Hezekiah Observes the Passover
1 Hezekiah sent messages throughout Israel and Judah; he even wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, summoning them to come to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. and observe a Passover celebration for the Lord God of Israel. 2 The king, his officials, and the entire assembly in Jerusalem decided to observe the Passover in the second month. 3 They were unable to observe it at the regular#tn Heb “at that time.” time because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. 4 The proposal seemed appropriate to#tn Heb “and the thing was proper in the eyes of.” the king and the entire assembly. 5 So they sent an edict#tn Heb “and they caused to stand a word to cause a voice to pass through.” throughout Israel from Beer Sheba to Dan, summoning the people#tn The words “summoning the people” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. to come and observe a Passover for the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they had not observed it on a nationwide scale as prescribed in the law.#tn Heb “because not for abundance had they done as written.” 6 Messengers#tn Heb “the runners.” delivered the letters from the king and his officials throughout Israel and Judah.
This royal edict read:#tn Heb “and according to the command of the king, saying.” “O Israelites, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so he may return#tn The jussive with vav conjunctive indicates purpose/result after the preceding imperative. to you who have been spared from the kings of Assyria.#tn Heb “to the survivors who are left to you from the palm of the kings of Assyria.” 7 Don’t be like your fathers and brothers who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their ancestors,#tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 19, 22). provoking him to destroy them,#tn Heb “and he made them a devastation” (or, perhaps, “an object of horror”). as you can see. 8 Now, don’t be stubborn#tn Heb “don’t stiffen your neck” (a Hebrew idiom for being stubborn). like your fathers! Submit#tn Heb “give a hand.” On the meaning of the idiom here, see HALOT 387 s.v. I יָד 2. to the Lord and come to his sanctuary which he has permanently consecrated. Serve the Lord your God so that he might relent from his raging anger.#tn Heb “so that the rage of his anger might turn from you.” The jussive with vav conjunctive indicates purpose/result after the preceding imperative. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and sons will be shown mercy by their captors and return to this land. The Lord your God is merciful and compassionate; he will not reject you#tn Heb “turn [his] face from you.” if you return to him.”
10 The messengers journeyed from city to city through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun, but people mocked and ridiculed them.#tn Heb “and they were mocking them and ridiculing them.” 11 But some men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 In Judah God moved the people to unite and carry out the edict the king and the officers had issued at the Lord’s command.#tn Heb “also in Judah the hand of God was to give to them one heart to do the command of the king and the officials by the word of the Lord.” 13 A huge crowd assembled in Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.#tn The Hebrew text adds here, “a very large assembly.” This has not been translated to avoid redundancy with the expression “a huge crowd” at the beginning of the verse. 14 They removed the altars in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.#tn Heb “and they arose and removed the altars which were in Jerusalem, and all the incense altars they removed and threw into 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 consecrated themselves and brought burnt sacrifices to the Lord’s temple. 16 They stood at their posts according to the regulations outlined in the law of Moses, the man of God. The priests were splashing the blood as the Levites handed it to them.#tn Heb “from the hand of the Levites.” 17 Because many in the assembly had not consecrated themselves, the Levites slaughtered#tn Heb “were over the slaughter of.” the Passover lambs of all who were ceremonially unclean and could not consecrate their sacrifice to the Lord.#tn Heb “of everyone not pure to consecrate to the Lord.” 18 The majority of the many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun were ceremonially unclean, yet they ate the Passover in violation of what is prescribed in the law.#tn Heb “without what is written.” For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: “May the Lord, who is good, forgive#tn Heb “make atonement for.” 19 everyone who has determined to follow God,#tn Heb “everyone [who] has prepared his heart to seek God.” the Lord God of his ancestors, even if he is not ceremonially clean according to the standards of the temple.”#tn Heb “and not according to the purification of the holy place.” 20 The Lord responded favorably#tn Heb “listened.” to Hezekiah and forgave#tn Heb “healed.” the people.
21 The Israelites who were in Jerusalem observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. The Levites and priests were praising the Lord every day with all their might.#tn Heb “and they were praising the Lord day by day, the Levites and the priests with instruments of strength to the Lord.” The phrase בִּכְלֵי־עֹז (bikhley-’oz, “with instruments of strength”) might refer to loud sounding musical instruments (NASB “with loud instruments”; NEB “with unrestrained fervour”). The present translation assumes an emendation to בְּכָל־עֹז (bÿkhol-’oz, “with all strength”); see 1 Chr 13:8, as well as HALOT 805 s.v. I עֹז and BDB 739 s.v. עֹז). 22 Hezekiah expressed his appreciation to all the Levites,#tn Heb “and Hezekiah spoke to the heart of all the Levites.” On the meaning of the idiom “speak to the heart of” here, see HALOT 210 s.v. II דבר 8.d. who demonstrated great skill in serving the Lord.#tn Heb “who demonstrated skill [with] good skill for the Lord.” They feasted for the seven days of the festival,#tn Heb “and they ate [during] the appointed time [for] seven days.” מוֹעֵד (mo’ed, “appointed time”) is probably an adverbial accusative of time referring to the festival. However, some understand it as metonymically referring to the food eaten during the festival. See BDB 417 s.v. and were making peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their ancestors.
23 The entire assembly then decided to celebrate for seven more days; so they joyfully celebrated for seven more days. 24 King Hezekiah of Judah supplied 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep#tn The Hebrew term צֹאן (ts’on, translated “sheep” twice in this verse) denotes smaller livestock in general; depending on context it can refer to sheep only or goats only, but their is nothing in the immediate context here to specify one or the other. for the assembly, while the officials supplied them#tn Heb “the assembly.” The pronoun “them” has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy. with 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. Many priests consecrated themselves. 25 The celebration included#tn Heb “they rejoiced.” the entire assembly of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the entire assembly of those who came from Israel, the resident foreigners who came from the land of Israel, and the residents of Judah. 26 There was a great celebration in Jerusalem, unlike anything that had occurred in Jerusalem since the time of King Solomon son of David of Israel.#tn Heb “and there was great joy in Jerusalem, for from the days of Solomon son of David, king of Israel, there was nothing like this in Jerusalem.” 27 The priests and Levites got up and pronounced blessings on the people. The Lord responded favorably to them#tn Heb “and it was heard with their voice.” BDB 1034 s.v. שָׁמַע Niph.4 interprets this to mean “hearing was granted to their voice.” It is possible that the name יְהוָה (yÿhvah, “the Lord”) has been accidentally omitted. as their prayers reached his holy dwelling place in heaven.