In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired1 them.
He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side
and said: "Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate2 yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the LORD, the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.
Our fathers3 were unfaithful;4 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.
They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense5 or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel.
Therefore, the anger of the LORD has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror6 and scorn,7 as you can see with your own eyes.
This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.810
Now I intend to make a covenant9 with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger10 will turn away from us.
My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before him and serve him,11 to minister12 before him and to burn incense."
Then these Levites13 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 Eden14 son of Joah;
from the descendants of Elizaphan,15 Shimri and Jeiel; from the descendants of Asaph,16 Zechariah and Mattaniah;