Hezekiah Succeeds Ahaz in Judah
1Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did right in the sight of the Lord, in accordance with everything that David his father (forefather) had done.
3 In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord [which his father had closed] and repaired them [and replaced the gold overlay]. 4 He brought in the priests and Levites and gathered them into the square on the east.
5 Then he said to them, “Levites, listen to me! Now consecrate (dedicate) yourselves and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and get the filth [of idol worship] out of the Holy Place. 6 For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and they have abandoned Him and have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and have turned their backs [toward Him]. 7 They have also closed the doors of the [temple] porch and put out the lamps, and they have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel. 8 Therefore the wrath of the Lord has been against Judah and Jerusalem, and He has made them an object of terror, of horror, and of hissing, just as you see with your own eyes. 9 For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity because of this. 10 Now it is in my heart to make a covenant (solemn agreement) with the Lord God of Israel, so that His burning anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent and careless now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence, to attend to His service, and to be His ministers and burn incense.”
12 Then the Levites arose: Mahath the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, from the sons of the Kohathites; from the sons of Merari: Kish the son of Abdi, Azariah the son of Jehallelel; from the Gershonites: Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah; 13 from the sons of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel; from the sons of Asaph: Zechariah, and Mattaniah; 14 from the sons of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei; and from the sons of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel. 15 They gathered their brothers (fellow Levites) together, consecrated themselves, and went in to cleanse the house of the Lord, as the king had commanded by the words of the Lord. 16 The priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and every unclean thing they found in the temple of the Lord they brought out to the courtyard of the Lord’s house. Then the Levites received it to take out to the Kidron Valley [for disposal]. 17 Now they began the consecration on the first [day] of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the porch of the Lord. Then for eight days they [a]consecrated the house of the Lord, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished. 18 Then they went inside to King Hezekiah and said, “We have cleansed the entire house (temple) of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all of its utensils, and the table of showbread with all its utensils. 19 Moreover, we have prepared and consecrated all the utensils which King Ahaz had discarded during his reign in his unfaithfulness; and behold, they are in front of the altar of the Lord.”
Hezekiah Restores Temple Worship
20 Then King Hezekiah arose early and assembled the officials of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and Judah. He commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. They also slaughtered the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar; then they slaughtered the lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar. 23 Then they brought the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them [to symbolize the transference of their sin]. 24 The priests slaughtered them and cleansed the altar from sin with their blood to atone for all Israel, because the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering be made for all Israel.
25 Hezekiah stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with harps, and with lyres, in accordance with the command of David [his ancestor] and of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for the command was from the Lord through His prophets. 26 The Levites stood with the musical instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah gave the order to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord also began with the trumpets accompanied by the instruments of David, king of Israel. 28 The entire congregation worshiped, the singers also sang, and the trumpets sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
29 When the burnt offerings were completed, the king and all who were present with him bowed down and worshiped [God]. 30 Also King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to exclaim praises to the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. And they exclaimed praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped.
31 Then Hezekiah said, “Now you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord; approach and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord.” And the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and all those who were willing brought burnt offerings. 32 The number of the burnt offerings which the assembly brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs. All these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. 33 The consecrated things were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep. 34 But there were too few priests and they were unable to skin all the burnt offerings; so until the other priests had consecrated themselves, their brothers, the Levites, helped them until the work was done. For the Levites were more upright in heart and more conscientious than the priests in consecrating themselves. 35 There were also many burnt offerings with the fat of the peace offerings and with the drink offerings for the burnt offerings. So the service of the house of the Lord was established again. 36 Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had prepared for the people, for the thing came about suddenly.