2 Chronicles 29


Healing for Israel (29:1 – 36:23)

Judah’s King Hezekiah (29:1 – 32:33)

      • ESV Study Bible writes, “The Chronicler devotes more attention to Hezekiah’s reign (715-687 BC) than to that of any other king since David and Solomon. His account has little in common with 2 Kings 18-20, which concentrates mainly on Hezekiah’s role in the Assyrian crisis of 701 BC. The Chronicler, by contrast, is primarily interested in presenting Hezekiah as a restorer and reformer of Judah’s worship. Most of his account is devoted to describing the cleansing of the temple and the restoration of worship after Ahaz’s apostasy, followed by a national celebration of Passover (2 Chronicles 29-31). For the Chronicler, Hezekiah’s successful resistance of Sennacherib and the prosperity of his kingdom (ch 32) are a consequence of his religious reforms. The Chronicler’s presentation of Hezekiah combines traits of both David and Solomon, especially in organizing the priests and Levites for their work and worship, and in presiding over the great rededication of the temple.”

Introduction to Hezekiah’s Reign

      • Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king and he ruled for 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah and she was Zechariah’s daughter. He did what was right in Yahweh’s eyes, just as his ancestor David had done.

        • On the name of Hezekiah’s mother, NET Bible points out, “The parallel passage in 2 Kgs 18:2 has ‘Abi.’”

Restoration of the Temple

      • In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of Yahweh’s house and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side, and said to them: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now, and consecrate the house of Yahweh, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defilement from the Holy Place. Our fathers were unfaithful and did what is evil in Yahweh’s eyes. They abandoned Him, turned their faces away from Yahweh’s dwelling place, and turned their backs on Him. They also closed the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They didn’t burn incense or offer burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel. Therefore, the wrath of Yahweh has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem, and as you can see with your own eyes, He has made them an object of dread, horror, and scorn. Look, this is why our fathers have been killed by the sword and our wives and children are in captivity. It is in my heart now to make a covenant with Yahweh, God of Israel, so that His fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, do not be negligent now, because Yahweh has chosen you to stand in His presence, to serve Him, to be His ministers, and to make offerings to Him.”

        • ESV Study Bible says, “Hezekiah recalls the terrible consequences of Ahaz’s apostasy and announces his intention to make a covenant with the Lord to avert his fierce anger. No ceremony of covenant renewal is described (see 15:12; 23:16), but it is clear by their response that the people took this appeal to heart.”

      • Then the following Levites set to work:

          • Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges says, “The fourteen persons mentioned in these three verses comprise (a) two representatives each of the three great branches of Levi, namely, Kohath, Merari, and Gershon, (b) two representatives of the great Kohathite family of Elizaphan (cp. Numbers 3:30 and 1 Chronicles 15:8), (c) two representatives each of the three divisions of the singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 25:1).”

        • From the Kohath family: Amasai’s son Mahath, and Azariah’s son Joel.

        • From the Merari family: Abdi’s son Kish, and Jehallelel’s son Azariah.

        • From the Gershon family: Zimmah’s son Joah, and Joah’s son Eden.

        • From Elizaphan’s descendants: Shimri and Jeiel.

        • From Asaph’s descendants: Zechariah and Mettaniah.

        • From Heman’s descendants: Jehiel and Shimei.

        • From Jeduthun’s descendants: Shemaiah and Uzziel.

      • When they had assembled their fellow Levites and consecrated themselves, they went in to purify Yahweh’s house just as the king had ordered, in accordance with the word of Yahweh. The priests entered Yahweh’s house to clean it. They brought everything unclean that they found inside Yahweh’s house to the courtyard of Yahweh’s house. From there, the Levites took them to the Kidron Valley. They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the eighth month they had reached the portico of Yahweh’s house. They continued to consecrate Yahweh’s house for 8 more days, and they finished on the 16th day of the first month. Then they went to King Hezekiah and said, “We have purified the entire house of Yahweh, including the altar of burnt offerings and all its utensils, and the table for the Bread of the Presence and all its utensils. We have prepared and consecrated all the articles that King Ahaz removed in unfaithfulness during his reign. They are in front of Yahweh’s altar.”

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible reminds us that, “The brook of Kidron, or the ‘Kidron Valley,’ was just outside Jerusalem and was used as a refuse dump for idolatrous objects (29:16; 30:14). An inscription found at the site of Khirbet El-Qom, near modern Hebron, reads, ‘Blessed be Uriyahu by Yahweh and by his Asherah, for from his enemies he has saved him!’ (Hadley, Cult of Asherah, 96) The inscription dates to the second half of the eighth century BC. It reflects the constant struggle in Judah between true servants of Yahweh and syncretists and idolaters.”

      • ESV Study Bible remarks, “The work of cleansing the temple took two weeks, until the sixteenth day of the first month, two days past the proper date of Passover (see Num 9:1-11…)”

Hezekiah Restores Temple Worship

      • Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to Yahweh’s house. They brought 7 bulls, 7 rams, 7 male lambs, and 7 male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, Aaron’s descendants, to offer them on Yahweh’s altar. So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and splashed it against the altar. Next they slaughtered the rams and splashed their blood against the altar. Then they slaughtered the lambs and splashed their blood against the altar. Finally, they brought the goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they placed their hands on them. Then the priests slaughtered them and presented their blood on the altar as a sin offering to atone for all of Israel, because the king had commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The restoration of worship following the cleansing of the temple begins with a sin offering for all Israel as the appointed means in the Law of Moses for removing every kind of evil and defilement from the people (see Lev 4:1-5:13).” Also, the laying on of hands, “calls to mind the scapegoat ritual of the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:20-22).”

      • Hezekiah stationed the Levites in the house of Yahweh with cymbals, harps, and lyres just as David, Gad, the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet had ordered. This command was from Yahweh through His prophets. The Levites stood with David’s musical instruments, and the priests with trumpets. Then Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offerings on the altar. As the offering began, they also began to sing to Yahweh accompanied by the trumpets and the musical instruments of Israel’s King David. The entire assembly worshiped as the singers sang and the trumpets sounded. All of this continued until the burnt offering was completed.

      • When the offering was finished, the king and all those who were there with him bowed down and worshiped. King Hezekiah and the officials told the Levites to sing praise to Yahweh using the psalms of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises joyfully, bowed down, and worshiped. Then Hezekiah said, “You have now consecrated yourselves to Yahweh. Come bring sacrifices and thank offerings to Yahweh’s house.” So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings.

        • Guzik says, “Once they had properly sacrificed and cleansed the temple and their own hearts before the LORD, now the assembly was invited to come and bring their personal offerings. One of the great purposes of the temple – as a place for the personal sacrifice and worship of the believer – was now restored.”

      • The assembly brought a total of 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs as burnt offerings to Yahweh, and 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep were consecrated. But there weren’t enough priests to skin all the burnt offerings, so their Levite relatives helped them until all the work was finished, and more priests had consecrated themselves- because the Levites had been more conscientious about consecrating themselves than the priests had been. Besides the large amount of burnt offerings, there was the fat of the fellowship offerings, along with the drink offerings for the burnt offerings. So the service of the house of Yahweh was reestablished. Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had done for them, because it was done so quickly.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The Chronicler shows surprise and delight at the people’s spontaneity and at the great number of devoted praise offerings consumed as part of the thanksgiving festivities. These things indicated that the Lord himself had prepared the people’s hearts for the event, far beyond what the priests and Levites had anticipated.”

        • Guzik adds, “The remarkable response of the assembly was proof that God had prepared the people. There could never be such a response unless God was at work among His people, and this was evidence of such a work.”

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