2 Chronicles 30; 2 Chronicles 31; 2 Chronicles 32

1 Hezekiah sent a message to all of the people of Israel and Judah. He also wrote letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. He invited everyone to come to the LORD's temple in Jerusalem. He wanted them to celebrate the Passover Feast in honor of the Lord. He is the God of Israel. 2 The king, his officials and the whole community in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month. 3 They hadn't been able to celebrate it at the regular time. That's because there weren't enough priests who had set themselves apart to the Lord. Also, the people hadn't gathered together in Jerusalem. 4 The plan seemed good to the king and the whole community. 5 They decided to send a message all through Israel. It was sent out from Beersheba all the way to Dan. The message invited the people to come to Jerusalem. It invited them to celebrate the Passover in honor of the Lord, the God of Israel. The Passover hadn't been celebrated by large numbers of people for a long time. It hadn't been done in keeping with what was written in the law. 6 Messengers went all through Israel and Judah. They carried letters from the king and his officials. The king had ordered them to do that. The letters said, "People of Israel, return to the Lord. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Return to him. Then he will return to you who are left in the land. You have escaped from the power of the kings of Assyria. 7 "Don't be like the rest of your people and relatives. They weren't faithful to the Lord, the God of their people. That's why he punished them. He made them look so bad that everyone was shocked when they saw them. You can see it for yourselves. 8 "Don't be stubborn. Don't be as your people were. Obey the Lord. Come to the temple. He has set it apart to himself forever. Serve the LORD your God. Then he'll turn his burning anger away from you. 9 "Suppose you return to the Lord. Then those who captured your relatives and children will be kind to them. In fact, your relatives and children will come back to this land. The LORD your God is kind and tender. He won't turn away from you if you return to him." 10 The messengers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh. They went all the way to Zebulun. But the people made fun of them. They laughed at them. 11 In spite of that, some men from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun made themselves low in the LORD's sight. They went to Jerusalem. 12 God's powerful hand helped the people of Judah. He helped them agree with one another. So they did what the king and his officials had ordered. They did what the LORD told them to do. 13 A very large crowd of people gathered together in Jerusalem. They went there to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It took place in the second month. 14 They removed the altars in Jerusalem. They cleared away the altars for burning incense. They threw all of the altars into the Kidron Valley. 15 They killed the Passover lamb on the 14th day of the second month. The priests and Levites were filled with shame. They set themselves apart to the Lord. They brought burnt offerings to his temple. 16 Then they went to their regular positions. They did it just as the Law of Moses, the man of God, required. The Levites gave the blood of the animals to the priests. The priests sprinkled it on the altar. 17 Many people in the crowd hadn't set themselves apart to the Lord. They weren't "clean." They couldn't set their lambs apart to him. So the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all of them. 18 Many people came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun. Most of them hadn't made themselves pure and clean. But they still ate the Passover meal. That was against what was written in the law. But Hezekiah prayed for them. He said, "The LORD is good. May he forgive everyone 19 who wants to worship God with all his heart. God is the Lord, the God of their people. May he forgive them even if they aren't 'clean' in keeping with the rules of the temple." 20 The LORD answered Hezekiah's prayer. He healed the people. 21 The people of Israel who were in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They celebrated for seven days with great joy. The Levites and priests sang to the LORD every day. Their singing was accompanied by musical instruments. The instruments were used to praise the Lord. 22 Hezekiah spoke words that gave hope to all of the Levites. They understood how to serve the LORD well. For the seven days of the Feast they ate the share that was given to them. They also sacrificed friendship offerings. They praised the Lord, the God of their people. 23 Then the whole community agreed to celebrate the Feast for seven more days. So for another seven days they celebrated with joy. 24 Hezekiah, the king of Judah, provided 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep and goats for the community. The officials provided 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep and goats for them. A large number of priests set themselves apart to the Lord. 25 The entire community of Judah was filled with joy. So were the priests and Levites. And so were all of the people who had gathered together from Israel. That included the outsiders who had come from Israel. It also included those who lived in Judah. 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem. There hadn't been anything like it in Israel since the days of Solomon, the son of David. Solomon had been king of Israel. 27 The priests and Levites gave their blessing to the people. God heard them. Their prayer reached all the way to heaven. It's the holy place where he lives.
1 The Feast came to an end. The people of Israel who were in Jerusalem went out to the towns of Judah. They smashed the sacred stones. They cut down the poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah. They destroyed the high places and the altars. They did those things all through Judah and Benjamin. They also did them in Ephraim and Manasseh. They destroyed all of the objects that were used to worship other gods. Then the people returned to their own towns and property. 2 Hezekiah put the priests and Levites in groups based on their duties. The priests sacrificed burnt offerings and friendship offerings. The Levites served the LORD by giving thanks and singing praises at the gates of his house. 3 The king gave some of his own possessions to the temple. He gave them for the morning and evening burnt offerings. He gave them for the burnt offerings for every Sabbath day. He gave them for the burnt offerings for every New Moon feast. And he gave them for the burnt offerings for every yearly appointed feast. He did it in keeping with what is written in the Law of the Lord. 4 Hezekiah gave an order to the people who were living in Jerusalem. He commanded them to give to the priests and Levites the share they owed them. Then the priests and Levites could give their full attention to the Law of the Lord. 5 The order went out. Right away the people of Israel began to give freely. They gave the first share of the harvest of their grain, fresh wine, olive oil and honey. They also gave the first share of everything else their fields produced. They brought a large amount. It was a tenth of everything. 6 The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah brought a tenth of their herds and flocks. They also brought a tenth of the holy things they had set apart to the LORD their God. They put them in piles. 7 They began doing it in the third month. They finished in the seventh month. 8 Hezekiah and his officials came and saw the piles. When they did, they praised the Lord. And they blessed his people Israel. 9 Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the piles. 10 The chief priest Azariah answered him. He said, "The people have been bringing their gifts to the LORD's temple. Ever since they began to bring them, we've had enough to eat. We have even had plenty to spare. That's because the LORD has blessed his people. So we have a large amount left over." Azariah was from the family line of Zadok. 11 Hezekiah gave orders to prepare storerooms in the LORD's temple. And it was done. 12 The people were faithful. They brought in their offerings, a tenth of everything they produced, and the gifts they had set apart to the Lord. The Levite Conaniah was in charge of those things. His brother Shimei was next in command after him. 13 Conaniah and his brother Shimei had directors who worked under them. Their names were Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath and Benaiah. King Hezekiah and Azariah had appointed them. Azariah was the official who was in charge of God's temple. 14 The Levite Kore guarded the East Gate. He was in charge of the offerings people chose to give to God. He handed out the offerings that were made to the Lord. He also handed out the gifts that had been set apart to the Lord. Kore was the son of Imnah. 15 Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shecaniah helped Kore. They were faithful in helping him in the towns of the priests. They handed out gifts to their brother priests, group by group. They gave the gifts to young men and old men alike. 16 In addition to that, they handed out gifts to the males who were three years old or more. The names of those males were listed in their family history. All of them would enter the LORD's temple. They would carry out their duties each day. Each group did all of the different things it was supposed to do. 17 Kore and his Levite companions also handed out gifts to the priests. The priests were listed by their families in their family history. Those Levites also handed out gifts to the Levites who were 20 years old or more. Each group did all of the different things it was supposed to do. 18 Those groups included all of the little ones, the wives, and the sons and daughters of the whole community. All of them were listed in their family history. They were faithful in setting themselves apart to serve the Lord. 19 Some of the priests, who were from the family line of Aaron, lived in other towns or on farms around their towns. Men were chosen by name to hand out shares to those priests. They gave a share to every male among them. They also gave a share to everyone whose name was written down in the family history of the Levites. 20 That's what Hezekiah did all through Judah. He did what was good and right. He was faithful to the LORD his God. 21 He looked to his God. He worked for him with all his heart. That's the way he worked in everything he did to serve God's temple. He obeyed the law. He followed the LORD's commands. So he had success.
1 Hezekiah had been completely faithful to the Lord. But in spite of that, Sennacherib came and marched into Judah. He was the king of Assyria. He surrounded the cities that had high walls around them. He got ready to attack them. He thought he could win the battle over them. He thought he could take them for himself. 2 Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come to Jerusalem to make war against it. 3 So he asked his officials and military leaders for advice. He asked them about blocking off the water from the springs that were outside the city. They gave him the advice he asked for. 4 A large group of men gathered together. They blocked all of the springs. They also blocked the stream that flowed through the land. "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?" they asked. 5 Then Hezekiah worked hard repairing all of the broken parts of the wall. He built towers on it. He built another wall outside that one. He built up the areas that had been filled in around the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields. 6 He appointed military officers over the people. He gathered the officers together in front of him in the open area at the city gate. He gave them words of hope. He said, 7 "Be strong. Be brave. Don't be afraid. Don't lose hope. The king of Assyria has a huge army with him. But there's a greater power with us than there is with him. 8 The only thing he has is human strength. But the LORD our God is with us. He will help us. He'll fight our battles." The people had great faith in what Hezekiah, the king of Judah, said. 9 Later Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, and all of his forces surrounded Lachish. They got ready to attack it. At that time, he sent his officers to Jerusalem. They went there with a message for Hezekiah, the king of Judah. The message was also for all of the people of Judah who were there. The message said, 10 "Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, says, 'Why are you putting your faith in what your king says? Why do you remain in Jerusalem when you are surrounded? 11 " 'Hezekiah says, "The LORD our God will save us from the powerful hand of the king of Assyria." But he isn't telling you the truth. If you listen to him, you will die of hunger and thirst. 12 " 'Didn't Hezekiah himself remove your god's high places and altars? Didn't Hezekiah say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship at one altar. You must burn sacrifices on it"? 13 " 'Don't you know what I and the kings who ruled before me have done? Don't you know what we've done to all of the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to save their lands from my power? 14 The kings who ruled before me destroyed many nations. Which one of the gods of those nations has been able to save his people from me? So how can your god save you from my power? 15 " 'Don't let Hezekiah trick you. He's telling you lies. Don't believe him. No god of any nation or kingdom has been able to save his people from my power. No god has been able to save his people from the power of the kings who ruled before me. So your god won't save you from my power either!' " 16 Sennacherib's officers spoke even more things against the LORD God and his servant Hezekiah. 17 The king also wrote letters against the Lord. His letters made fun of the God of Israel. They said, "The peoples of other lands have their gods. But those gods didn't save their people from my powerful hand. So the god of Hezekiah won't save his people from my powerful hand either." 18 Then the officers called out in the Hebrew language to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall. They were trying to scare them and make them afraid. That's because they wanted to capture the city. 19 They were comparing the God of Jerusalem to the gods of the other nations of the world. But those gods were only statues. They had been made by the hands of men. 20 King Hezekiah cried out in prayer to God in heaven. He prayed about the problem Jerusalem was facing. So did the prophet Isaiah. He was the son of Amoz. 21 The LORD sent an angel. The angel wiped out all of the enemy's fighting men, leaders and officers. He put an end to them right there in the camp of the Assyrian king. So Sennacherib went back to his own land in shame. He went into the temple of his god. There some of his own sons cut him down with their swords. 22 So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. He saved them from the power of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. He also saved them from all of their other enemies. He took care of them on every side. 23 Many people brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord. They brought expensive gifts for Hezekiah, the king of Judah. From then on, all of the nations thought highly of him. 24 In those days Hezekiah became sick. He knew he was about to die. So he prayed to the Lord. And the LORD answered him. He gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But Hezekiah's heart was proud. He didn't give thanks for the many kind things the LORD had done for him. So the LORD became angry with him. He also became angry with Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah had a change of heart. He was sorry he had been proud. The people of Jerusalem were also sorry they had sinned. So the LORD wasn't angry with them as long as Hezekiah was king. 27 Hezekiah was very rich. He received great honor. He made storerooms for his silver and gold. He also made them for his jewels, spices, shields and all kinds of expensive things. 28 He made buildings to store the harvest of grain, fresh wine and olive oil. He made barns for all kinds of cattle. He made sheep pens for his flocks. 29 He built villages. He gained large numbers of flocks and herds. God had made him very rich. 30 Hezekiah blocked up the upper opening of the Gihon spring. He directed the water to flow down to the west side of the City of David. He had success in everything he did. 31 The rulers of Babylon sent messengers to him. They asked him about the miraculous sign that had taken place in the land. Then God left him to put him to the test. He wanted to know everything that was in his heart. 32 Hezekiah did many things that showed he was faithful to the Lord. Those things and the other events of his rule are written down. They are written in the record of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz. That record is part of the records of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33 Hezekiah joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried on the hill where the tombs of David's family are. The whole nation of Judah honored him when he died. So did the people of Jerusalem. Hezekiah's son Manasseh became the next king after him.
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