King Hezekiah now sent word to all Israel and Judah, and he wrote letters of invitation to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh. He asked everyone to come to the Temple of the at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the , the God of Israel.
The king, his officials, and all the community of Jerusalem decided to celebrate Passover a month later than usual.
References for 2 Chronicles 30:2
They were unable to celebrate it at the prescribed time because not enough priests could be purified by then, and the people had not yet assembled at Jerusalem.
This plan for keeping the Passover seemed right to the king and all the people.
So they sent a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north, inviting everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the , the God of Israel. The people had not been celebrating it in great numbers as required in the Law.
At the king’s command, runners were sent throughout Israel and Judah. They carried letters that said: “O people of Israel, return to the , the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he will return to the few of us who have survived the conquest of the Assyrian kings.
References for 2 Chronicles 30:6
Do not be like your ancestors and relatives who abandoned the , the God of their ancestors, and became an object of derision, as you yourselves can see.
Do not be stubborn, as they were, but submit yourselves to the . Come to his Temple, which he has set apart as holy forever. Worship the your God so that his fierce anger will turn away from you.
“For if you return to the , your relatives and your children will be treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.”
The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them.
However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.
At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the .
So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in midspring to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
References for 2 Chronicles 30:13
They set to work and removed the pagan altars from Jerusalem. They took away all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.
On the fourteenth day of the second month, one month later than usual, the people slaughtered the Passover lamb. This shamed the priests and Levites, so they purified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Temple of the .
References for 2 Chronicles 30:15
Then they took their places at the Temple as prescribed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites brought the sacrificial blood to the priests, who then sprinkled it on the altar.
Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the .
Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the , who is good, pardon those
who decide to follow the , the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.”
And the listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.
So the people of Israel who were present in Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Each day the Levites and priests sang to the , accompanied by loud instruments.
References for 2 Chronicles 30:21