
18Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the  Lord, who is good, pardon everyone 19who sets their heart on seeking God – the  Lord, the God of their ancestors – even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.’ 20And the  Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

21The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great rejoicing, while the Levites and priests praised the  Lord every day with resounding instruments dedicated to the  Lord.
Or priests sang to the  Lord every day, accompanied by the Lord’s instruments of praise

22Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites, who showed good understanding of the service of the  Lord. For the seven days they ate their assigned portion and offered fellowship offerings and praised
Or and confessed their sins to
the  Lord, the God of their ancestors.

23The whole assembly then agreed to celebrate the festival seven more days; so for another seven days they celebrated joyfully. 24Hezekiah king of Judah provided a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep and goats for the assembly, and the officials provided them with a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep and goats. A great number of priests consecrated themselves. 25The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites and all who had assembled from Israel, including the foreigners who had come from Israel and also those who resided in Judah. 26There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling-place.

2 Chronicles 31

1When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property.

Contributions for worship

2Hezekiah assigned the priests and Levites to divisions – each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites – to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to minister, to give thanks and to sing praises at the gates of the  Lord’s dwelling. 3The king contributed from his own possessions for the morning and evening burnt offerings and for the burnt offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals as written in the Law of the  Lord. 4He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and Levites so that they could devote themselves to the Law of the  Lord. 5As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. 6The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah also brought a tithe of their herds and flocks and a tithe of the holy things dedicated to the  Lord their God, and they piled them in heaps. 7They began doing this in the third month and finished in the seventh month. 8When Hezekiah and his officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the  Lord and blessed his people Israel.

9Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps; 10and Azariah the chief priest, from the family of Zadok, answered, ‘Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the  Lord, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the  Lord has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.’

11Hezekiah gave orders to prepare storerooms in the temple of the  Lord, and this was done. 12Then they faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes and dedicated gifts. Konaniah, a Levite, was the overseer in charge of these things, and his brother Shimei was next in rank. 13Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath and Benaiah were assistants of Konaniah and Shimei his brother. All these served by appointment of King Hezekiah and Azariah the official in charge of the temple of God.

14Kore son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the East Gate, was in charge of the freewill offerings given to God, distributing the contributions made to the  Lord and also the consecrated gifts. 15Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shekaniah assisted him faithfully in the towns of the priests, distributing to their fellow priests according to their divisions, old and young alike.

16In addition, they distributed to the males three years old or more whose names were in the genealogical records – all who would enter the temple of the  Lord to perform the daily duties of their various tasks, according to their responsibilities and their divisions. 17And they distributed to the priests enrolled by their families in the genealogical records and likewise to the Levites twenty years old or more, according to their responsibilities and their divisions. 18They included all the little ones, the wives, and the sons and daughters of the whole community listed in these genealogical records. For they were faithful in consecrating themselves.

19As for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who lived on the farmlands around their towns or in any other towns, men were designated by name to distribute portions to every male among them and to all who were recorded in the genealogies of the Levites.

20This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the  Lord his God. 21In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

2 Chronicles 32

Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem

1After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities, thinking to conquer them for himself. 2When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to wage war against Jerusalem, 3he consulted with his officials and military staff about blocking off the water from the springs outside the city, and they helped him. 4They gathered a large group of people who blocked all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land. ‘Why should the kings
Hebrew; Septuagint and Syriac king
of Assyria come and find plenty of water?’ they said.
5Then he worked hard repairing all the broken sections of the wall and building towers on it. He built another wall outside that one and reinforced the terraces
Or the Millo
of the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields.

6He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: 7‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the  Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

9Later, when Sennacherib king of Assyria and all his forces were laying siege to Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah king of Judah and for all the people of Judah who were there:

10‘This is what Sennacherib king of Assyria says: on what are you basing your confidence, that you remain in Jerusalem under siege? 11When Hezekiah says, “The  Lord our God will save us from the hand of the king of Assyria,” he is misleading you, to let you die of hunger and thirst. 12Did not Hezekiah himself remove this god’s high places and altars, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before one altar and burn sacrifices on it”?

13‘Do you not know what I and my predecessors have done to all the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand? 14Who of all the gods of these nations that my predecessors destroyed has been able to save his people from me? How then can your god deliver you from my hand? 15Now do not let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my predecessors. How much less will your god deliver you from my hand!’

16Sennacherib’s officers spoke further against the  Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah. 17The king also wrote letters ridiculing the  Lord, the God of Israel, and saying this against him: ‘Just as the gods of the peoples of the other lands did not rescue their people from my hand, so the god of Hezekiah will not rescue his people from my hand.’ 18Then they called out in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to terrify them and make them afraid in order to capture the city. 19They spoke about the God of Jerusalem as they did about the gods of the other peoples of the world – the work of human hands.

20King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. 21And the  Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace. And when he went into the temple of his god, some of his sons, his own flesh and blood, cut him down with the sword.

22So the  Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them
Hebrew; Septuagint and Vulgate He gave them rest
on every side.
23Many brought offerings to Jerusalem for the  Lord and valuable gifts for Hezekiah king of Judah. From then on he was highly regarded by all the nations.

Hezekiah’s pride, success and death

24In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the  Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the  Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the  Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.

27Hezekiah had very great wealth and honour, and he made treasuries for his silver and gold and for his precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuables. 28He also made buildings to store the harvest of grain, new wine and olive oil; and he made stalls for various kinds of cattle, and pens for the flocks. 29He built villages and acquired great numbers of flocks and herds, for God had given him very great riches.

30It was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channelled the water down to the west side of the City of David. He succeeded in everything he undertook. 31But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

32The other events of Hezekiah’s reign and his acts of devotion are written in the vision of the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33Hezekiah rested with his ancestors and was buried on the hill where the tombs of David’s descendants are. All Judah and the people of Jerusalem honoured him when he died. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.

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