2 Chronicles 28; 2 Chronicles 29; 2 Chronicles 30; 2 Chronicles 31

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2 Chronicles 28

1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he ruled sixteen years in Jer-usalem. Unlike his ancestor David, he did not do what the Lord said was right.
2 Ahaz did the same things the kings of Israel had done. He made metal idols to worship Baal.
3 He burned incense in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and made his children pass through the fire. He did the same hateful sins as the nations had done whom the Lord had forced out of the land ahead of the Israelites.
4 Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense at the places where gods were worshiped, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
5 So the Lord his God handed over Ahaz to the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated Ahaz and took many people of Judah as prisoners to Damascus. He also handed over Ahaz to Pekah king of Israel, and Pekah's army killed many soldiers of Ahaz.
6 The army of Pekah son of Remaliah killed one hundred twenty thousand brave soldiers from Judah in one day. Pekah defeated them because they had left the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
7 Zicri, a warrior from Ephraim, killed King Ahaz's son Maaseiah. He also killed Azrikam, the officer in charge of the palace, and Elkanah, who was second in command to the king.
8 The Israelite army captured two hundred thousand of their own relatives. They took women, sons and daughters, and many valuable things from Judah and carried them back to Samaria.
9 But a prophet of the Lord named Oded was there. He met the Israelite army when it returned to Samaria and said to them, "The Lord, the God of your ancestors, handed Judah over to you, because he was angry with those people. But God has seen the cruel way you killed them.
10 Now you plan to make the people of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves, but you also have sinned against the Lord your God.
11 Now listen to me. Send back your brothers and sisters whom you captured, because the Lord is very angry with you."
12 Then some of the leaders in Ephraim -- Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai -- met the Israelite soldiers coming home from war.
13 They warned the soldiers, "Don't bring the prisoners from Judah here. If you do, we will be guilty of sin against the Lord, and that will make our sin and guilt even worse. Our guilt is already so great that he is angry with Israel."
14 So the soldiers left the prisoners and valuable things in front of the officers and people there.
15 The leaders who were named took the prisoners and gave those who were naked the clothes that the Israelite army had taken. They gave the prisoners clothes, sandals, food, drink, and medicine. They put the weak prisoners on donkeys and took them back to their families in Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned home to Samaria.
17 At that time the Edomites came again and attacked Judah and carried away prisoners. So King Ahaz sent to the king of Assyria for help.
18 The Philistines also robbed the towns in the western hills and in southern Judah. They captured the towns of Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo, and the villages around them. Then the Philistines lived in those towns.
19 The Lord brought trouble on Judah because Ahaz their king led the people of Judah to sin, and he was unfaithful to the Lord.
20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to Ahaz, but he gave Ahaz trouble instead of help.
21 Ahaz took some valuable things from the Temple of the Lord, from the palace, and from the princes, and he gave them to the king of Assyria, but it did not help.
22 During Ahaz's troubles he was even more unfaithful to the Lord.
23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of the people of Damascus, who had defeated him. He thought, "The gods of the kings of Aram helped them. If I offer sacrifices to them, they will help me also." But this brought ruin to Ahaz and all Israel.
24 Ahaz gathered the things from the Temple of God and broke them into pieces. Then he closed the doors of the Temple of the Lord. He made altars and put them on every street corner in Jerusalem.
25 In every town in Judah, Ahaz made places for burning sacrifices to worship other gods. So he made the Lord, the God of his ancestors, very angry.
26 The other things Ahaz did as king, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
27 Ahaz died and was buried in the city of Jerusalem, but not in the graves of the kings of Israel. Ahaz's son Hezekiah became king in his place.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Chronicles 29

1 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.
2 Hezekiah did what the Lord said was right, just as his ancestor David had done.
3 Hezekiah opened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them in the first month of the first year he was king.
4 Hezekiah brought in the priests and Levites and gathered them in the courtyard on the east side of the Temple.
5 Hezekiah said, "Listen to me, Levites. Make yourselves ready for the Lord's service, and make holy the Temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove from the Temple everything that makes it impure.
6 Our ancestors were unfaithful to God and did what the Lord said was wrong. They left the Lord and stopped worshiping at the Temple where he lives. They rejected him.
7 They shut the doors of the porch of the Temple, and they let the fire go out in the lamps. They stopped burning incense and offering burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel.
8 So the Lord became very angry with the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and he punished them. Other people are frightened and shocked by what he did to them. So they insult the people of Judah. You know these things are true.
9 That is why our ancestors were killed in battle and our sons, daughters, and wives were taken captive.
10 Now I, Hezekiah, have decided to make an agreement with the Lord, the God of Israel, so he will not be angry with us anymore.
11 My sons, don't waste any more time. The Lord chose you to stand before him, to serve him, to be his servants, and to burn incense to him."
12 These are the Levites who started to work. From the Kohathite family there were Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah. From the Merarite family there were Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel. From the Gershonite family there were Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah.
13 From Elizaphan's family there were Shimri and Jeiel. From Asaph's family there were Zechariah and Mattaniah.
14 From Heman's family there were Jehiel and Shimei. From Jeduthun's family there were Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 These Levites gathered their brothers together and made themselves holy for service in the Temple. Then they went into the Temple of the Lord to purify it. They obeyed the king's command that had come from the Lord.
16 When the priests went into the Temple of the Lord to purify it, they took out all the unclean things they found in the Temple of the Lord and put them in the Temple courtyard. Then the Levites took these things out to the Kidron Valley.
17 Beginning on the first day of the first month, they made the Temple holy for the Lord's service. On the eighth day of the month, they came to the porch of the Temple, and for eight more days they made the Temple of the Lord holy. So they finished on the sixteenth day of the first month.
18 Then they went to King Hezekiah and said, "We have purified the entire Temple of the Lord, the altar for burnt offerings and its utensils, and the table for the holy bread and all its utensils.
19 When Ahaz was king, he was unfaithful to God and removed some things from the Temple. But we have put them back and made them holy for the Lord. They are now in front of the Lord's altar."
20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the leaders of the city and went up to the Temple of the Lord.
21 They brought seven bulls, seven male sheep, seven lambs, and seven male goats. These animals were an offering to remove the sin of the people and the kingdom of Judah and to make the Temple ready for service to God. King Hezekiah commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these animals on the Lord's altar.
22 So the priests killed the bulls and sprinkled their blood on the altar. They killed the sheep and sprinkled their blood on the altar. Then they killed the lambs and sprinkled their blood on the altar.
23 Then the priests brought the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the people there. After the king and the people put their hands on the goats,
24 the priests killed them. With the goats' blood they made an offering on the altar to remove the sins of the Israelites so they would belong to God. The king had said that the burnt offering and sin offering should be made for all Israel.
25 King Hezekiah put the Levites in the Temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, as David, Gad, and Nathan had commanded. (Gad was the king's seer, and Nathan was a prophet.) This command came from the Lord through his prophets.
26 So the Levites stood ready with David's instruments of music, and the priests stood ready with their trumpets.
27 Then Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the singing to the Lord also began. The trumpets were blown, and the musical instruments of David king of Israel were played.
28 All the people worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters blew their trumpets until the burnt offering was finished.
29 When the sacrifices were completed, King Hezekiah and everyone with him bowed down and worshiped.
30 King Hezekiah and his officers ordered the Levites to praise the Lord, using the words David and Asaph the seer had used. So they praised God with joy and bowed down and worshiped.
31 Then Hezekiah said, "Now that you people of Judah have given yourselves to the Lord, come near to the Temple of the Lord. Bring sacrifices and offerings, to show thanks to him." So the people brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and anyone who was willing also brought burnt offerings.
32 For burnt offerings they brought a total of seventy bulls, one hundred male sheep, and two hundred lambs; all these animals were sacrificed as burnt offerings to the Lord.
33 The holy offerings totaled six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep and goats.
34 There were not enough priests to skin all the animals for the burnt offerings. So their relatives the Levites helped them until the work was finished and other priests could be made holy. The Levites had been more careful to make themselves holy for the Lord's service than the priests.
35 There were many burnt offerings along with the fat of fellowship offerings and drink offerings. So the service in the Temple of the Lord began again.
36 And Hezekiah and the people were very happy that God had made it happen so quickly for his people.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Chronicles 30

1 King Hezekiah sent messages to all the people of Israel and Judah, and he wrote letters to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh. Hezekiah invited all these people to come to the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for the Lord, the God of Israel.
2 King Hezekiah, his officers, and all the people in Jerusalem agreed to celebrate the Passover in the second month.
3 They could not celebrate it at the normal time, because not enough priests had made themselves ready to serve the Lord, and the people had not yet gathered in Jerusalem.
4 This plan satisfied King Hezekiah and all the people.
5 So they made an announcement everywhere in Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, telling the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for the Lord, the God of Israel. For a long time most of the people had not celebrated the Passover as the law commanded.
6 At the king's command, the messengers took letters from him and his officers all through Israel and Judah. This is what the letters said: People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Then God will return to you who are still alive, who have escaped from the kings of Assyria.
7 Don't be like your ancestors or your relatives. They turned against the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so he caused other people to be disgusted with them. You know this is true.
8 Don't be stubborn as your ancestors were, but obey the Lord willingly. Come to the Temple, which he has made holy forever. Serve the Lord your God so he will not be angry with you.
9 Come back to the Lord. Then the people who captured your relatives and children will be kind to them and will let them return to this land. The Lord your God is kind and merciful. He will not turn away from you if you return to him.
10 The messengers went to every town in Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the way to Zebulun, but the people laughed at them and made fun of them.
11 But some men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun were sorry for what they had done and went to Jerusalem.
12 And God united all the people of Judah in obeying King Hezekiah and his officers, because their command had come from the Lord.
13 In the second month a large crowd came together in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
14 The people removed the altars and incense altars to gods in Jerusalem and threw them into the Kidron Valley.
15 They killed the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, so they made themselves holy and brought burnt offerings into the Temple of the Lord.
16 They took their regular places in the Temple as the Teachings of Moses, the man of God, commanded. The Levites gave the blood of the sacrifices to the priests, who sprinkled it on the altar.
17 Since many people in the crowd had not made themselves holy, the Levites killed the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean. The Levites made each lamb holy for the Lord.
19 Although many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves for the feast, they ate the Passover even though it was against the law. So Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "Lord, you are good. You are the Lord, the God of our ancestors. Please forgive all those who try to obey you even if they did not make themselves clean as the rules of the Temple command."
20 The Lord listened to Hezekiah's prayer, and he healed the people.
21 The Israelites in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy to the Lord. The Levites and priests praised the Lord every day with loud music.
22 Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites who showed they understood well how to do their service for the Lord. The people ate the feast for seven days, offered fellowship offerings, and praised the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
23 Then all the people agreed to stay seven more days, so they celebrated with joy for seven more days.
24 Hezekiah king of Judah gave one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep to the people. The officers gave one thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep to the people. Many priests made themselves holy.
25 All the people of Judah, the priests, the Levites, those who came from Israel, the foreigners from Israel, and the foreigners living in Judah were very happy.
26 There was much joy in Jerusalem, because there had not been a celebration like this since the time of Solomon son of David and king of Israel.
27 The priests and Levites stood up and blessed the people, and God heard them because their prayer reached heaven, his holy home.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Chronicles 31

1 When the Passover celebration was finished, all the Israelites in Jerusalem went out to the towns of Judah. There they smashed the stone pillars used to worship gods. They cut down the Asherah idols and destroyed the altars and places for worshiping gods in all of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and homes.
2 King Hezekiah appointed groups of priests and Levites for their special duties. They were to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to worship, and to give thanks and praise at the gates of the Lord's house.
3 Hezekiah gave some of his own animals for the burnt offerings, which were given every morning and evening, on Sabbath days, during New Moons, and at other feasts commanded in the Lord's Teachings.
4 Hezekiah commanded the people living in Jerusalem to give the priests and Levites the portion that belonged to them. Then the priests and Levites could give all their time to the Lord's Teachings.
5 As soon as the king's command went out to the Israelites, they gave freely of the first portion of their grain, new wine, oil, honey, and everything they grew in their fields. They brought a large amount, one-tenth of everything.
6 The people of Israel and Judah who lived in Judah also brought one-tenth of their cattle and sheep and one-tenth of the holy things that were given to the Lord their God, and they put all of them in piles.
7 The people began the piles in the third month and finished in the seventh month.
8 When Hezekiah and his officers came and saw the piles, they praised the Lord and his people, the people of Israel.
9 Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the piles.
10 Azariah, the leading priest from Zadok's family, answered Hezekiah, "Since the people began to bring their offerings to the Temple of the Lord, we have had plenty to eat and plenty left over, because the Lord has blessed his people. So we have all this left over."
11 Then Hezekiah commanded the priests to prepare the storerooms in the Temple of the Lord. So this was done.
12 Then the priests brought in the offerings and the things given to the Lord and one-tenth of everything the people had given. Conaniah the Levite was in charge of these things, and his brother Shimei was second to him.
13 Conaniah and his brother Shimei were over these supervisors: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. King Hezekiah and Azariah the officer in charge of the Temple of God had chosen them.
14 Kore son of Imnah the Levite was in charge of the special gifts the people wanted to give to God. He was responsible for giving out the contributions made to the Lord and the holy gifts. Kore was the guard at the East Gate.
15 Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah helped Kore in the towns where the priests lived. They gave from what was collected to the other groups of priests, both young and old.
16 From what was collected, these men also gave to the males three years old and older who had their names in the Levite family histories. They were to enter the Temple of the Lord for their daily service, each group having its own responsibilities.
17 The priests were given their part of the collection, by families, as listed in the family histories. The Levites twenty years old and older were given their part of the collection, based on their responsibilities and their groups.
18 The Levites' babies, wives, sons, and daughters also got part of the collection. This was done for all the Levites who were listed in the family histories, because they always kept themselves ready to serve the Lord.
19 Some of Aaron's descendants, the priests, lived on the farmlands near the towns or in the towns. Men were chosen by name to give part of the collection to these priests. All the males and those named in the family histories of the Levites received part of the collection.
20 This is what King Hezekiah did in Judah. He did what was good and right and obedient before the Lord his God.
21 Hezekiah tried to obey God in his service of the Temple of God, and he tried to obey God's teachings and commands. He gave himself fully to his work for God. So he had success.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.