and said: "Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate1 yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the LORD, the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.
Our fathers2 were unfaithful;3 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 incense4 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 horror5 and scorn,6 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.710
Now I intend to make a covenant8 with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger9 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,10 to minister11 before him and to burn incense."
Then these Levites12 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 Eden13 son of Joah;
from the descendants of Elizaphan,14 Shimri and Jeiel; from the descendants of Asaph,15 Zechariah and Mattaniah;
from the descendants of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; from the descendants of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel.
When they had assembled their brothers and consecrated themselves, they went in to purify16 the temple of the LORD, as the king had ordered, following the word of the LORD.