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Hezekiah Celebrates Passover
1Then Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, to come to the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem to make a Passover feast to Yahweh the God of Israel. 2Now the king and his princes, and all the assembly in Jerusalem had taken counsel to make the Passover feast in the second month—3but they were not able to make it at that time, for the priests had not consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers,#Literally “for enough” and the people had not been assembled in Jerusalem—4and the plan seemed right in the eyes of the king and in the eyes of all the assembly. 5So they let the decree stand, to make a proclamation#Literally “to spread a voice” throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, to come to make a Passover feast to Yahweh the God of Israel. 6And the runners went with the letter from the hand of the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah according to the command of the king, saying, “O sons of Israel, return to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may turn again to the remnant of you who escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7Do not be like your fathers and like your brothers, who acted unfaithfully before Yahweh, the God of their ancestors,#Or “fathers” so that he made them as a desolation, as you see. 8Now, do not stiffen your neck as your fathers,#Or “ancestors” but give a hand to Yahweh and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve Yahweh your God that his fierce anger may turn away from you. 9For when you return to Yahweh, your brothers and your children will find compassion before their captors and return to this land, for Yahweh your God is gracious and compassionate, and he will not turn away his face from you if you return to him.”
10And it happened that the runners were passing from city to city in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and up to Zebulun, but they were laughing at them and mocking them. 11Only men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12The hand of God was also upon Judah, to give them one heart to obey the command of the king and the princes concerning the word of Yahweh.
13So many people gathered in Jerusalem to hold the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month; it was a very great assembly. 14And they rose up and removed the altars that were in Jerusalem. And they removed all the incense altars and threw them away in the Wadi#Or “valley”; a wadi is a valley that is dry most of the year, but contains a stream during the rainy season Kidron. 15And they slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. And the priests and the Levites were disgraced, so they consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings into the house of Yahweh. 16Then they stood at their positions according to custom, according to the law of Moses the man of God. The priests were sprinkling the blood from the hand of the Levites. 17For there were many in the assembly who did not consecrate themselves, so the Levites were over the killing of the Passover sacrifices for all who were not clean, to consecrate them to Yahweh. 18For a majority of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves. But they ate the Passover sacrifice otherwise than prescribed,#Literally “in not as it is written” but Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Yahweh make atonement unto 19everyone whose heart is set to seek God, Yahweh the God of his ancestors,#Or “fathers” though not according to the cleansing for the sanctuary.” 20And Yahweh listened to Hezekiah, and he healed the people. 21And the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” who were found in Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great joy. And the Levites and the priests were offering praise to Yahweh day by day, with powerful instruments to Yahweh. 22And Hezekiah spoke to the heart of all the Levites who were skilled at service#Literally “who were showing good understanding” to Yahweh. So they ate the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and giving thanks to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.#Or “fathers”
23Then the whole assembly decided to make seven more days of feasting, so they made seven more days with joy, 24for Hezekiah the king of Judah had provided#Literally “lifted up” one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep for the assembly, and the princes provided#Literally “lifted up” one thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep for the assembly. And many priests consecrated themselves. 25And the whole assembly of Judah, the priests and the Levites, all the assembly who had come from the land of Israel, and those living in Judah rejoiced. 26And there was great joy in Jerusalem, for from the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there was nothing such as this in Jerusalem. 27Then the priests and the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to his holy dwelling place in the heavens.
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