1 HEZEKIAH SENT to all Israel [as well as] Judah and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the Lord's house at Jerusalem to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel.
2 For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem took counsel to keep the Passover in the second month. [Num. 9:10, 11.]
3 For they could not keep it at the set time because not enough priests had sanctified themselves, neither had the people assembled in Jerusalem.
4 The new time pleased the king and all the assembly.
5 So they decreed to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that the people should come to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem. For they had not kept it collectively as prescribed for a long time.
6 So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, as the king commanded, saying, O Israelites, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may return to those left of you who escaped out of the hands of the kings of Assyria.
7 Do not be like your fathers and brethren, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation [to be an astonishment], as you see.
8 Now be not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you.
9 For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and He will not turn away His face from you if you return to Him.
10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even to Zebulun, but the people laughed them to scorn and mocked them.
11 Yet, a few of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.
12 Also the hand of God came upon Judah to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord.
13 And many people came to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very great assembly.
14 They rose up and took away the altars [to idols] that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars and utensils for incense [to the gods] they took away and threw into the Kidron Valley [dumping place for the ashes of such abominations].
15 Then they killed the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. And the priests and the Levites were ashamed and sanctified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Lord's house.
16 They stood in their accustomed places, as directed in the Law of Moses the man of God. The priests threw [against the altar] the blood they received from the hand of the Levites.
17 For many were in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves [become clean and free from all sin]. So the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all who were not clean, in order to make them holy to the Lord.
18 For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than Moses directed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, May the good Lord pardon everyone
19 Who sets his heart to seek and yearn for God–the Lord, the God of his fathers–even though not complying with the purification regulations of the sanctuary.
20 And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah and healed the people.
21 And the Israelites who were in Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. The Levites and priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with instruments of much volume to the Lord.
22 Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who had good understanding in the Lord's work. So the people ate the seven-day appointed feast, offering peace offerings, making confession [and giving thanks] to the Lord, the God of their fathers.
23 And the whole assembly took counsel to prolong the feast another seven days; and they kept it another seven days with joy.
24 For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly 1,000 young bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the princes gave 1,000 young bulls and 10,000 sheep. And a great number of priests sanctified themselves [for service].
25 All the assembly of Judah, with the priests, the Levites, and all the assembly who with the sojourners came from the land of Israel to dwell in Judah, rejoiced.
26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon son of David king of Israel there was nothing like this in Jerusalem.
27 Then the priests and Levites arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard and their prayer came up to [God's] holy habitation in heaven.
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