May 24
     2 Chronicles 29:20 — 31:21

20 And Hezekiah the king proceeded to get up early and gather the princes of the city together and go up to the house of Jehovah. 21 And they came bringing seven bulls and seven rams and seven male lambs and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom and for the sanctuary and for Judah. So he said to the sons of Aaron the priests to offer them up upon the altar of Jehovah. 22 Accordingly they slaughtered the cattle and the priests received the blood and sprinkled it upon the altar; after which they slaughtered the rams and sprinkled the blood upon the altar, and they slaughtered the male lambs and sprinkled the blood upon the altar. 23 Then they brought the male goats of the sin offering near before the king and the congregation and laid their hands upon them. 24 The priests now slaughtered them and made a sin offering with their blood upon the altar, to make atonement for all Israel; because it was for all Israel that the king said the burnt offering and the sin offering [should be].

25 Meantime, he had the Levites stationed at the house of Jehovah, with cymbals, with stringed instruments and with harps, by the commandment of David and of Gad the king’s visionary and of Nathan the prophet, for it was by the hand of Jehovah that the commandment was by means of his prophets. 26 So the Levites kept standing with the instruments of David, and also the priests with the trumpets.

27 Then Hezekiah said to offer up the burnt sacrifice on the altar; and at the time that the burnt offering started, the song of Jehovah started and also the trumpets, even under the direction of the instruments of David the king of Israel. 28 And all the congregation were bowing down while the song was resounding and the trumpets were blaring—all this until the burnt offering was finished. 29 And as soon as they finished offering it up, the king and all those found with him bowed low and prostrated themselves. 30 Hezekiah the king and the princes now said to the Levites to praise Jehovah in the words of David and of Asaph the visionary. So they began to offer praise even with rejoicing, and they kept bending down and prostrating themselves.

31 Finally Hezekiah answered and said: “Now YOU have filled YOUR hand with power for Jehovah. Approach, and bring sacrifices and thanksgiving sacrifices to the house of Jehovah.” And the congregation began to bring sacrifices and thanksgiving sacrifices, and also every one willing of heart, burnt offerings. 32 And the number of the burnt offerings that the congregation brought came to be seventy cattle, a hundred rams, two hundred male lambs—all these as a burnt offering to Jehovah; 33 and also the holy offerings, six hundred cattle and three thousand of the flock. 34 Only the priests themselves happened to be too few, and they were not able to skin all the burnt offerings. So their brothers the Levites helped them out until the work was finished and until the priests could sanctify themselves, for the Levites were more upright of heart for sanctifying themselves than the priests. 35 And, too, the burnt offerings were in great quantity with the fat pieces of the communion sacrifices and with the drink offerings for the burnt offerings. Thus the service of the house of Jehovah was prepared. 36 Consequently Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over the fact that the [true] God had made preparation for the people, because it was all of a sudden that the thing had occurred.

30 And Hezekiah proceeded to send to all Israel and Judah, and even letters he wrote to Ephraim and Manasseh, to come to the house of Jehovah in Jerusalem to hold the passover to Jehovah the God of Israel. 2 However, the king and his princes and all the congregation in Jerusalem resolved to hold the passover in the second month; 3 for they had not been able to hold it at that time, because not enough priests, on the one hand, had sanctified themselves and the people, on the other hand, had not gathered themselves to Jerusalem. 4 And the thing was right in the eyes of the king and in the eyes of all the congregation. 5 So they decided to have the call pass through all Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, to come and hold the passover to Jehovah the God of Israel at Jerusalem; for it was not as a multitude that they had done so according to what is written.

6 Accordingly the runners with the letters from the hand of the king and of his princes went throughout all Israel and Judah, even according to the commandment of the king, saying: “YOU sons of Israel, return to Jehovah the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to the escaped ones that are left of YOU out of the palm of the kings of Assyria. 7 And do not become like YOUR forefathers and like YOUR brothers that acted unfaithfully toward Jehovah the God of their forefathers, so that he constituted them an object of astonishment, just as YOU are seeing. 8 Now do not stiffen YOUR neck as YOUR forefathers did. Give place to Jehovah and come to his sanctuary that he has sanctified to time indefinite and serve Jehovah YOUR God, that his burning anger may turn back from YOU. 9 For when YOU return to Jehovah, YOUR brothers and YOUR sons will be objects of mercy before those holding them captive, and be allowed to return to this land; for Jehovah YOUR God is gracious and merciful, and he will not turn away the face from YOU if YOU return to him.”

10 So the runners continued on, passing along from city to city throughout the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, even to Zebulun; but they were continually speaking in mockery of them and deriding them. 11 Only individuals from Asher and Manasseh and from Zebulun humbled themselves so that they came to Jerusalem. 12 The hand of the [true] God proved to be also in Judah to give them one heart to perform the commandment of the king and the princes in the matter of Jehovah.

13 And they proceeded to gather themselves together at Jerusalem, a numerous people, to hold the festival of the unfermented cakes in the second month, a congregation very multitudinous. 14 Then they rose up and removed the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the incense altars they removed and then threw [them] into the torrent valley of Kidron. 15 After that they slaughtered the passover victim on the fourteenth [day] of the second month; and the priests and the Levites themselves had been humiliated, so that they sanctified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the house of Jehovah. 16 And they kept standing at their place according to their rule, according to the law of Moses the man of the [true] God, the priests sprinkling the blood received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the congregation that had not sanctified themselves; and the Levites were in charge of slaughtering the passover victims for all that were not clean, to sanctify them to Jehovah. 18 For there was a great number of the people, many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, that had not cleansed themselves, for they did not eat the passover according to what is written; but Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: “May the good Jehovah himself make allowance for 19 every one that has prepared his heart to search for the [true] God, Jehovah, the God of his forefathers, though without the purification for what is holy.” 20 Accordingly Jehovah listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.

21 So the sons of Israel that were found in Jerusalem held the festival of the unfermented cakes seven days with great rejoicing; and the Levites and the priests were offering praise to Jehovah day by day with loud instruments, even to Jehovah. 22 Moreover, Hezekiah spoke to the heart of all the Levites who were acting with fine discretion toward Jehovah. And they proceeded to eat the appointed feast for seven days, sacrificing communion sacrifices and making confession to Jehovah the God of their forefathers.

23 Then all the congregation decided to hold it for seven more days, and so they held it for seven days with rejoicing. 24 For Hezekiah the king of Judah himself contributed for the congregation a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the princes themselves contributed for the congregation a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and priests kept sanctifying themselves in great number. 25 And all the congregation of Judah and the priests and the Levites and all the congregation that came from Israel and the alien residents that came from the land of Israel and those dwelling in Judah continued rejoicing. 26 And there came to be great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for from the days of Solomon the son of David the king of Israel there was none like this in Jerusalem. 27 Finally the priests, the Levites, stood up and blessed the people; and a hearing was granted to their voice, so that their prayer came to his holy dwelling, the heavens.

31 And as soon as they finished all this, all the Israelites that were found [there] went out to the cities of Judah, and they proceeded to break up the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred poles and pull down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh until they had finished; after which all the sons of Israel returned to their cities, each one to his own possession.

2 Then Hezekiah set the divisions of the priests and of the Levites in their divisions, each one in accordance with its service for the priests and for the Levites as regards the burnt offering and the communion sacrifices to minister and to give thanks and praise in the gates of the camps of Jehovah. 3 And there was a portion of the king from his own goods for the burnt offerings, for the burnt offerings of the morning and the evening, and also the burnt offerings for the sabbaths and for the new moons and for the festival seasons, according to what is written in the law of Jehovah.

4 Furthermore, he said to the people, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to give the portion of the priests and of the Levites, in order that they might adhere strictly to the law of Jehovah. 5 And as soon as the word broke forth, the sons of Israel increased the firstfruits of the grain, new wine, and oil and honey and all the produce of the field, and the tenth of everything they brought in abundantly. 6 And the sons of Israel and of Judah that were dwelling in the cities of Judah, even they themselves [brought in] the tenth of cattle and sheep and the tenth of the holy things, the things sanctified to Jehovah their God. They brought in and so gave heaps upon heaps. 7 In the third month they started the heaps by laying the lowest layer, and in the seventh month they finished. 8 When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they proceeded to bless Jehovah and his people Israel.

9 In time Hezekiah inquired of the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. 10 Then Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok said to him, yes, he said: “From the time they started to bring the contribution into the house of Jehovah there has been an eating and getting satisfied and having a surplus in abundance; for Jehovah himself has blessed his people, and what has been left over is this great plenty.”

11 At this Hezekiah said to prepare dining rooms in the house of Jehovah. Accordingly they prepared [them]. 12 And they kept bringing in the contribution and the tenth and the holy things in faithfulness; and Conaniah the Levite was in charge of them as leader, and Shimei his brother was second. 13 And Jehiel and Azaziah and Nahath and Asahel and Jerimoth and Jozabad and Eliel and Ismachiah and Mahath and Benaiah were commissioners at the side of Conaniah and Shimei his brother, by the order of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah was the leading one of the house of the [true] God. 14 And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite was the gatekeeper to the east, in charge of the voluntary offerings of the [true] God, to give Jehovah’s contribution and the most holy things. 15 And under his control there were Eden and Miniamin and Jeshua and Shemaiah, Amariah and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in office of trust, to give to their brothers in the divisions, equally to great and small; 16 apart from their genealogical enrollment of the males from three years of age upward, of all those coming to the house of Jehovah as a daily matter of course, for their service by their obligations according to their divisions.

17 This is the genealogical enrollment of the priests by the house of their fathers and also of the Levites, from the age of twenty years upward, by their obligations in their divisions; 18 both for the genealogical enrollment among all their little ones, their wives and their sons and their daughters, for all the congregation, because in their office of trust they proceeded to sanctify themselves for what was holy; 19 and for the sons of Aaron, the priests, in the fields of pasture ground of their cities. In all the different cities there were men that had been designated by [their] names, to give portions to every male among the priests and to the entire genealogical enrollment among the Levites.

20 And Hezekiah proceeded to do like this in all Judah, and he continued to do what was good and right and faithful before Jehovah his God. 21 And in every work that he started in the service of the house of the [true] God and in the law and in the commandment to search for his God, it was with all his heart that he acted, and he proved successful.