2 Chronicles 29
Hezekiah does what gives pleasure to the Lord
1 Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to rule. And he ruled in Jerusalem for 29 years. His mother's name was Abijah. She was the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did as his ancestor David had done. He did the things that gave pleasure to the Lord.
29:1Hezekiah became king when Ahaz died in about 715 BC.
Hezekiah tells the Levites that they must make the temple clean
3 He opened the doors of the Lord's house in the first year that he was king, in the first month. And he did repairs to them. 4 He brought the priests and the Levites together in the place at the east side of the temple. 5 He said to them, ‘Listen to me you Levites. Make yourselves holy and make the house holy too. It is the house of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Take out of that holy place anything that is not holy.’
Why God was angry with Judah
6 ‘Our ancestors have not done the right things. They did very wrong things that the Lord our God did not like. They stopped worshipping him. And they turned away from the Lord's temple. 7 They also shut the doors of the temple and they stopped burning oil in the lamps. They did not burn oils with sweet smells there. And they have not given sacrifices by fire in the holy place to the God of Israel. 8 So the Lord has become angry with Judah and Jerusalem. He made them places where nobody wants to be. You can see this with your own eyes. 9 So our fathers died while they were fighting our enemies. And our sons, our daughters and our wives are in foreign countries because of it. 10 Now I want to give a promise to the Lord Israel's God. Then he will stop being very angry with us.’
The Levites must make the temple clean
11 ‘My sons, the Lord has chosen you to stand in front of him. He has chosen you to work for him and to be his servants. And he has chosen you to burn oils with sweet smells to him. So do not waste any time.’
12 Then these Levites began to work.
From Kohath's clan, there were Amasai's son Mahath and Azariah's son Joel.
From Merari's clan, there were Abdi's son Kish and Jehallelel's son Azariah.
From Gershon's clan, there were Zimmah's son Joah and Joah's son Eden.
13 From Elizaphan's clan, there were Shimri and Jeiel.
From Asaph's clan, there were Zechariah and Mattaniah.
14 From Heman's clan, there were Jehiel and Shimei.
And from Jeduthun's clan, there were Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 They brought all the Levites together and all the Levites made themselves holy. Then they went in to clean the Lord's house and to make it holy. The Lord had told the king that he should do that. 16 The priests went into the inside part of the Lord's house to clean it. They found things in the Lord's temple that were not holy. They carried all those things into the yard of the Lord's house. Then the Levites took them away to the Kidron Valley. 17 They began to make the temple holy on the first day of the first month. On the eighth day of the month they reached the door of the Lord's house. In 8 more days they had made all the house of the Lord holy. And on the 16th day of the first month they had finished the work.
18 Then they went to King Hezekiah and they said, ‘We have made the whole house of the Lord clean and holy. That includes the altar for sacrifices by fire with all its tools. And it includes the table for the holy bread and all its tools. 19 King Ahaz removed many things from the Lord's house when he stopped worshipping his God. We have prepared all those things and we have made them holy again. They are now in front of the Lord's altar.’
The king and the people give sacrifices to God to make the temple ready for worship
20 King Hezekiah got up early the next morning and he brought the leaders of the city together. Then he and all the leaders went to the Lord's house. 21 They brought with them 7 bulls, 7 male sheep, 7 young sheep and 7 young male goats. These animals were for a sin offering for the kingdom, for the holy place and for Judah. The king told the priests, Aaron's descendants, that they must sacrifice these on the Lord's altar. 22 So they killed the bulls and the priests took the blood. They threw the blood on the altar. Then they killed the male sheep and the priests threw their blood on the altar. Then they killed the young male sheep and the priests threw their blood on the altar. 23 Then the king and the people who were there put their hands on the male goats. They were a sacrifice for sin. 24 Then the priests killed them. They put their blood on the altar as a sacrifice for the sins of all the people of Israel. That was because the king had said, ‘You must give the sacrifice by fire and the sacrifice for sin to God for all Israel.’
25 The king caused the Levites to stand in the Lord's house with their cymbals, harps and lyres to make music. They stood as David and David's prophet Gad and the prophet Nathan had told them. The Lord had used his prophets to tell people how they should do it. 26 The Levites were standing ready with David's things to make music and the priests were ready with their trumpets.
27 Then Hezekiah told the priests that they should give the sacrifice by fire on the altar. When they began to give the sacrifice by fire, the singers began to sing to the Lord. The sound of the trumpets also began. And the people with the things of David, the king of Israel, began to make music with them. 28 All the people were worshipping the Lord. At the same time the singers were singing and the priests were making a sound with their trumpets. Everybody did that until the end of the sacrifices by fire.
All the people praise the Lord and they bring offerings to him
29 At the end of the sacrifices by fire, the king and everyone with him bent their bodies to worship. 30 King Hezekiah and his officers told the Levites that they must sing praises to the Lord. ‘Use the words of King David and of the prophet Asaph,’ they said. So the Levites praised God and they bent their bodies to worship God. And they were very happy.
31 Then Hezekiah said, ‘Now you have given yourselves to the Lord. Come near and bring sacrifices and offerings to thank the Lord into his house.’ So all the people brought their sacrifices and their offerings to thank the Lord. And everyone who wanted to do it also brought sacrifices by fire.
32 For sacrifices by fire, the people brought 70 bulls, 100 male sheep and 200 young sheep. All these animals were for a sacrifice by fire to the Lord. 33 They also put to one side 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep and goats for sacrifices. 34 But there were not enough priests to take the skin off all the animals for the sacrifices by fire. So the Levites helped them until they had finished the work. By that time more priests had made themselves holy to work for the Lord. (The Levites had been more careful to make themselves holy than the priests had been.) 35 There were many sacrifices by fire. Also, there was the fat of the friendship offerings. They also poured the proper offerings of wine with the sacrifices by fire.
That is how they again began to worship in the Lord's house. 36 Hezekiah and all the people were happy because God had helped them to do it so quickly.