Hezekiah Purifies the Temple
1Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 2Hezekiah did what the Lord said was right, just as his ancestor David had done.
3Hezekiah opened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them in the first month of the first year he was king. 4Hezekiah brought in the priests and Levites and gathered them in the courtyard on the east side of the Temple. 5Hezekiah said, “Listen to me, Levites. Make yourselves ready for the Lord’s service, and make holy the Temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove from the Temple everything that makes it impure. 6Our ancestors were unfaithful to God and did what the Lord said was wrong. They left the Lord and stopped worshiping at the Temple where he lives. They rejected him. 7They shut the doors of the porch of the Temple, and they let the fire go out in the lamps. They stopped burning incense and offering burnt offerings in the holy place to the God of Israel. 8So the Lord became very angry with the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and he punished them. Other people are frightened and shocked by what he did to them. So they insult the people of Judah. You know these things are true. 9That is why our ancestors were killed in battle and our sons, daughters, and wives were taken captive. 10Now I, Hezekiah, have decided to make an agreement with the Lord, the God of Israel, so he will not be angry with us anymore. 11My sons, don’t waste any more time. The Lord chose you to stand before him, to serve him, to be his servants, and to burn incense to him.”
12These are the Levites who started to work. From the Kohathite family there were Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah. From the Merarite family there were Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel. From the Gershonite family there were Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah. 13From Elizaphan’s family there were Shimri and Jeiel. From Asaph’s family there were Zechariah and Mattaniah. 14From Heman’s family there were Jehiel and Shimei. From Jeduthun’s family there were Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15These Levites gathered their brothers together and made themselves holy for service in the Temple. Then they went into the Temple of the Lord to purify it. They obeyed the king’s command that had come from the Lord. 16When the priests went into the Temple of the Lord to purify it, they took out all the unclean things they found in the Temple of the Lord and put them in the Temple courtyard. Then the Levites took these things out to the Kidron Valley. 17Beginning on the first day of the first month, they made the Temple holy for the Lord’s service. On the eighth day of the month, they came to the porch of the Temple, and for eight more days they made the Temple of the Lord holy. So they finished on the sixteenth day of the first month.
18Then they went to King Hezekiah and said, “We have purified the entire Temple of the Lord, the altar for burnt offerings and its utensils, and the table for the holy bread and all its utensils. 19When Ahaz was king, he was unfaithful to God and removed some things from the Temple. But we have put them back and made them holy for the Lord. They are now in front of the Lord’s altar.”
20Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the leaders of the city and went up to the Temple of the Lord. 21They brought seven bulls, seven male sheep, seven lambs, and seven male goats. These animals were an offering to remove the sin of the people and the kingdom of Judah and to make the Temple ready for service to God. King Hezekiah commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these animals on the Lord’s altar. 22So the priests killed the bulls and sprinkled their blood on the altar. They killed the sheep and sprinkled their blood on the altar. Then they killed the lambs and sprinkled their blood on the altar. 23Then the priests brought the male goats for the sin offering before the king and the people there. After the king and the people put their hands on the goats, 24the priests killed them. With the goats’ blood they made an offering on the altar to remove the sins of the Israelites so they would belong to God. The king had said that the burnt offering and sin offering should be made for all Israel.
25King Hezekiah put the Levites in the Temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, as David, Gad, and Nathan had commanded. (Gad was the king’s seer, and Nathan was a prophet.) This command came from the Lord through his prophets. 26So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments of music, and the priests stood ready with their trumpets.
27Then Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the singing to the Lord also began. The trumpets were blown, and the musical instruments of David king of Israel were played. 28All the people worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters blew their trumpets until the burnt offering was finished.
29When the sacrifices were completed, King Hezekiah and everyone with him bowed down and worshiped. 30King Hezekiah and his officers ordered the Levites to praise the Lord, using the words David and Asaph the seer had used. So they praised God with joy and bowed down and worshiped.
31Then Hezekiah said, “Now that you people of Judah have given yourselves to the Lord, come near to the Temple of the Lord. Bring sacrifices and offerings, to show thanks to him.” So the people brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and anyone who was willing also brought burnt offerings. 32For burnt offerings they brought a total of seventy bulls, one hundred male sheep, and two hundred lambs; all these animals were sacrificed as burnt offerings to the Lord. 33The holy offerings totaled six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep and goats. 34There were not enough priests to skin all the animals for the burnt offerings. So their relatives the Levites helped them until the work was finished and other priests could be made holy. The Levites had been more careful to make themselves holy for the Lord’s service than the priests. 35There were many burnt offerings along with the fat of fellowship offerings and drink offerings. So the service in the Temple of the Lord began again. 36And Hezekiah and the people were very happy that God had made it happen so quickly for his people.