2 Chronicles 30; 2 Chronicles 31; 2 Chronicles 32

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. 18 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.
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.
1 After Hezekiah did all these things to serve the Lord, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and attacked Judah. He and his army surrounded and attacked the strong, walled cities, hoping to take them for himself. 2 Hezekiah knew that Sennacherib had come to Jerusalem to attack it. 3 So Hezekiah and his officers and army commanders decided to cut off the water from the springs outside the city. So the officers and commanders helped Hezekiah. 4 Many people came and cut off all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land. They said, "The king of Assyria will not find much water when he comes here." 5 Then Hezekiah made Jerusalem stronger. He rebuilt all the broken parts of the wall and put towers on it. He also built another wall outside the first one and strengthened the area that was filled in on the east side of the old part of Jerusalem. He also made many weapons and shields. 6 Hezekiah put army commanders over the people and met with them at the open place near the city gate. Hezekiah encouraged them, saying, 7 "Be strong and brave. Don't be afraid or worried because of the king of Assyria or his large army. There is a greater power with us than with him. 8 He only has men, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles." The people were encouraged by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. 9 After this King Sennacherib of Assyria and all his army surrounded and attacked Lachish. Then he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for King Hezekiah of Judah and all the people of Judah in Jerusalem: 10 Sennacherib king of Assyria says this: "You have nothing to trust in to help you. It is no use for you to stay in Jerusalem under attack. 11 Hezekiah says to you, 'The Lord our God will save us from the king of Assyria,' but he is fooling you. If you stay in Jerusalem, you will die from hun- ger and thirst. 12 Hezekiah himself removed your Lord's places of worship and altars. He told you people of Judah and Jerusalem that you must worship and burn incense on only one altar. 13 "You know what my ancestors and I have done to all the people in other nations. The gods of those nations could not save their people from my power. 14 My ancestors destroyed those nations; none of their gods could save them from me. So your god cannot save you from my power. 15 Do not let Hezekiah fool you or trick you, and do not be-lieve him. No god of any nation or kingdom has been able to save his people from me or my ancestors. Your god is even less able to save you from me." 16 Sennacherib's officers said worse things against the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah. 17 King Sennacherib also wrote letters insulting the Lord, the God of Israel. They spoke against him, saying, "The gods of the other nations could not save their people from me. In the same way Hezekiah's god won't be able to save his people from me." 18 Then the king's officers shouted in Hebrew, calling out to the people of Jerusalem who were on the city wall. The officers wanted to scare the people away so they could capture Jerusalem. 19 They spoke about the God of Jerusalem as though he were like the gods the people of the world worshiped, which are made by human hands. 20 King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed to heaven about this. 21 Then the Lord sent an angel who killed all the soldiers, leaders, and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So the king went back to his own country in disgrace. 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 in Jerusalem from Sennacherib king of Assyria and from all other people. He took care of them on every side. 23 Many people brought gifts for the Lord to Jerusalem, and they also brought valuable gifts to King Hezekiah of Judah. From then on all the nations respected Hezekiah. 24 At that time Hezekiah became so sick he almost died. When he prayed to the Lord, the Lord spoke to him and gave him a sign. 25 But Hezekiah did not thank God for his kindness, because he was so proud. So the Lord was angry with him and the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 26 But later Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem were sorry and stopped being proud, so the Lord did not punish them while Hezekiah was alive. 27 Hezekiah had many riches and much honor. He made treasuries for his silver, gold, gems, spices, shields, and other valuable things. 28 He built storage buildings for grain, new wine, and oil and stalls for all the cattle and pens for the sheep. 29 He also built many towns. He had many flocks and herds, because God had given Hezekiah much wealth. 30 It was Hezekiah who cut off the upper pool of the Gihon spring and made those waters flow straight down to the west side of the older part of Jerusalem. And Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. 31 But one time the leaders of Babylon sent messengers to Hezekiah, asking him about a strange signn that had happened in the land. When they came, God left Hezekiah alone to test him so he could know everything that was in Hezekiah's heart. 32 Hezekiah's love for God and the other things he did as king are written in the vision of the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. This is in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33 Hezekiah died and was buried on a hill, where the graves of David's ancestors are. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem honored Hezekiah when he died, and his son Manasseh became king in his place.
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