Hezekiah Purifies the Temple
Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in
Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.
He did right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done.
In the first month of the first year of his reign,
he opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them.
He brought in the priests and the Levites,
assembled them in the square on the east side
and said: "Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and
consecrate the temple of the LORD, the God of your fathers.
Remove all the defilement from the sanctuary.
Our fathers were unfaithful; they did evil int he eyes of the LORD our God
and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the LORD's dwelling
place and turned their backs on him.
They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps.
They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings
at the sanctuary to the God of Israel.
Therefore, the anger of the LORD has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem;
he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn,
as you can see with your own eyes.
This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and
why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.
Now I intend to make a covenant with the LORD,
the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us.
My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand
before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense."
The these Levites set to work: from the Koihathites, Mahath son of Amasai and
Joel son of Azariah; from the Merarites, Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son
of Jehallelel; from the Gershonites Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah;
from the descendants of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel;
from the descendants of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah;
from the descendants of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei;
from the descendants of Jeduthun, Shimaiah and Uzziel.
When they had assembled their brothers and consecrated themselves,
they went in to puriy the temple of the LORD, as the king had ordered,
following the word of the LORD.
The priests went into the sanctuary of the LORD to purify it.
They broght out to the courtyard of the LORD's temple everything unclean
that they found in the temple of the LORD.
The Levites took it and carried it out to the Kidron Valley.
They began the consecration on the first day of the first month,
and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of the LORD.
For eight more days they consecrated the temple of the LORD itself,
finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month.
Then they went in to King Hazakiah and reported:
"We have jpurified the entire temple of the LORD, the altar of burnt offering
with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the consecrated bread,
with all its articles.
We have prepared and consecrated all the articles that King Ahaz removed
in his unfaithfulness while he was king. They are now in front of the LORD's altar."
Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together
and went up to the temple of the LORD.
They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs and seven male goats
as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah.
The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron to offer these
on the altar of the LORD.
So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it
on the altar; next they slaughtered the rams and sprinkled their blood on the altar;
then they slaugtered the lambs and sprinkled their blood on the altar.
The goats for the sin offering were brought before the king
and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them.
The priests then slaughtered the goats and presented their blood on the altar
for a sin offering to atone for all Israel becuase the king had ordered
the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel.
He stationed the Levites in the temple of the LORD with cymbals, harps and lyres
in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king's seer and Nathan the prophet;
this was commanded by the LORD through his prophets.
So the Levites stood ready with David's instruments,
and the priests with their trumpets.
Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar.
As the offering began, singing to the LORD began also, accompanied
by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel.
The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the singers sang and the trumpeters
played. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed.
When the offerings were finished,
the king and everyone present with him knell down and worshiped.
King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD
with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises
with gladness and bowed their heads and worshiped.
Then Hezekiah said, "You have now dedicated yourselves to the LORD,
Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the LORD."
So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings,
and all whose hearts were willing brough burnt offrings.
The number of burnt offerings the assembly brought was seventy bulls,
a hundred rams and two hundred male lambs -
all of them for burnt offerings to the LORD.
The animals consecrated as sacrifices amounted to
six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep and goats.
The priests, however, were too few to skin all the burnt offerings;
so their kinsmen the Levites helped them until the task was finished
and until other priests had been consecrated, for the Levites had been
more conscientious in consecrating themselves than the priests had been.
There were burnt offerings in abundance, together with the fat of the fellowshiop
offerings and the drink offerings that accompanied the burnt offerings.
So the service of the temple of the LORD was reestablished.
Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about
for his people, because it was done so quickly.