Hezekiah, King of Judah
1 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. 2 Hezekiah did what the LORD wanted him to do. He did what was right just as David his ancestor had done.
3 Hezekiah repaired the doors of the LORD’S Temple and made them strong. He opened the Temple again. He did this in the first month of the first year after he became king. 4-5 Hezekiah called the priests and Levites together in one assembly. He had a meeting with them in the courtyard 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 don’t belong in there. These things make the Temple unclean. 6 Our ancestors were not faithful and did what the LORD says is evil. They stopped following him. They no longer paid any attention to the LORD’S house* LORD’S house Another name for the Temple in Jerusalem. and turned their backs on him. 7 They 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. 8 So the LORD became very angry with the people of Judah and Jerusalem. He punished them so badly that it shocks and scares people to hear about it. But then they just laugh and shout their own insults against Judah. You know this is true. You have seen it happen. 9 That is why our ancestors were killed in battle. Our sons, daughters, and wives were made prisoners. 10 So now I, Hezekiah, have decided to make an agreement with the LORD, the God of Israel. Then he will not be angry with us anymore. 11 So my sons,† my sons Here, Hezekiah is speaking to the priests like a father to his sons. They are not really his children. don’t be lazy or waste any more time. The LORD chose you to serve him in the Temple and to burn incense.”
12-14 This is a list of the Levites who started to work:
From the Kohath family there were Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah.
From the Merari family there were Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel.
From the Gershon family there were Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joab.
From Elizaphan’s descendants there were Shimri and Jeiel.
From Asaph’s descendants there were Zechariah and Mattaniah.
From Heman’s descendants there were Jehiel and Shimei.
From Jeduthun’s descendants there were Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 Then 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. 16 The priests went into the inside part of the LORD’S Temple to clean it. They took out all the unclean things they found there. They brought the unclean things out to the courtyard of the LORD’S Temple. Then the Levites took these things out to the Kidron Valley. 17 On the first day of the first month, the Levites began to make the Temple ready for holy service. By the eighth day, they had finished cleaning all the area up to the porch of the LORD’S Temple. For eight more days they cleaned the LORD’S Temple itself to make it ready for holy use. They finished on the 16th day of the first month.
18 Then they went to King Hezekiah and 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. 19 During the time that Ahaz was king, he rebelled against God. He threw away many of the things that were in the Temple. But we repaired all those things and made them ready for their special use. They are now in front of the LORD’S altar.”
20 King Hezekiah gathered the city officials and went up to the Temple of the LORD early the next morning. 21 They 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 who were descendants of Aaron to offer these animals on the LORD’S altar. 22 So the priests killed the bulls and kept the blood. Then they sprinkled the bulls’ blood on the altar. Then they killed the rams and sprinkled the rams’ blood on the altar. Then they killed the lambs and sprinkled the lambs’ blood on the altar. 23-24 Then the priests brought the male goats in front of the king, and the people gathered together. The goats were the sin offering. The priests put their hands on the goats and killed the goats. They made a sin offering with the goats’ blood on the altar. They did this so that God would forgive the sins of the Israelites. The king said that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all the Israelites.
25 King Hezekiah put the Levites in the LORD’S Temple with cymbals, harps, and lyres as David, Gad, the king’s seer, and the prophet Nathan had commanded. This command came from the LORD through his prophets. 26 So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments of music, and the priests stood ready with their trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, singing to the LORD also began. The trumpets were blown, and the instruments of David king of Israel were played. 28 All the assembly bowed down, the musicians sang, and the trumpet players blew their trumpets until the burnt offering was finished.
29 After the sacrifices were finished, King Hezekiah and all the people with him bowed down and worshiped. 30 King 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. 31 Hezekiah 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. Anyone who wanted to, also brought burnt offerings. 32 This 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. 33 There were also 600 bulls and 3000 sheep and goats that were sacrificed as holy offerings. 34 But 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 had been more serious than the priests about making themselves ready to serve. 35 There were many burnt offerings, and the fat of fellowship offerings, and drink offerings. So the service in the LORD’S Temple began again. 36 Hezekiah and the people were very happy about the things God prepared for his people. And they were happy he did it so quickly!
*29:6 LORD’S house Another name for the Temple in Jerusalem.
†29:11 my sons Here, Hezekiah is speaking to the priests like a father to his sons. They are not really his children.