2 Chronicles 30-31
Hezekiah Celebrates the Passover
30 Hezekiah sent a message to all Israel and Judah and wrote letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. He invited them to come to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord God of Israel.
2 The king, his officials, and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month. 3 They couldn’t celebrate it at the regular time because not enough priests had performed the ceremonies to make themselves holy and the people hadn’t gathered in Jerusalem. 4 The king and the whole assembly considered their plan to be the right thing to do. 5 So they decided to send an announcement throughout Israel from Beersheba to Dan. They summoned everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord God of Israel. These people had not celebrated it in large numbers as the written instructions said they should.
6 Messengers took letters from the king and his officials throughout Israel and Judah. The king’s order said, “Israelites, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Then he will return to the few of you who escaped from the power of the kings of Assyria. 7 Don’t be like your ancestors and your relatives who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their ancestors. He made them something that shocks people, as you have seen. 8 Don’t be impossible to deal with like your ancestors. Reach out for the Lord. Come to his holy place that he made holy forever. Serve the Lord your God, and he will turn his burning anger away from you. 9 When you return to the Lord, your relatives and children will find compassion from those who captured them. They will return to this land. The Lord your God is merciful and compassionate. He will not turn his face away from you if you return to him.”
10 So the messengers went from city to city in the territories of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun. But the people ridiculed them. 11 However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also, God guided the people of Judah so that they united to carry out the command which the king and the leaders gave from the Lord’s word.
13 Many people gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. They formed a large assembly.
14 Then the people got rid of the ⌞idols’⌟ altars in Jerusalem. They got rid of all the altars for incense by dumping them in the Kidron Valley.
15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed, so they performed the ceremonies to make themselves holy. Then they brought burnt offerings to the Lord’s temple. 16 They stood in their regular places as instructed by Moses’ Teachings. (Moses was a man of God.) The priests sprinkled the blood they received from the Levites. 17 Many people in the assembly had not made themselves holy. So the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all who weren’t clean [a] and couldn’t make their lambs holy for the Lord.
18 Many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not made themselves clean. So they ate the Passover, but not in the way the written instructions said they should. Hezekiah prayed for them: “May the good Lord forgive 19 those who have their hearts set on dedicating their lives to serving God. May the Lord God of their ancestors do this for those who are not clean as required for the holy place.” 20 The Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.
21 So the Israelites in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. Each day the Levites and priests praised the Lord in song. They played the Lord’s instruments loudly. 22 Hezekiah spoke encouraging words to all the Levites who had the skills to serve the Lord. They ate the festival meals for seven days, sacrificed fellowship offerings, and confessed their sins to the Lord God of their ancestors.
23 Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the festival for seven more days. So they joyfully celebrated for seven more days. 24 King Hezekiah of Judah provided 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep as sacrifices for the assembly. The leaders provided 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep for the assembly. So a large number of priests were able to perform the ceremonies to make themselves holy.
25 The whole assembly from Judah, the priests, the Levites, the whole assembly from Israel, the foreigners who came from Israel, and those who lived in Judah rejoiced. 26 The city of Jerusalem was filled with joy. Nothing like this had happened in Jerusalem since the days of King Solomon of Israel.
27 Then the Levitical priests blessed the people. Their voices were heard, and their prayers went to God’s holy place in heaven.
Hezekiah Reforms Judah’s Worship
31 When this was over, all the Israelites who were there went to the cities in Judah. They crushed the sacred stones, cut down the poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah, and tore down the illegal places of worship and the altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. The Israelites destroyed all of these things. Then all the Israelites returned to their own cities. Each person went to his own property.
2 Hezekiah assigned the priests and the Levites to divisions. Each priest or Levite was put in a division based on the service he performed: sacrificing burnt offerings, sacrificing fellowship offerings, serving, giving thanks, or praising within the gates of the Lord’s camp.
3 He set aside part of the king’s property for burnt offerings, the morning and evening offerings, burnt offerings on the weekly days of rest—holy days, the New Moon Festivals, and the annual festivals, as it is written in the Lord’s Teachings. 4 He told the people living in Jerusalem to give the priests and Levites the portions they were due so that they could devote themselves to the Lord’s Teachings. 5 As soon as the word spread, the Israelites brought plenty of offerings from the first of their produce: grain, new wine, fresh olive oil, honey, and every crop from the fields. They brought large quantities, a tenth of everything. 6 The people of Israel and Judah who were living in the cities of Judah brought a tenth of their cattle and sheep and a tenth of the holy things they had dedicated to the Lord their God. They piled these holy things in heaps. 7 In the third month they started piling them up, and in the seventh month they finished. 8 When Hezekiah and the leaders saw the heaps, they praised the Lord and his people Israel.
9 Hezekiah asked the priests and the Levites about the heaps. 10 The chief priest Azariah from Zadok’s family said, “Since the people started to bring the offerings to the Lord’s temple, we have had all we wanted to eat and plenty to spare. The Lord has blessed his people, and there’s a lot left over.”
11 Then Hezekiah told them to prepare storerooms in the Lord’s temple. After they had prepared them, 12 they faithfully brought in the contributions, the offerings of one-tenth of the crops, and the gifts dedicated to God. The Levite Conaniah was in charge of these things, and his brother Shimei was his assistant. 13 King Hezekiah and Azariah, who was in charge of God’s temple, appointed Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah to serve under Conaniah and his brother Shimei. 14 Kore, son of Imnah the Levite, was the gatekeeper at East Gate and had to take care of the freewill offerings made to God. His responsibility was to distribute the offerings made to the Lord and the holy gifts dedicated to God. 15 Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah served under him in the cities belonging to the priests. They were to distribute the offerings faithfully to all their relatives, young and old, by their divisions. 16 They were appointed to distribute them to males who were at least three years old. The way they were enrolled in the genealogical records did not matter. The six men who served under Kore were to distribute the offerings to everyone who went to the Lord’s temple to perform the daily service that each division was responsible for. 17 They were to distribute offerings to the priests who were enrolled by families and to the Levites who were at least 20 years old. Distribution was based on the way they served in their divisions. 18 The priests and Levites were enrolled with their wives, sons, daughters, and other people who depended on them—the whole community. The priests and Levites had to be faithful in keeping themselves holy for the holy work. 19 Men were appointed to give a portion of the offerings to all the males in the priestly families and to everyone listed in the genealogies of the Levites. These men were Aaron’s descendants, priests who lived in the pasturelands of every Levite city.
20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah. He did what was good and right and true to the Lord his God. 21 Hezekiah incorporated Moses’ Teachings and commands into worship and dedicated his life to serving God. Whatever he did for the worship in God’s temple, he did wholeheartedly, and he succeeded.
- 30:17 “Clean ” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is presentable to God.
15 So those of us who have a strong ⌞faith⌟ must be patient with the weaknesses of those whose ⌞faith⌟ is not so strong. We must not think only of ourselves. 2 We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith. 3 Christ did not think only of himself. Rather, as Scripture says, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
God Gives Us Unity
4 Everything written long ago was written to teach us so that we would have confidence through the endurance and encouragement which the Scriptures give us. 5 May God, who gives you this endurance and encouragement, allow you to live in harmony with each other by following the example of Christ Jesus. 6 Then, having the same goal, you will praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept each other in the same way that Christ accepted you. He did this to bring glory to God. 8 Let me explain. Christ became a servant for the Jewish people to reveal God’s truth. As a result, he fulfilled God’s promise to the ancestors of the Jewish people. 9 People who are not Jewish praise God for his mercy as well. This is what the Scriptures say,
“That is why I will give thanks to you among the nations
and I will sing praises to your name.”
10 And Scripture says again,
“You nations, be happy together with his people!”
11 And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you nations!
Praise him, all you people of the world!”
12 Again, Isaiah says,
“There will be a root from Jesse.
He will rise to rule the nations,
and he will give the nations hope.”
13 May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s Desire to Tell the Good News to the World
14 I’m convinced, brothers and sisters, that you, too, are filled with goodness. I’m also convinced that you have all the knowledge you need and that you are able to instruct each other. 15 However, I’ve written you a letter, parts of which are rather bold, as a reminder to you. I’m doing this because God gave me the gift 16 to be a servant of Christ Jesus to people who are not Jewish. I serve as a priest by spreading the Good News of God. I do this in order that I might bring the nations to God as an acceptable offering, made holy by the Holy Spirit. 17 So Christ Jesus gives me the right to brag about what I’m doing for God. 18 I’m bold enough to tell you only what Christ has done through me to bring people who are not Jewish to obedience. By what I have said and done, 19 by the power of miraculous and amazing signs, and by the power of God’s Spirit, I have finished spreading the Good News about Christ from Jerusalem to Illyricum.
20 My goal was to spread the Good News where the name of Christ was not known. I didn’t want to build on a foundation which others had laid. 21 As Scripture says,
“Those who were never told about him will see,
and those who never heard will understand.”
22 This is what has so often kept me from visiting you.
25 To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
2 I trust you, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame.
Do not let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who waits for you will ever be put to shame,
but all who are unfaithful will be put to shame.
4 Make your ways known to me, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me
because you are God, my savior.
I wait all day long for you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassionate and merciful deeds.
They have existed from eternity.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my rebellious ways.
Remember me, O Lord, in keeping with your mercy and your goodness.
8 The Lord is good and decent.
That is why he teaches sinners the way they should live.
9 He leads humble people to do what is right,
and he teaches them his way.
10 Every path of the Lord is ⌞one of⌟ mercy and truth
for those who cling to his promise [a] and written instructions.
11 For the sake of your name, O Lord,
remove my guilt, because it is great.
12 Who, then, is this person that fears the Lord?
He is the one whom the Lord will teach which path to choose.
13 He will enjoy good things in life,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord advises those who fear him.
He reveals to them the intent of his promise.
15 My eyes are always on the Lord.
He removes my feet from traps.
- 25:10 Or “covenant.”
13 Do not love sleep or you will end up poor.
Keep your eyes open, and you will have plenty to eat.
14 “Bad! Bad!” says the buyer.
Then, as he goes away, he brags ⌞about his bargain⌟.
15 There are gold and plenty of jewels,
but the lips of knowledge are precious gems.