2 Chronicles 30
30 1-5 Since the people could not gather in Jerusalem immediately and since not enough priests were sanctified in time to celebrate the Passover holiday during the first month of his reign, Hezekiah, the leaders, and the people of Jerusalem decided to celebrate during the second month.
After restoring the temple, Hezekiah’s first opportunity to celebrate Israel’s renewed connection with God is Passover.
So he decided to send word to everyone—from Beersheba in the far south to Dan in the far north—to come to the Eternal’s temple in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover honoring the Eternal One, True God of Israel. Until Hezekiah, Judah had not celebrated as frequently as they should have.
6 So messengers carried letters written by the king and his leaders throughout the kingdoms.
Hezekiah’s Letter: People of Israel, return to the ways of the Eternal One, True God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and He will return to those of you who escaped the conquering kings of Assyria to follow Him. 7 Don’t be like your relatives who ignored the Eternal One, the True God of their fathers; they were destroyed and became a horrific spectacle to other nations. 8 Do not be stubborn as they were. Obey Him, come to His sanctuary, and serve the Eternal One, your True God, so that He will not be angry with you. 9 If you return to His ways, then your families who were exiled by the Assyrians will receive compassion and will return to their homes because the Eternal One, your True God, is gracious and compassionate and will return to you if you return to Him.
10-12 When the messengers took this message throughout the Northern Kingdom, most of the Northerners ridiculed and ignored the message. But some people from the Northern tribes of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun obeyed Hezekiah and the leaders and humbly traveled to Jerusalem just as all of the Southern Kingdom were given one mind and obeyed under the guidance of the True God via the command of the king and his officials.
13 Vast numbers of people responded to the king’s message and traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14 As part of the festivities, the people destroyed the Canaanite altars in Jerusalem and threw the incense altars into the Kidron Valley.
Having purged the city and cleansed the temple, the people are ready to celebrate.
15 They slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth of the second month.
The priests and Levites humbled themselves, sanctified themselves, and brought burnt offerings to the Eternal’s temple. 16 There they attended to their assigned duties, as Moses the follower of the True God had described, sprinkling the blood of the animals which the Levites sacrificed. 17 The Levites slaughtered the Passover lambs that were offered by the unclean people in the assembly while those who had sanctified themselves slaughtered their own lambs to the Eternal. 18 Many of the people from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves as prescribed, but they were able to eat the Passover feast because Hezekiah prayed on their behalf.
Hezekiah: Eternal One, because You are good, cover their sins for 19 everyone here who has neglected to ritually cleanse himself in order to properly enter the temple of the True God, the Eternal God of our ancestors. Everyone here wants to follow You.
20 The Eternal One heard Hezekiah’s prayer and healed them from the threat of disease for not approaching God as instructed. 21 So the Israelites who had traveled to Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days while the Levites and the priests played their instruments praising the Eternal daily. 22 Hezekiah commended the Levites who had remained faithful and prudent toward the Eternal, and everyone celebrated for seven days: feasting, sacrificing peace offerings, and offering praise to the Eternal One, True God of their ancestors.
23 Everyone decided to celebrate for another seven days, and they celebrated with joy. 24 By the time the festival ended, Hezekiah, king of the Southern Kingdom, had donated 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the leaders had donated 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep for the people to sacrifice. Also many priests had sanctified themselves. 25 Everyone in Judah rejoiced: priests, Levites, Northerners who had traveled for the festival, and Northerners who had moved to Judah permanently. 26 Nothing like this celebration had happened in Jerusalem since the reign of Solomon, son of David, so the people were joyous. 27 Finally the Levitical priests concluded the festival by blessing the people. And He heard their prayer from His sacred dwelling in heaven.
2 Chronicles 30
New International Version
Hezekiah Celebrates the Passover
30 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel(A) and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh,(B) inviting them to come to the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover(C) to the Lord, the God of Israel. 2 The king and his officials and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate(D) the Passover in the second month. 3 They had not been able to celebrate it at the regular time because not enough priests had consecrated(E) themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. 4 The plan seemed right both to the king and to the whole assembly. 5 They decided to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beersheba to Dan,(F) calling the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. It had not been celebrated in large numbers according to what was written.
6 At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read:
“People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your parents(G) and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful(H) to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror,(I) as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked,(J) as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger(K) will turn away from you. 9 If you return(L) to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion(M) by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate.(N) He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
10 The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but people scorned and ridiculed(O) them. 11 Nevertheless, some from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled(P) themselves and went to Jerusalem.(Q) 12 Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity(R) of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord.
13 A very large crowd of people assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread(S) in the second month. 14 They removed the altars(T) in Jerusalem and cleared away the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.(U)
15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed and consecrated(V) themselves and brought burnt offerings to the temple of the Lord. 16 Then they took up their regular positions(W) as prescribed in the Law of Moses the man of God. The priests splashed against the altar the blood handed to them by the Levites. 17 Since many in the crowd had not consecrated themselves, the Levites had to kill(X) the Passover lambs for all those who were not ceremonially clean and could not consecrate their lambs[a] to the Lord. 18 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves,(Y) yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord heard(Z) Hezekiah and healed(AA) the people.(AB)
21 The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread(AC) for seven days with great rejoicing, while the Levites and priests praised the Lord every day with resounding instruments dedicated to the Lord.[b]
22 Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites, who showed good understanding of the service of the Lord. For the seven days they ate their assigned portion and offered fellowship offerings and praised[c] the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
23 The whole assembly then agreed to celebrate(AD) the festival seven more days; so for another seven days they celebrated joyfully. 24 Hezekiah king of Judah provided(AE) a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep and goats for the assembly, and the officials provided them with a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep and goats. A great number of priests consecrated themselves. 25 The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites and all who had assembled from Israel(AF), including the foreigners who had come from Israel and also those who resided in Judah. 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon(AG) son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 The priests and the Levites stood to bless(AH) the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.