2 Chronicles 31

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 31

Removal of Idolatry

      • When all of this was completed, all Israel who had attended went out to the cities of Judah and smashed all the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and destroyed all the high places and altars throughout all of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Then all the people of Israel returned to their own homes in their cities.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The festival united the Israelites of the north and south and sparked a popular movement to eradicate pagan worship from Ephraim and Manasseh, as well as Judah and Benjamin.”

Hezekiah Organizes the Priests

        • ESV Study Bible says, “The final stage in Hezekiah’s reforms is the restoration of the temple services, which had evidently lapsed when Ahaz closed the temple (28:24). This required the reorganization of the priests and Levites for the offering of sacrifices and praise (31:2) and the reinstatement of tithes and offerings to support the temple personnel (vv. 4-19). The Chronicler is at pains to demonstrate the people support the temple generously (v. 5) and that Hezekiah makes effective provisions for the faithful collection and distribution of the gifts (vv. 11-19). The consequence of Hezekiah’s faithful leadership is blessing on the people and his own reign (v. 10, 21). The account stands as an evident example and encouragement to the Chronicler’s own community (see Neh 10:35-39).”

      • Hezekiah reestablished the divisions of priests and Levites, each division corresponding to his service among the priests and Levites- for the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to minister, to give thanks, and to offer praise at the gates of the camp of Yahweh.

        • On the reference to the camp of Yahweh above, HCSB writes, “The Chronicler used the image of the tabernacle in the wilderness, another time of spiritual renewal for the nation, to refer to the temple.”

      • The king contributed from his own personal possessions for the the burnt offerings including the daily morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings made on the Sabbaths, the new moons, and at the appointed festivals as it is prescribed in the Law of Yahweh.

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “Hezekiah leads with the example of his own generosity, as David had done before (1 Chron 29:2-5).”

      • He commanded the people living in Jerusalem to contribute the portion prescribed for the priests and Levites so they could devote themselves to the Law of Yahweh. As soon as the order went out, the people of Israel generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, wine, oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a tithe of everything, which amounted to a large quantity. The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the cities of Judah brought in a tithe of their cattle and sheep. They also brought a tithe of the dedicated things that had been consecrated to Yahweh their God, and piled them in heaps. They started doing this in the 3rd month and finished in the 7th month. When Hezekiah and his officials came and saw the heaps, they praised Yahweh and blessed His people Israel.

        • Guzik remarks, “King Hezekiah did not present this as an option for the people of Judah. They were commanded to fulfill their obligations under the Law of Moses to support the priesthood through their tithes (Numbers 18:21-24).

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The firstfruits were for the priests (Num 18:12-13) and the tithes were for the Levites (Num 18:21, 24). The amassing of food lasts from the grain harvest in the third month (May-June, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost) until the fruit and vine harvest in the seventh month (September-October, the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles). On these occasions and at Passover, all the Israelite men were to come to the temple (Ex 23:16-17).”

          • My note: The tithe amount is 10%. Many Bible translations even substitute “a tenth” here instead of the word “tithe.”

      • Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps, and the chief priest Azariah, who was from the family of Zadok, answered, “Since the people began to bring their contributions to Yahweh’s house, we have had plenty to eat and plenty to spare, because Yahweh has blessed His people so that we have this large amount left over.” So Hezekiah told them to prepare storerooms in the house of Yahweh and they did so. They faithfully brought in their contributions, their tithes, and the dedicated things. Konaniah, a Levite, was the overseer in charge of these things, and his brother Shimei was second in command. Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah worked under the supervision of Konaniah and his brother Shimei, as directed by King Hezekiah and Azariah. Azariah was the officer in charge of God’s house.

      • Imnah’s son Kore, a Levite and guard on the East Gate, was in charge of the freewill offerings given to God, and disbursed the contributions made to Yahweh, and also the consecrated items. In the cities of the priests, Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shekaniah faithfully assisted him in making disbursements to their fellow priests according to their divisions, young and old alike. They made disbursements to all those 3 years old and up who were listed in the genealogical records- to all who would enter the house of Yahweh to perform the daily duties of their various tasks, according to their responsibilities and their divisions. They made disbursements to the priests listed in the genealogical records by their families, and to the Levites 20 years old and up, according to their duties as assigned to their divisions. They included all the infants, wives, and the children of the entire assembly because they were faithful in consecrating themselves. As for the priests, the descendants of Aaron who lived in the fields of common land belonging to their cities, men were designated by name to disburse portions to every male among the priests, and to every Levite listed in the genealogical records.

        • ESV Study Bible says, “Distribution was made to priests and their families, including provision for males from three years old, i.e., the age by which all of them had been weaned.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “A great number of Levites, most from provincial towns, were eligible for service. Small groups of them came to Jerusalem on a rotation system for short terms of office (see 1 Chr 24:1-19). All Levites were entitled to portions of the offerings given at the Temple.”

      • Hezekiah did this throughout all of Judah. He did what was good, right, and faithful before Yahweh his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in obedience to the Law and the commandments, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly, and he prospered.

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “The summarizing evaluation of Hezekiah echoes the praise of the king in 2 Kings 18:3, 5-7a but reflects the Chronicler’s characteristic vocabulary and concept of the exemplary king.” On seeking his God with his whole heart and prospering, the same source says, “This recalls David’s exhortation of Solomon (see 1 Chron 22:13, 19; 28:9).”

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