2 Chronicles 30

The people prepare for the Passover festival

1 Hezekiah sent a message to all the people of Israel and Judah. He also wrote letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. He told them to come to the Lord's temple in Jerusalem. They must come to worship the Lord, Israel's God, at the Passover festival. 2 The king, his officers and all the people who lived in Jerusalem decided to have the Passover festival in the second month. 3 Not enough priests had made themselves clean to serve the Lord. So they could not have the feast at the usual time. Also, all the people had not yet come to Jerusalem. 4 This idea seemed right to the king and to all the people. 5 So they sent a message with the king's command to all the people. They sent the message everywhere in Israel, from Beersheba to Dan. The message told the people to come to Jerusalem for the Passover festival to worship the Lord, Israel's God. Before that, they had not brought all the people together for the festival, as God's law taught them to do.

30:2The Passover feast was usually in the first month of the year, on the 14th day of Nisan (March or April).

6 So men took the letters from the king and his officers to all the people in Israel and Judah. The king's command said this:

‘A message to the people of Israel who have escaped from the power of the kings of Assyria. Turn back now to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Then he will turn back to you. 7 Do not be like your parents and your relatives. They turned away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors. That made him so angry that he punished them, as you can see. 8 Do not refuse to obey him, as your parents did. Instead, agree to serve him. Come to his temple. He has made it a holy place for ever. Serve the Lord your God so that he will stop being so angry with you. 9 If you turn back to serve the Lord again, your enemies will be kind to your relatives and to your children. They will let them return here to their homes. The Lord your God is kind and he is ready to forgive you. So if you turn back to him, he will not send you away.’

10 The men took this message to every town among the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as the tribe of Zebulun. But in all those places, people insulted them and they laughed at them. 11 But some people from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun were not too proud to accept the king's message. They agreed to come to Jerusalem. 12 As for the people of Judah, God caused them to accept the command that the king and his officers had given. They all agreed together to do what the Lord wanted them to do.

30:12The tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Zebulun and Asher belonged to the kingdom of Israel in the north. The people of the kingdom of Judah were more ready to do what King Hezekiah commanded.

13 In the second month of the year, a very large crowd of people came together in Jerusalem. They came there for the Festival of Flat Bread. 14 They removed the altars for false gods that were in Jerusalem. They also removed all the altars where people burned incense. They threw them into the Kidron Valley.

30:13The Passover feast came at the end of the festival of Flat Bread. During the seven days they ate bread which had no yeast in it.

15 On the 14th day of the second month, they killed the lamb for the Passover feast. The priests and the Levites who were not yet clean became ashamed. So they made themselves clean to serve the Lord. Then they could bring burnt offerings to the Lord's temple. 16 They stood in their proper places. God's servant Moses had written in God's law where they should stand. The Levites gave the blood from the sacrifices to the priests. The priests then splashed the blood on the altar. 17 Many of the people had not made themselves properly clean. So they could not kill their lambs for the Passover and offer them to the Lord. The Levites had to kill the lambs for those people instead. 18 Most of the people who came from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not made themselves properly clean. They should not have eaten the Passover meal, because God's law said that was wrong. But they still ate the meal. So Hezekiah prayed for them. He said, ‘Lord you are good. Please forgive everyone 19 who really wants to obey you, the God of their ancestors. If they have not made themselves properly clean to eat this meal, please forgive them.’ 20 The Lord accepted Hezekiah's prayer. He did not punish those people.

21 The Israelites who were in Jerusalem enjoyed the Festival of Flat Bread for seven days. They were very happy. Every day, the Levites and the priests made loud music to praise the Lord.

22 All the Levites understood how they should serve the Lord. So King Hezekiah thanked them. The festival continued for seven days. They offered friendship offerings to the Lord. They thanked the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

23 Then all the people who were there agreed to continue the feast for another seven days. So they did that happily for seven more days. 24 King Hezekiah of Judah gave 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep to the people. The leaders also gave them 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. Many more priests also made themselves clean to serve the Lord.

25 Everyone at the festival was very happy. They included all Judah's people, the priests, the Levites and the whole group of people who had come from Israel. There were also foreign people who were living in Israel and in Judah. 26 Everyone enjoyed the festival in Jerusalem. Nothing like this had happened in Jerusalem since the time when David's son Solomon was king of Israel. 27 The priests and the Levites stood up and they asked God to bless the people. Their prayers reached the Lord's home in heaven, and he did what they asked for.