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Hezekiah Restores Proper Worship of the Lord

31 When all this was finished, all the Israelites who were present went out to the cities of Judah. They broke the sacred memorial pillars into pieces, chopped down the Asherah poles, and smashed the high places and the altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh until the task was finished. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities, each of them to his own property.

Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and Levites, assigning each man to his area of service according to his division. The priests and Levites were responsible for burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, in order to minister and to give thanks and praise in the gates of the camps[a] of the Lord.

The king’s contribution from his own personal property was designated for the morning and evening burnt offerings, as well as for burnt offerings on the sabbaths, the new moons, and the designated festivals, as it is written in the Law of the Lord. He commanded the people living in Jerusalem to contribute the portion designated for the priests and the Levites, so that they could hold tightly to the Law of the Lord.

As soon as the order was made public, the people of Israel gave their firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and all the produce of the field in abundance. They brought an abundant tithe of everything.

All the people of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also brought their tithe of the cattle and sheep, and a tithe of the holy things dedicated for the Lord their God. They piled up one heap on top of another. In the third month they began to accumulate it, and they finished by the seventh month.

When Hezekiah and the officials came, they saw the piles and blessed the Lord and his people Israel. Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the piles. 10 Azariah, the head priest of the house of Zadok, answered, “Ever since they began bringing their contributions into the House of the Lord, the people have had plenty to eat and drink, enough to be full, with plenty left over. The Lord has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.”

11 Hezekiah told them to prepare rooms in the House of the Lord, and they did so. 12 They faithfully brought the special contributions, tithes, and dedicated things. Konaniah the Levite was the chief officer over them, and his brother Shimei was second in command. 13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were administrators under the supervision of Konaniah and his brother Shimei, by the appointment of King Hezekiah. Azariah was the chief officer of the House of God. 14 Kore son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the East Gate, was in charge of the voluntary offerings to God. He was responsible for distributing the special contribution given to the Lord[b] and the most holy offerings. 15 Faithfully assisting him in the cities of the priests were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shekaniah, who were making distributions to their brothers, according to their divisions, the same to old and young alike.

16 Besides that, they gave support to all those enrolled by genealogy, to the males from three years old and up, to all who came to the House of the Lord for their daily service in their assigned offices in their divisions. 17 They also gave support to those enrolled as priests on the basis of the house of their fathers, also to the Levites from twenty years old and older, according to their assigned offices in their divisions, 18 to those enrolled with all their dependents, their wives and their sons and daughters—to the entire group—because they were faithfully keeping themselves holy. 19 For the descendants of Aaron, those priests who were living in the fields of the common pastureland around their cities, in every city, men designated by name were assigned to give portions to every male among the priests and to all the enrolled Levites.

20 Hezekiah carried this out in all Judah. He did what was good, right, and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 In all the work which he began in service to the House of God, to the law, and to the commandment, he sought his God and acted with all his heart, and he prospered.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 31:2 A nostalgic term, reaching back to the time of the Dwelling
  2. 2 Chronicles 31:14 Or offerings that are lifted up to the Lord

31 When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down(A) the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property.

Contributions for Worship(B)

Hezekiah(C) assigned the priests and Levites to divisions(D)—each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites—to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to minister,(E) to give thanks and to sing praises(F) at the gates of the Lord’s dwelling.(G) The king contributed(H) from his own possessions for the morning and evening burnt offerings and for the burnt offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals as written in the Law of the Lord.(I) He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion(J) due the priests and Levites so they could devote themselves to the Law of the Lord. As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits(K) of their grain, new wine,(L) olive oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah also brought a tithe(M) of their herds and flocks and a tithe of the holy things dedicated to the Lord their God, and they piled them in heaps.(N) They began doing this in the third month and finished in the seventh month.(O) When Hezekiah and his officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the Lord and blessed(P) his people Israel.

Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps; 10 and Azariah the chief priest, from the family of Zadok,(Q) answered, “Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the Lord has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.”(R)

11 Hezekiah gave orders to prepare storerooms in the temple of the Lord, and this was done. 12 Then they faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes and dedicated gifts. Konaniah,(S) a Levite, was the overseer in charge of these things, and his brother Shimei was next in rank. 13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad,(T) Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath and Benaiah were assistants of Konaniah and Shimei his brother. All these served by appointment of King Hezekiah and Azariah the official in charge of the temple of God.

14 Kore son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the East Gate, was in charge of the freewill offerings given to God, distributing the contributions made to the Lord and also the consecrated gifts. 15 Eden,(U) Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shekaniah assisted him faithfully in the towns(V) of the priests, distributing to their fellow priests according to their divisions, old and young alike.

16 In addition, they distributed to the males three years old or more whose names were in the genealogical records(W)—all who would enter the temple of the Lord to perform the daily duties of their various tasks, according to their responsibilities and their divisions. 17 And they distributed to the priests enrolled by their families in the genealogical records and likewise to the Levites twenty years old or more, according to their responsibilities and their divisions. 18 They included all the little ones, the wives, and the sons and daughters of the whole community listed in these genealogical records. For they were faithful in consecrating themselves.

19 As for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who lived on the farmlands around their towns or in any other towns,(X) men were designated by name to distribute portions to every male among them and to all who were recorded in the genealogies of the Levites.

20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful(Y) before the Lord his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.(Z)

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