2 Chronicles Chapter 31 to 32 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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King Hezekiah Makes Improvements

31 The Passover* celebration was finished. The people of Israel that were in Jerusalem for Passover went out to the towns of Judah. Then they smashed the stone idols that were in those towns. Those stone idols were used to worship false gods. Those people also cut down the Asherah Poles.* And they destroyed the high places* and the altars* all through the areas of Judah and Benjamin. The people did the same things in the area of Ephraim and Manasseh. The people did these things until they destroyed all the things used for worshiping the false gods. Then all the Israelites went back home to their own towns. 2The priests and Levites had been divided into groups and each group had its own special job to do. So King Hezekiah told these groups to begin doing their jobs again. So the priests and Levites again had the job of offering the burnt offerings* and the fellowship offerings. And they had the job of serving in the temple and singing and praising God by the doors to the Lord’s house.* 3Hezekiah gave some of his own animals to be offered as the burnt offerings. These animals were used for the daily burnt offerings that were given each morning and each evening. These animals were offered on the Sabbath days,* during the New Moon* Festivals and the other Special Meetings.* This was done as it is written in the Lord’s law. 4The people were supposed to give a part of their crops and things to the priests and Levites. So Hezekiah commanded the people living in Jerusalem to give them their share. In that way, the priests and Levites could spend all of their time doing what the Law told them to do. 5People all around the country heard about this command. So the people of Israel gave the first part of their harvest of grain, grapes, oil, honey, and all the things they grew in their fields. They brought one tenth of all these many things. 6The men of Israel and Judah living in the towns of Judah also brought one tenth of their cattle and sheep. They also brought one tenth of the things that were put in a special place that was only for the Lord. All these things they brought to the Lord their God. They put all these things in piles. 7The people began to bring those things in the third month (May/June) and they finished bringing the collection in the seventh month (September/October) 8When Hezekiah and the leaders came, they saw the piles of things that were collected. They praised the Lord and his people, the people of Israel. 9Then Hezekiah asked the priests and the Levites about the piles of things. 10Azariah the high priest from Zadok’s family said to Hezekiah, “From the time that the people started bringing the offerings into the Lord’s house, we have had plenty to eat. We have eaten until we are full and there is still plenty left over! The Lord has really blessed his people. That is why we have so much left over.” 11Then Hezekiah commanded the priests to make storerooms ready in the Lord’s temple.* So this was done. 12Then the priests brought the offerings, tithes,* and other things that were to be given only to the Lord. All those things collected were put in the storerooms in the temple. Conaniah the Levite was in charge of all those things that were collected. Shimei was second in charge of those things. Shimei was Conaniah’s brother. 13Conaniah and his brother Shimei were supervisors of these men: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. Hezekiah the king and Azariah the official in charge of God’s temple chose those men. 14Kore was in charge of the offerings that the people freely gave to God. He was responsible for giving out the collections that were given to the Lord. And he was responsible for giving out the gifts that were made holy for the Lord. Kore was the gatekeeper at the East Gate. His father’s name was Imnah the Levite. 15Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah helped Kore. Those men served faithfully in the towns where the priests were living. They gave the collection of things to their relatives in each group of priests. They gave the same things to the more important people and to the less important. 16These men also gave the collection of things to the males three years old and older that had their names in the Levite family histories. All these males were to enter the Lord’s temple for daily service to do the things they were responsible to do. Each group of Levites had their own responsibility. 17The priests were given their part of the collection. This was done by families, in the way they were listed in the family histories. The Levites 20 years old and older were given their part of the collection. This was done by their responsibilities and by their groups. 18The 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. This was because the Levites were faithful to always keep themselves holy and ready for service. 19Some of Aaron’s descendants,* the priests, had some farm fields near the towns where the Levites were living. And some of Aaron’s descendants were also living in the towns. Men were chosen by name in each of those towns to give part of the collection to these descendants of Aaron. Males and all those named in the family histories of the Levites got part of the collection. 20So King Hezekiah did those good things in all Judah. He did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21He had success in every work he began—the service of God’s temple* and in obeying the law and commands, and in following his God. Hezekiah did all these things with all his heart.

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. Asherah Poles Poles used to honor the goddess Asherah. People thought she could help them have many children. high places Places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. altar(s) A stone table used for burning sacrifices offered as gifts to God. burnt offering(s) Gifts to God. Usually these were animals that were killed and completely burned on the altar. Lord’s house Or “Lord’s Camp,” that is, the courtyard of the temple in Jerusalem. Sabbath days Special days of rest and worship for the Jews. Usually this means Saturday. New Moon The first day of the Hebrew month. There were special meetings on these days when the people shared fellowship offerings as part of their worship to God. Special Meetings Holidays such as Passover. Many of these holidays were at the time of the full moon. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. tithes One tenth of a person’s crops or animals. descendants A person’s children and their future families.

The King of Assyria Troubles Hezekiah

32 After all these things that Hezekiah had faithfully done happened, Sennacherib king of Assyria came to attack the country of Judah. Sennacherib and his army camped outside the fortresses.* He did this so he could make plans to defeat those towns. Sennacherib wanted to win those towns for himself. 2Hezekiah knew that Sennacherib came to Jerusalem to attack it. 3Then Hezekiah talked to his officials and army officers. They all agreed to stop the waters of the water springs outside the city. Those officials and army officers helped Hezekiah. 4Many people came together and stopped all the springs and the stream that flowed through the middle of the country. They said, “The king of Assyria will not find much water when he comes here!” 5Hezekiah made Jerusalem stronger. This is how he did it: He built again all the parts of the wall that were broken down. He built towers on the wall. He also built another wall outside the first wall. He built again the strong places on the east side of the old part of Jerusalem. He made many weapons and shields. 6–7Hezekiah chose officers of war to be in charge of the people. He met with these officers at the open place near the city gate. Hezekiah talked to those officers and encouraged them. He said, “Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid or worry about the king of Assyria or the large army with him. There is a greater power with us than the king of Assyria has with him! 8The king of Assyria only has men. But we have the Lord our God with us! Our God will help us. He will fight our battles!” So Hezekiah king of Judah encouraged the people and made them feel stronger. 9Sennacherib king of Assyria and all his army were camped near the town of Lachish so they could defeat it. Then Sennacherib sent his officers to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all the people of Judah in Jerusalem. Sennacherib’s officers had a message for Hezekiah and all the people in Jerusalem. 10They said, “Sennacherib king of Assyria says this: ‘What do you trust in that makes you stay under attack in Jerusalem? 11Hezekiah is fooling you. You are being tricked into staying in Jerusalem so you will die from hunger and thirst. Hezekiah says to you, “The Lord our God will save us from the king of Assyria.” 12Hezekiah himself took away the Lord’s high places* and altars.* He told you people of Judah and Jerusalem that you must worship and burn incense* on only one altar. 13Of course, you know what my ancestors* and I have done to all the peoples in other countries. The gods of the other countries could not save their people. Those gods could not stop me from destroying their people. 14My ancestors destroyed those countries. There is no god that can stop me from destroying his people. So you think your god can save you from me? 15Do not let Hezekiah fool you or trick you. Don’t believe him because no god of any nation or kingdom has ever been able to keep his people safe from me or my ancestors. So don’t think your god can stop me from destroying you.’” 16The officers of the king of Assyria said worse things against the Lord God and against Hezekiah, God’s servant. 17The king of Assyria also wrote letters that insulted the Lord God of Israel. This is what the king of Assyria said in those letters: “The gods of the other nations could not stop me from destroying their people. In the same way Hezekiah’s god won’t be able to stop me from destroying his people.” 18Then the king of Assyria’s officers shouted loudly to the people of Jerusalem that were on the city wall. Those officers used the Hebrew language when they shouted to the people on the wall. Those officers of the king of Assyria did this to make the people of Jerusalem afraid. They said those things so they could capture the city of Jerusalem. 19Those officers said bad things against the gods the people of the world worshiped. Those gods are only things people made with their hands. In the same way, those officers said the same bad things against the God of Jerusalem. 20Hezekiah the king and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed about this problem. They prayed very loudly to heaven. 21Then the Lord sent an angel to the king of Assyria’s camp. That angel killed all the soldiers and the leaders and the officers in the Assyrian army. So the king of Assyria went back home to his own country, and his people were ashamed of him. He went into the temple of his god and some of his own sons killed him there with a sword. 22So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people in Jerusalem from Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from all other people. The Lord cared for Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. 23Many people brought gifts for the Lord to Jerusalem. They brought valuable things to Hezekiah king of Judah. From that time on, all the nations respected Hezekiah. 24It was in those days that Hezekiah became very sick and near death. He prayed to the Lord. The Lord spoke to Hezekiah and gave him a sign.* 25But Hezekiah’s heart was proud, so he did not give God thanks for God’s kindness. This is why God was angry at Hezekiah and at the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 26But Hezekiah and those people living in Jerusalem changed their hearts and lives. They became humble and stopped being proud. So the Lord’s anger didn’t come on them while Hezekiah was alive. 27Hezekiah had very much riches and honor. He made places to keep silver, gold, valuable jewels, spices, shields, and all kinds of things. 28Hezekiah had storage buildings for the grain, new wine, and oil that people sent to him. He had stalls for all the cattle and stalls for the sheep. 29Hezekiah also built many towns, and he got many flocks of sheep and cattle. God gave Hezekiah very much wealth. 30It was Hezekiah that stopped up the upper source of the waters of the Gihon spring in Jerusalem and made those waters flow straight down on the west side of David’s city. And Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. 31One time the leaders of Babylon sent messengers to Hezekiah. Those messengers asked about a strange sign that had happened in the nations.* When they came, God left Hezekiah alone to test him and to know everything that was in Hezekiah’s heart.* 32The others things that Hezekiah did and how he loved the Lord are written in the book, The Vision of the Isaiah Son of Amoz and in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33Hezekiah died and was buried with his ancestors.* The people buried Hezekiah on the hill where the graves of David’s ancestors are. All the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem gave honor to Hezekiah when he died. Manasseh became the new king in Hezekiah’s place. Manasseh was Hezekiah’s son.

fortress(es) A building or city with tall, strong walls for protection. high places Places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. altar(s) A stone table used for burning sacrifices offered as gifts to God. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweetsmelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. The Lord spoke … sign See Isaiah 38:1–8 for the story about Hezekiah and how the Lord gave Hezekiah 15 more years to live. a strange sign … nations See Isaiah 38:1–8. in Hezekiah’s heart See 2 Kings 20:12–19.

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