Hezekiah began to rule as king when he was 25 years old. He ruled for 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abijah, daughter of Zechariah.
He did what the LORD considered right, as his ancestor David had done.
In the first month of his first year as king, he opened the doors of the LORD's temple and repaired them.
He brought the priests and Levites together in the square on the east side [of the temple].
He said to them, "Listen to me, Levites. Perform the ceremonies to make the temple of the LORD God of your ancestors holy. Remove anything that has been corrupted from the holy place.
Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what the LORD our God considered evil. They deserted him. They turned away from the LORD's tent and turned their backs on him.
They also shut the doors of the [temple's] entrance hall, extinguished the lamps, and didn't burn incense or sacrifice burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.
So the LORD was angry with Judah and Jerusalem. He made them something that shocks and terrifies people and that people ridicule, as you can see with your own eyes.
Our fathers were killed in battle, and our sons, daughters, and wives are prisoners because of this.
Now I intend to make a pledge to the LORD God of Israel so that he may turn his burning anger away from us.
Don't be negligent, my sons. The LORD has chosen you to stand in front of him, serve him, be his servants, and burn sacrifices."
So the Levites started to work. From Kohath's descendants were Mahath, son of Amasai, and Joel, son of Azariah. From Merari's descendants were Kish, son of Abdi, and Azariah, son of Jehallelel. From Gershon's descendants were Joah, son of Zimmah, and Eden, son of Joah.
From Elizaphan's descendants were Shimri and Jeiel. From Asaph's descendants were Zechariah and Mattaniah.
From Heman's descendants were Jehiel and Shimei. From Jeduthun's descendants were Shemaiah and Uzziel.
These men gathered their relatives and performed the ceremonies to make themselves holy. Then they obeyed the king's order from the LORD's word and entered the temple to make it clean.
The priests entered the LORD's temple to make it clean. They carried into the courtyard every unclean thing that they found in the LORD's temple. Then the Levites took the unclean items outside the city to the Kidron Brook.
They started on the first day of the first month. On the eighth day they went into the LORD's entrance hall, and for eight days they performed the ceremonies to make the LORD's temple holy. They finished on the sixteenth day of the first month.
Then they went to King Hezekiah. They said [to him], "We have made all of the LORD's temple clean. This includes the altar for burnt offerings, all its utensils, the table for the rows of bread and all its utensils,
and all the utensils King Ahaz refused to use during his reign when he was unfaithful. We have restored them and made them holy. They are in front of the LORD's altar."
Early in the morning Hezekiah gathered the leaders of the city and went to the LORD's temple.
They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats as an offering for sin for the kingdom, the holy place, and Judah. Hezekiah told the priests, Aaron's descendants, to sacrifice the animals on the LORD's altar.
So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests sprinkled the blood on the altar. Then they slaughtered the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar. After that, they slaughtered the lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar.
Then they brought the male goats for the offering for sin in front of the king and the assembly, who laid their hands on them.
The priests slaughtered the goats and made their blood an offering for sin at the altar to make peace with the LORD for Israel. The king had said that the burnt offerings and offerings for sin should be for all Israel.
He had the Levites stand in the LORD's temple with cymbals, harps, and lyres as David, the king's seer Gad, and the prophet Nathan had ordered. This command came from the LORD through his prophets.
The Levites stood with David's instruments, and the priests had the trumpets.
Then Hezekiah ordered the sacrificing of burnt offerings on the altar. When the burnt offerings started, the songs to the LORD started. These songs were accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of King David of Israel.
The whole assembly bowed down with their faces touching the ground, singers began to sing, and the trumpets blew until the burnt offering was finished.
When the burnt offerings were finished, the king and everyone who was with him kneeled and bowed down.
Then King Hezekiah and the leaders told the Levites to praise the LORD with the words of David and the seer Asaph. They joyfully sang praises, bowed down, and worshiped.
Hezekiah said, "You have dedicated your lives to the LORD. Come, bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the LORD's temple." The assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and everyone who was willing brought burnt offerings.
The burnt offerings brought by the assembly totaled 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs. All of these were burnt offerings to the LORD.
The animals dedicated as holy sacrifices were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep.
But the priests needed more help to skin all the burnt offerings. So their relatives, the Levites, helped them until the work was completed and the priests could make themselves holy. The Levites were more diligent in making themselves holy than the priests were.
There were many burnt offerings in addition to the fat of the fellowship offerings and wine offerings that accompanied the burnt offerings. So the worship in the LORD's temple was reestablished.
Hezekiah and all the people were overjoyed because of what God had done for the people. Everything had happened so quickly.