2 Chronicles 30; 2 Chronicles 31; 2 Chronicles 32

1 Hezekiah sent a message to all Israel and Judah and wrote letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. He invited them to come to the LORD's temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the LORD God of Israel. 2 The king, his officials, and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month. 3 They couldn't celebrate it at the regular time because not enough priests had performed the ceremonies to make themselves holy and the people hadn't gathered in Jerusalem. 4 The king and the whole assembly considered their plan to be the right thing to do. 5 So they decided to send an announcement throughout Israel from Beersheba to Dan. They summoned everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the LORD God of Israel. These people had not celebrated it in large numbers as the written instructions said they should. 6 Messengers took letters from the king and his officials throughout Israel and Judah. The king's order said, "Israelites, return to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Then he will return to the few of you who escaped from the power of the kings of Assyria. 7 Don't be like your ancestors and your relatives who were unfaithful to the LORD God of their ancestors. He made them something that shocks people, as you have seen. 8 Don't be impossible to deal with like your ancestors. Reach out for the LORD. Come to his holy place that he made holy forever. Serve the LORD your God, and he will turn his burning anger away from you. 9 When you return to the LORD, your relatives and children will find compassion from those who captured them. They will return to this land. The LORD your God is merciful and compassionate. He will not turn his face away from you if you return to him." 10 So the messengers went from city to city in the territories of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun. But the people ridiculed them. 11 However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also, God guided the people of Judah so that they united to carry out the command which the king and the leaders gave from the LORD's word. 13 Many people gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. They formed a large assembly. 14 Then the people got rid of the [idols'] altars in Jerusalem. They got rid of all the altars for incense by dumping them in the Kidron Valley. 15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed, so they performed the ceremonies to make themselves holy. Then they brought burnt offerings to the LORD's temple. 16 They stood in their regular places as instructed by Moses' Teachings. (Moses was a man of God.) The priests sprinkled the blood they received from the Levites. 17 Many people in the assembly had not made themselves holy. So the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all who weren't clean and couldn't make their lambs holy for the LORD. 18 Many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not made themselves clean. So they ate the Passover, but not in the way the written instructions said they should. Hezekiah prayed for them: "May the good LORD forgive 19 those who have their hearts set on dedicating their lives to serving God. May the LORD God of their ancestors do this for those who are not clean as required for the holy place." 20 The LORD listened to Hezekiah and healed the people. 21 So the Israelites in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. Each day the Levites and priests praised the LORD in song. They played the LORD's instruments loudly. 22 Hezekiah spoke encouraging words to all the Levites who had the skills to serve the LORD. They ate the festival meals for seven days, sacrificed fellowship offerings, and confessed their sins to the LORD God of their ancestors. 23 Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the festival for seven more days. So they joyfully celebrated for seven more days. 24 King Hezekiah of Judah provided 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep as sacrifices for the assembly. The leaders provided 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep for the assembly. So a large number of priests were able to perform the ceremonies to make themselves holy. 25 The whole assembly from Judah, the priests, the Levites, the whole assembly from Israel, the foreigners who came from Israel, and those who lived in Judah rejoiced. 26 The city of Jerusalem was filled with joy. Nothing like this had happened in Jerusalem since the days of King Solomon of Israel. 27 Then the Levitical priests blessed the people. Their voices were heard, and their prayers went to God's holy place in heaven.
1 When this was over, all the Israelites who were there went to the cities in Judah. They crushed the sacred stones, cut down the poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah, and tore down the illegal places of worship and the altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. The Israelites destroyed all of these things. Then all the Israelites returned to their own cities. Each person went to his own property. 2 Hezekiah assigned the priests and the Levites to divisions. Each priest or Levite was put in a division based on the service he performed: sacrificing burnt offerings, sacrificing fellowship offerings, serving, giving thanks, or praising within the gates of the LORD's camp. 3 He set aside part of the king's property for burnt offerings, the morning and evening offerings, burnt offerings on the weekly worship days, the New Moon Festivals, and the annual festivals, as it is written in the LORD's Teachings. 4 He told the people living in Jerusalem to give the priests and Levites the portions they were due so that they could devote themselves to the LORD's Teachings. 5 As soon as the word spread, the Israelites brought plenty of offerings from the first of their produce: grain, new wine, fresh olive oil, honey, and every crop from the fields. They brought large quantities, a tenth of everything. 6 The people of Israel and Judah who were living in the cities of Judah brought a tenth of their cattle and sheep and a tenth of the holy things they had dedicated to the LORD their God. They piled these holy things in heaps. 7 In the third month they started piling them up, and in the seventh month they finished. 8 When Hezekiah and the leaders saw the heaps, they praised the LORD and his people Israel. 9 Hezekiah asked the priests and the Levites about the heaps. 10 The chief priest Azariah from Zadok's family said, "Since the people started to bring the offerings to the LORD's temple, we have had all we wanted to eat and plenty to spare. The LORD has blessed his people, and there's a lot left over." 11 Then Hezekiah told them to prepare storerooms in the LORD's temple. After they had prepared them, 12 they faithfully brought in the contributions, the offerings of one-tenth of the crops, and the gifts dedicated to God. The Levite Conaniah was in charge of these things, and his brother Shimei was his assistant. 13 King Hezekiah and Azariah, who was in charge of God's temple, appointed Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah to serve under Conaniah and his brother Shimei. 14 Kore, son of Imnah the Levite, was the gatekeeper at East Gate and had to take care of the freewill offerings made to God. His responsibility was to distribute the offerings made to the LORD and the holy gifts dedicated to God. 15 Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah served under him in the cities belonging to the priests. They were to distribute the offerings faithfully to all their relatives, young and old, by their divisions. 16 They were appointed to distribute them to males who were at least three years old. The way they were enrolled in the genealogical records did not matter. The six men who served under Kore were to distribute the offerings to everyone who went to the LORD's temple to perform the daily service that each division was responsible for. 17 They were to distribute offerings to the priests who were enrolled by families and to the Levites who were at least 20 years old. Distribution was based on the way they served in their divisions. 18 The priests and Levites were enrolled with their wives, sons, daughters, and other people who depended on them--the whole community. The priests and Levites had to be faithful in keeping themselves holy for the holy work. 19 Men were appointed to give a portion of the offerings to all the males in the priestly families and to everyone listed in the genealogies of the Levites. These men were Aaron's descendants, priests who lived in the pasturelands of every Levite city. 20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah. He did what was good and right and true to the LORD his God. 21 Hezekiah incorporated Moses' Teachings and commands into worship and dedicated his life to serving God. Whatever he did for the worship in God's temple, he did wholeheartedly, and he succeeded.
1 After everything Hezekiah had done so faithfully, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to invade Judah. He set up camp [to attack] the fortified cities. He intended to conquer them himself. 2 When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come to wage war against Jerusalem, 3 he, his officers, and his military staff made plans to stop the water from flowing out of the springs outside the city. They helped him do it. 4 A large crowd gathered as they stopped all the springs and the brook that flowed through the land. They said, "Why should the kings of Assyria find plenty of water?" 5 Hezekiah worked hard. He rebuilt all the broken sections of the wall, made the towers taller, built another wall outside [the city wall], strengthened the Millo in the City of David, and made plenty of weapons and shields. 6 He appointed military commanders over the troops and gathered the commanders in the square by the city gate. He spoke these words of encouragement: 7 "Be strong and courageous. Don't be frightened or terrified by the king of Assyria or the crowd with him. Someone greater is on our side. 8 The king of Assyria has human power on his side, but the LORD our God is on our side to help us and fight our battles." So the people were encouraged by what King Hezekiah of Judah said. 9 After this, while King Sennacherib of Assyria and all his royal forces were attacking Lachish, he sent his officers to King Hezekiah of Judah and to all of the people in Judah who were in Jerusalem to say: 10 "This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: Why are you so confident as you live in Jerusalem while it is blockaded? 11 Isn't Hezekiah misleading you and abandoning you to die from hunger and thirst when he says, 'The LORD our God will rescue us from the king of Assyria?' 12 Isn't this the same Hezekiah who got rid of the LORD's places of worship and altars and told Judah and Jerusalem, 'Worship and sacrifice at one altar?' 13 Don't you know what I and my predecessors have done to the people of all other countries? Were any of the gods of these other nations ever able to rescue their countries from me? 14 Were the gods of these nations able to rescue their people from my control? My predecessors claimed and destroyed those nations. Is your God able to rescue you from my control? 15 Don't let Hezekiah deceive you or persuade you like this. Don't believe him. No god of any nation or kingdom could save his people from me or my ancestors. Certainly, your God will not rescue you from me!" 16 Sennacherib's officers said more against the LORD God and his servant Hezekiah. 17 Sennacherib wrote letters cursing the LORD God of Israel. These letters said, "As the gods of the nations in other countries couldn't rescue their people from me, Hezekiah's God cannot rescue his people from me." 18 Sennacherib's officers shouted loudly in the Judean language to the troops who were on the wall of Jerusalem. They tried to frighten and terrify the troops so that they could capture the city. 19 They spoke about the God of Jerusalem as if he were one of the gods made by human hands and worshiped by the people in other countries. 20 Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, prayed about this and called to heaven. 21 The LORD sent an angel who exterminated all the soldiers, officials, and commanders in the Assyrian king's camp. Humiliated, Sennacherib returned to his own country. When he went into the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him with a sword. 22 So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the people living in Jerusalem from King Sennacherib of Assyria and from everyone else. The LORD gave them peace with all their neighbors. 23 Many people still went to Jerusalem to bring gifts to the LORD and expensive presents to King Hezekiah of Judah. From then on, he was considered important by all the nations. 24 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was about to die. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But Hezekiah was conceited, so he didn't repay the LORD for his kindness. The LORD became angry with him, with Judah, and with Jerusalem. 26 Hezekiah and the people living in Jerusalem humbled themselves when they realized they had become conceited. So the LORD didn't vent his anger on them during Hezekiah's time. 27 Hezekiah became richer and was highly honored. He prepared storerooms for himself to hold silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and all kinds of valuables. 28 He made sheds to store his harvests of grain, new wine, and fresh olive oil, and he made barns for all his cattle and stalls for his flocks. 29 He made cities for himself because he had many sheep and cattle. God had given him a lot of property. 30 Hezekiah was the one who stopped the water from flowing from the upper outlet of Gihon. He channeled the water directly underground to the west side of the City of David. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did. 31 When the leaders of Babylon sent ambassadors to ask him about the miraculous sign that had happened in the land, God left him. God did this to test him, to find out everything that was in Hezekiah's heart. 32 Everything else about Hezekiah, including his devotion to God, is written in the vision of the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, and in the records of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33 Hezekiah lay down in death with his ancestors. He was buried in the upper tombs of David's descendants. When Hezekiah died, all of Judah and the people in Jerusalem honored him. His son Manasseh succeeded him as king.
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