Hezekiah Consecrates the Temple
1 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done.
3 In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the Lord’s temple and repaired them. 4 He brought in the priests and Levites and assembled them in the square on the east side. 5 He said to them: “Listen to me, you Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, so you can consecrate the temple of the Lord God of your ancestors! Remove from the sanctuary what is ceremonially unclean! 6 For our fathers were unfaithful; they did what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God and abandoned him! They turned away from the Lord’s dwelling place and rejected him. 7 They closed the doors of the temple porch and put out the lamps; they did not offer incense or burnt sacrifices in the sanctuary of the God of Israel. 8 The Lord was angry at Judah and Jerusalem and made them an appalling object of horror at which people hiss out their scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 Look, our fathers died violently and our sons, daughters, and wives were carried off because of this. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, so that he may relent from his raging anger. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to serve in his presence and offer sacrifices.”
12 The following Levites prepared to carry out the king’s orders:
From the Kohathites: Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah;
from the Merarites: Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel;
from the Gershonites: Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah;
13 from the descendants of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel;
from the descendants of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah;
14 from the descendants of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei;
from the descendants of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 They assembled their brothers and consecrated themselves. Then they went in to purify the Lord’s temple, just as the king had ordered, in accordance with the word of the Lord. 16 The priests then entered the Lord’s temple to purify it; they brought out to the courtyard of the Lord’s temple every ceremonially unclean thing they discovered inside. The Levites took them out to the Kidron Valley. 17 On the first day of the first month they began consecrating; by the eighth day of the month they reached the porch of the Lord’s temple. For eight more days they consecrated the Lord’s temple. On the sixteenth day of the first month they were finished. 18 They went to King Hezekiah and said: “We have purified the entire temple of the Lord, including the altar of burnt sacrifice and all its equipment, and the table for the Bread of the Presence and all its equipment. 19 We have prepared and consecrated all the items that King Ahaz removed during his reign when he acted unfaithfully. They are in front of the altar of the Lord.”
20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah assembled the city officials and went up to the Lord’s temple. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and Judah. The king told the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer burnt sacrifices on the altar of the Lord. 22 They slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and splashed it on the altar. Then they slaughtered the rams and splashed the blood on the altar; next they slaughtered the lambs and splashed the blood on the altar. 23 Finally they brought the goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they placed their hands on them. 24 Then the priests slaughtered them. They offered their blood as a sin offering on the altar to make atonement for all Israel, because the king had decreed that the burnt sacrifice and sin offering were for all Israel.
25 King Hezekiah stationed the Levites in the Lord’s temple with cymbals and stringed instruments, just as David, Gad the king’s prophet, and Nathan the prophet had ordered. (The Lord had actually given these orders through his prophets.) 26 The Levites had David’s musical instruments and the priests had trumpets. 27 Hezekiah ordered the burnt sacrifice to be offered on the altar. As they began to offer the sacrifice, they also began to sing to the Lord, accompanied by the trumpets and the musical instruments of King David of Israel. 28 The entire assembly worshipped, as the singers sang and the trumpeters played. They continued until the burnt sacrifice was completed.
29 When the sacrifices were completed, the king and all who were with him bowed down and worshipped. 30 King Hezekiah and the officials told the Levites to praise the Lord, using the psalms of David and Asaph the prophet. So they joyfully offered praise and bowed down and worshipped. 31 Hezekiah said, “Now you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the Lord’s temple.” So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and whoever desired to do so brought burnt sacrifices.
32 The assembly brought a total of 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs as burnt sacrifices to the Lord, 33 and 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep were consecrated. 34 But there were not enough priests to skin all the animals, so their brothers, the Levites, helped them until the work was finished and the priests could consecrate themselves. (The Levites had been more conscientious about consecrating themselves than the priests.) 35 There was a large number of burnt sacrifices, as well as fat from the peace offerings and drink offerings that accompanied the burnt sacrifices. So the service of the Lord’s temple was reinstituted. 36 Hezekiah and all the people were happy about what God had done for them, for it had been done quickly.