2 Chronicles 30


Preparations for Passover

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The account of Hezekiah’s Passover is not mentioned in 2 Kings. Hezekiah demonstrates his commitment to the Law of Moses by pressing on to this celebration immediately after the reconsecration of the temple. At the same time, the ceremony is unorthodox in its date…and in the participation of the ceremonially unclean (vv. 18-20). The Passover is also the occasion in which people from the north and south are reunited (at least in principle) in true worship at the temple, in contrast to earlier attempts to secure a false unity through force of arms (see 11:1-4; 13:8) or ungodly alliances (see 18:1; 19:2; 20:35).”

      • Hezekiah sent messages throughout all of Israel and Judah, and even wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, summoning them to come to Yahweh’s house in Jerusalem to observe the Passover to Yahweh, the God of Israel. The king, his officials, and the entire assembly in Jerusalem had decided to observe the Passover in the second month since they had not been able to observe it at the prescribed time, because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. This plan seemed appropriate to the king and all of the assembly, so they decided to send out a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beer Sheba all the way to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem to observe the Passover to Yahweh, the God of Israel. They hadn’t been observing it as prescribed.

        • HCSB notes, “Passover was normally held on the first of the month of the year (Ex 12:2; Lv 23:5; Nm 9:5). But exceptions were not unknown for those who had been unclean because of contact with a corpse or who had been traveling (Nm 9:10-11). Both of these exceptions were applied here. The temple and the nation were unclean due to contact with Ahaz’s idols. The burial of the idols in the Kidron Valley was an important symbol in this respect (29:16). In addition, because the northern kingdom was invited to the feast, time was needed for the journey. Also, Jeroboam had changed the religious calendar by one month (1 Kg 12:32-33). ‘From Beer-sheba to Dan’ was the theoretical extent of the nation’s territory (see 1 Ch 21:2).”

      • At the king’s command, runners went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his officials, which read:

        • O people of Israel, return to Yahweh, God of Abraham, Issac, and Israel, so that He may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hands of the Assyrian kings. Don’t be like your fathers and your brothers who were unfaithful to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, so that He made them an object of horror, as you can see for yourselves. Now, don’t be stubborn like your fathers. Instead, yield yourselves to Yahweh, come to His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve Yahweh your God so that He may turn His fierce wrath away from you. If you return to Yahweh, your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown mercy by their captors and return to this land. Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to Him, He will not continue to turn His face from you.”

          • ESV Study Bible notes, “The letters of invitation are similar in content and language to Hezekiah’s speech to the priests and Levites (29:5-11). More than an invitation to participate in a festival (30:8b), they are really a summons to repentance (return to the Lord), so that God will avert his anger and the captives of the Assyrians will be returned (v. 9).”

          • Guzik adds, “The northern kingdom of Israel had fallen and all that remained after exile to the Assyrians was the remnant of you who have escaped. Yet Hezekiah still believed in the concept of the Children of Israel, those of the tribes of Israel descended from the great patriarchs…The letter of invitation promised two things if the remnant of Israel would return to the LORD and obediently celebrate this Passover in Jerusalem. First, under God’s blessing it would go well with those already taken captive by the Assyrians. Second, God would restore the northern kingdom and allow them to come back to this land. These promises were based on an eternal principle of God’s character: that He will not turn His face from you if you return to Him. God promises to draw near to those who draw near to Him.”

Celebration of Passover

      • The runners traveled from city to city through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but the people mocked and ridiculed them. Nevertheless, some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Also, in Judah, the hand of God was on the people to give them united hearts to do what the king and his officials had commanded in accordance with the word of Yahweh. A very large assembly of people was gathered in Jerusalem to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. They set to work removing the altars in Jerusalem, and they also removed the incense altars and threw them in the Kidron Valley.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The northern kingdom had been conquered by the Assyrians (2 Kgs 17:5-28), and many of its people were taken into exile in Assyria. People from other conquered lands now lived there. Most of these foreigners, as well as those Israelites left by the Assyrians, regarded the conquest of Israel as proof that the Lord- the God of Israel- was impotent. They laughed at the thought of making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to honor him. Some people…humbled themselves, fulfilling the first criterion in Solomon’s formula (7:14).”

        • The same source continues, “Several challenges faced Hezekiah before Passover could be observed. Although the Temple had been purified, the city was not pure. The first task of the assembled multitude was to remove all pagan altars, which they disposed of in the Kidron Valley, where they could be burned.”

      • They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the 14th day of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed, so they consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the house of Yahweh. They stood at their prescribed posts, in accordance with the Law of Moses, the man of God. The priests were splashing the blood as the Levites handed it to them. Because many in the assembly had not consecrated themselves, the Levites slaughtered the Passover lambs of all those who were ceremonially unclean and could not consecrate their sacrifice to Yahweh. The majority of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun were ceremonially unclean, yet they ate the Passover, which is a violation of what is prescribed in the Law. But Hezekiah interceded for them, praying, “May Yahweh, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God, Yahweh, the God of his ancestors, even if they are not ceremonially clean in accordance with the sanctuary’s rules of purification.” And Yahweh heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

        • Regarding the statement that the Levites had to slaughter the Passover lamb for those who were unclean, the ESV Study Bible remarks that this was, “A new, permanent change in their duties (see 35:5-6). It had previously been the responsibility of the elders to slaughter the Passover lamb (Ex 12:21).

        • The same source adds, “Although the northerners who were ceremonially unclean and thus deficient according to the letter of the law, their genuine repentance and Hezekiah’s intercession were enough to override this deficiency. And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people in fulfillment of the promise in 7:14. ‘Healing’ here is probably a metaphor for forgiveness and spiritual cleansing so that the people could come before God in keeping with Hezekiah’s prayer (see Ps 41:4; Jer 30:17).”

      • The people of Israel who were present in Jerusalem observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread with great joy for 7 days. The Levites and the priests praised Yahweh day after day, singing with all their might to Yahweh. Hezekiah expressed his appreciation to all the Levites who demonstrated great skill in serving Yahweh. They feasted for the 7 days of the festival, sacrificing fellowship offerings and giving thanks to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.

      • Then the entire assembly decided to observe the festival for another 7 days, so they celebrated joyfully for 7 more days. Judah’s King Hezekiah supplied 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep to the assembly for offerings, and the officials supplied them with an additional 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. Large numbers of priests consecrated themselves. The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites, and all those who had come from Israel, including the resident foreigners who came from Israel, and those who were residents in Judah. There was great joy in Jerusalem, because there hadn’t been anything like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon, who was the son of Israel’s King David. Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard them, and their prayer came to His holy dwelling place in heaven.

        • Guzik says, “This was a remarkable and wonderful response to their experience of worship, teaching, and fellowship. They wanted to make the necessary sacrifices to continue the feast for another week, and they did it with gladness. There is no indication in the text that they offered more Passover lambs or continued eating unleavened bread, which belonged to the specific seasons of these feasts. The emphasis is on their continuation of worship, teaching, and fellowship… Since those days there had not been a Passover in Jerusalem so widely and enthusiastically celebrated. According to Numbers 6:22-27, it was the duty of the priests to bless the people with these words: The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. As the priests obeyed this command, their voice was heard, even to heaven and the people were indeed blessed.”

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