Reading 125/341, 2 Chronicles 29-31.11

...2 Chronicles...

Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the broad place on the east, and said to them, Hear me, you Levites; now sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. Therefore the wrath of the Lord was on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has delivered them to be tossed back and forth, to be an astonishment, and a hissing, as you see with your eyes. For, behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, that his fierce anger may turn away from us. My sons, do not be negligent now; for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him, to minister to him, and that you should be his ministers, and burn incense. Then the Levites arose, Mahath, the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites, and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehallelel, and of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah, and of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel, and of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah, and of the sons of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei, and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. They gathered their brothers, and sanctified themselves, and went in, according to the commandment of the king by the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord. The priests went in to the inner part of the house of the Lord, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the house of the Lord. The Levites took it, to carry it out abroad to the brook Kidron. Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the Lord, and they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end. Then they went in to Hezekiah the king within the palace, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels of it, and the table of bread of the Presence, with all the vessels of it. Moreover all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away when he trespassed, have we prepared and sanctified, and behold, they are before the altar of the Lord. Then Hezekiah the king arose early, and gathered the princes of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. They brought seven bulls, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven male goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom and for the sanctuary and for Judah. He commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of the Lord. So they killed the bulls, and the priests received the blood, and sprinkled it on the altar, and they killed the rams, and sprinkled the blood on the altar, they killed also the lambs, and sprinkled the blood on the altar. They brought near the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them, and the priests killed them, and they made a sin offering with their blood on the altar, to make atonement for all Israel; for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel. He set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet; for the commandment was of the Lord by his prophets. The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began also, and the trumpets, together with the instruments of David king of Israel. All the assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. When they had made an end of offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped. Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praises to the Lord with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. They sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped. Then Hezekiah answered, Now you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord; come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord. The assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings. The number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs, all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. The consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep. But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings, therefore their brothers the Levites helped them, until the work was ended, and until the priests had sanctified themselves; for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests. Also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings, and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, because of what God had prepared for the people, for the thing was done suddenly. Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the assembly in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves in sufficient number, nor had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. The thing was right in the eyes of the king and of all the assembly. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem, for they had not kept it in great numbers in such sort as it is written. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, You children of Israel, turn again to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may return to the remnant that have escaped of you out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. Do not be you like your fathers, and like your brothers, who trespassed against the Lord, the God of their fathers, so that he gave them up to desolation, as you see. Now do not you be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; but yield yourselves to the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. For if you turn again to the Lord, your brothers and your children shall find compassion before those who led them captive, and shall come again into this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him. So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, to Zebulun, but they ridiculed them, and mocked them. Nevertheless certain men of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. Also on Judah came the hand of God to give them one heart, to do the commandment of the king and of the princes by the word of the Lord. There assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great assembly. They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron. Then they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month, and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought burnt offerings into the house of the Lord. They stood in their place after their order, according to the law of Moses the man of God, the priests sprinkled the blood which they received of the hand of the Levites. For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves, therefore the Levites had the charge of killing the Passovers for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the Lord. For a multitude of the people, many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover otherwise than it is written. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, The good the Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, though not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. The Lord listened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. The children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments to the Lord. Hezekiah spoke comfortably to all the Levites who had good understanding in the service of the Lord. So they ate throughout the feast for the seven days, offering sacrifices of peace offerings, and making confession to the Lord, the God of their fathers. The whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days, and they kept other seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the assembly for offerings one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the princes gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep, and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. All the assembly of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the assembly who came out of Israel, and the immigrants who came out of the land of Israel, and who lived in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem; for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem. Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy habitation, to heaven. Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah, and broke in pieces the pillars, and hewed down the Asherim, and broke down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities. Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites after their divisions, every man according to his service, both the priests and the Levites, for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord. He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord. Moreover he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the law of the Lord. As soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, new wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field, and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. The children of Israel and Judah, who lived in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of dedicated things which were consecrated to the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps. In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord, and his people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. Azariah the chief priest, of the house of Zadok, answered him and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have eaten and had enough, and have left plenty, for the Lord has blessed his people, and what is left is this great store. Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them.

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