2 Chronicles Chapter 29 to 30 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Hezekiah King of Judah

29 Hezekiah became king when he was 25 years old. He ruled 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah. Abijah was Zechariah’s daughter. 2Hezekiah did the things the Lord wanted him to do. He did what was right just like David his ancestor* had done. 3Hezekiah fixed the doors of the Lord’s temple* and made them strong. Hezekiah opened the temple again. He did this in the first month of the first year after he became king. 4–5Hezekiah got the priests and Levites together in one assembly. He had a meeting with them in the open yard on the east side of the temple. Hezekiah said to them, “Listen to me, Levites! Make yourselves ready for holy service. Make the temple of the Lord God ready for holy service. He is the God your ancestors obeyed. Take away the things from the temple that do not belong in there. Those things make the temple not pure. 6Our ancestors left the Lord and turned their faces away from the Lord’s house.* 7They shut the doors of the porch of the temple and 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. 8So, the Lord became very angry at the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The Lord punished them. Other peoples became afraid and were shocked when they saw what the Lord did to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Those other people shook their heads with hate and shame for the people of Judah. You know these things are true. You can see with your own eyes. 9And that is why our ancestors were killed in battle. Our sons and daughters and wives were made prisoners. 10So now I, Hezekiah, have decided to make an agreement with the Lord God of Israel. Then he will not be angry at us any more. 11So my sons,* don’t be lazy or waste any more time. The Lord chose you to serve him. {He chose you} to serve him {in the temple} and to burn incense.” 12–14This is a list of the Levites that were there that started to work: From the Kohath family there was Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah. From the Merari family there was Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel. From the Gershon family there was Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joab. From Elizaphan’s descendants* there was Shimri and Jeiel. From Asaph’s descendants there was Zechariah and Mattaniah. From Heman’s descendants there was Jehiel and Shimei. From Jeduthun’s descendants there was Shemaiah and Uzziel. 15Then these Levites gathered their brothers together and made themselves ready for holy service in the temple.* They obeyed the king’s command that came from the Lord. They went into the Lord’s temple to clean it. 16The priests went into the inside part of the Lord’s temple to clean it. They took out all the unclean* things they found in the Lord’s temple. They brought the unclean things to the yard of the Lord’s temple. Then the Levites took the unclean things out to the Kidron Valley. 17On the first day of the first month, the Levites began to make themselves ready for holy service. On the eighth day of the month, the Levites came to the porch of the Lord’s temple. For eight more days they cleaned the Lord’s temple to make it ready for holy use. They finished on the 16th day of the first month. 18Then they went to King Hezekiah. They said to him, “King Hezekiah, we cleaned all the Lord’s temple* and the altar* for burning offerings and all the things in the temple. We cleaned the table for the rows of bread with all the things used for that table. 19During the time that Ahaz was king, he rebelled against God. He threw away many of the things that were in the temple. But we fixed all of those things and made them ready for their special use. They are now in front of the Lord’s altar.” 20King Hezekiah gathered the city officials and went up to the temple* of the Lord early the next morning. 21They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven young male goats. These animals were for a sin offering for the kingdom of Judah, for the Holy Place* to make it clean, and for the people of Judah. King Hezekiah commanded the priests that were descendants* of Aaron to offer those animals on the Lord’s altar.* 22So the priests killed the bulls and kept the blood. Then they sprinkled the bulls’ blood on the altar. Then the priests killed the rams and sprinkled the rams’ blood on the altar. Then the priests killed the lambs and sprinkled the lambs’ blood on the altar. 23–24Then the priests brought the male goats in front of the king and the people assembled together. The goats were the sin offering. The priests put their hands on the goats and killed the goats. The priests made a sin offering with the goats’ blood on the altar. They did this so God would forgive the sins of the people of Israel. The king said that the burnt offering* and the sin offering should be made for all the people of Israel. 25King Hezekiah put the Levites in the Lord’s temple* with cymbals,* harps, and lyres* the way David, Gad the king’s seer,* and Nathan the prophet had commanded. This command came from the Lord through his prophets. 26So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments of music, and the priests stood ready with their trumpets. 27Then Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice* the burnt offering* on the altar.* When the burnt offering began, singing to the Lord began also. The trumpets were blown and the instruments of David king of Israel played. 28All the assembly bowed down, the musicians sang, and the trumpet players blew their trumpets until the burnt offering was finished. 29After the sacrifices* were finished, King Hezekiah and all the people with him bowed down and worshiped. 30King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to give praise to the Lord. They sang songs that David and Asaph the seer* had written. They praised God and became happy. They all bowed and worshiped God. 31Hezekiah said, “Now you people of Judah have given yourselves to the Lord. Come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the Lord’s temple.*” Then the people brought sacrifices and thank offerings. Any person who wanted to, also brought burnt offerings. 32This is how many burnt offerings the assembly brought to the temple: 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs. All these animals were sacrificed as burnt offerings to the Lord. 33The holy offerings for the Lord were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep and goats. 34But there were not enough priests to skin and cut up all the animals for the burnt offerings. So their relatives, the Levites, helped them until the work was finished and until other priests could make themselves ready for holy service. The Levites were more serious about making themselves ready to serve the Lord. They were more serious than the priests. 35There were many burnt offerings, and the fat of fellowship offerings, and drink offerings. So the service in the Lord’s temple began again. 36Hezekiah and the people were very happy about the things God prepared for his people. And they were happy he did it so quickly!

ancestor(s) Literally, “father(s),” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. altar(s) A stone table used for burning sacrifices offered as gifts to God. high places Places of worship. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweetsmelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. Lord’s house Another name for the temple in Jerusalem. burnt offering(s) Gifts to God. Usually these were animals that were killed and completely burned on the altar. Holy Place The room in the Holy Tent and in the temple that was used by the priests to do their daily service to God. my sons Here Hezekiah is speaking to the priests like a father to his sons. They are not really his children. descendants A person’s children and their future families. unclean Or, “unacceptable.” Not pure or not able to be used in worshiping God. See Lev. 11–15 for the Old Testament rules about clean and unclean things. cymbals A pair of metal platters that are hit against each other to make a loud sound. lyres An instrument with several strings, like a harp. seer This is another name for a prophet. See 1 Sam. 9:9–11. sacrifice(s) A gift to God. Usually, it was a special animal that was killed and burned on an altar.

Hezekiah Celebrates the Passover

30 King Hezekiah sent messages to all the people of Israel and Judah. He wrote letters to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh* also. Hezekiah invited all those people to come to the Lord’s temple* in Jerusalem so they all could celebrate the Passover* for the Lord God of Israel. 2King Hezekiah agreed with all his officials and all the assembly in Jerusalem to have the Passover in the second month. 3They could not celebrate the Passover Festival at the regular time. Why? Because not enough priests had made themselves ready for holy service. And another reason is the people had not gathered in Jerusalem. 4The agreement satisfied King Hezekiah and all the assembly. 5So they made an announcement everywhere in Israel, from the town of Beersheba all the way to the town of Dan. They told the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for the Lord God of Israel. A large group of the people of Israel had not celebrated the Passover since a long time ago the way the law of Moses said to celebrate it. 6So the messengers took the king’s letters all through Israel and Judah. This is what those letters said: Children of Israel, turn back to the Lord God that Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob) obeyed. Then God will come back to you people that are still alive and have escaped from the kings of Assyria. 7Don’t be like your fathers or your brothers. The Lord was their God, but they turned against him. So the Lord made people hate them and speak evil about them. You can see with your own eyes that this is true. 8Don’t be stubborn like your ancestors* were. But obey the Lord with a willing heart. Come to the Most Holy Place.* The Lord has made the Most Holy Place to be holy forever. Serve the Lord your God. Then the Lord’s fearful anger will turn away from you. 9If you come back and obey the Lord, then your relatives and your children will find mercy from the people that captured them. And your relatives and your children will come back to this land. The Lord your God is kind and merciful. He will not turn away from you if you come back to him. 10The messengers went to every town in the area of Ephraim and Manasseh. They went all the way to the area of Zebulun. But the people laughed at the messengers and made fun of them. 11But, some men from the areas of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. 12Also, in Judah God’s power united the people so that they would obey the king and his officials. In this way they obeyed the word of the Lord.13Many people came together at Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread* in the second month. It was a very large crowd. 14Those people took away the altars in Jerusalem that were for false gods. They also took away all the incense altars that were for false gods. They threw those altars into the Kidron Valley. 15Then they killed the Passover lamb on the 14th day of the second month. The priests and the Levites felt ashamed. They made themselves ready for holy service. The priests and the Levites brought burnt offerings* into the Lord’s temple.* 16They took their regular places in the temple the way the law of Moses, the man of God,* said. The Levites gave the blood to the priests. Then the priests sprinkled the blood on the altar.* 17There were many people in the group that had not made themselves ready for holy service, so they were not permitted to kill the Passover lambs. That is why the Levites were responsible for killing the Passover lambs for every person who was not clean. The Levites made each lamb holy for the Lord. 18–19Many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not prepared themselves in the right way for the Passover* Festival. They did not celebrate the Passover the right way, like the law of Moses says. But Hezekiah prayed for those people. So Hezekiah said this prayer, “Lord God, you are good. These people truly wanted to worship you in the right way, but they did not make themselves clean like the law says. Please forgive those people. You are the God that our ancestors* obeyed. Forgive, even if someone did not make himself clean like the rules of the Most Holy Place* say.” 20The Lord listened to King Hezekiah’s prayer. The Lord forgave the people. 21The children of Israel at Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread* for seven days. They were very happy. The Levites and the priests gave praise to the Lord every day with all their strength. 22King Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites that understood very well how to do the service of the Lord. The people celebrated the Festival for seven days and offered fellowship offerings. They gave thanks and praise to the Lord God of their ancestors.* 23All the people agreed to stay seven more days. They were joyful as they celebrated the Passover* for seven more days. 24Hezekiah king of Judah gave 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep to the assembly to kill and eat. The leaders gave 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep to the assembly. Many priests prepared themselves for holy service. 25All the assembly of Judah, the priests, the Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, and the travelers that came from Israel and moved to Judah—all those people were very happy. 26So there was much joy in Jerusalem. There was not anything like this celebration since the time of Solomon son of David king of Israel. 27The priests and the Levites stood up and asked the Lord to bless the people. God heard them. Their prayer came up to the Lord’s holy home in heaven.

Ephraim and Manasseh Joseph’s sons. Since these were the largest family groups, Ephraim and Manasseh sometimes means the whole northern kingdom of Israel. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. Passover An important holiday for Jews. They eat a special meal on this day every year to remember that God freed them from slavery in Egypt in the time of Moses. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. Most Holy Place The inside room where the Box of the Lord’s Agreement sat. It was also named the “Holy of Holies.” It was the spiritual place where God lived and was worshiped. Festival of Unleavened Bread Passover and the week following it. The people ate unleavened bread (bread made without yeast) to help them remember the time that God led the Israelites out of Egypt. The people did not have time to wait for the bread to rise because they were in such a hurry. burnt offering(s) Gifts to God. Usually these were animals that were killed and completely burned on the altar. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. man of God Another name for a prophet. altar(s) A stone table or a stand for offering sacrifices.

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