1Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became the king of Judah. He ruled from Jerusalem for 29 years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of a man whose name was Zechariah.
2Hezekiah did things that Yahweh considered to be right, like his ancestor King David had done.
3During March of the first year that Hezekiah was ruling Judah, he unlocked the doors of the temple, and his workers repaired them.
4Then he gathered the priests and other descendants of Levi in the area on the east side of the temple,
5and he said to them, “You descendants of Levi, listen to me! Consecrate yourselves. And then consecrate the temple of Yahweh, the God whom our ancestors worshiped/belonged to. Remove from the temple all the things that are not pleasing to God.
6Our ancestors disobeyed God; they did many things that he considered to beevil, things that werre not pleasing to him. They abandoned this place where Yahweh lives, and they have turned away from him.
7They locked the doors of the temple and extinguished the lamps. They did not burn any incense, and they did not offer any sacrifices that were to be completely burned on the altar.
8Therefore, Yahweh has become very angry with us people of Jerusalem and other places in Judah, and he has caused other people to become frightened and horrified when they hear what Yahweh did to punish us. And they ridicule us. You know this very well.
9That is why our fathers have been killed in battles, and our sons and daughters and our wives have been captured and taken to other countries.
10But now I intend to make an agreement with Yahweh, our God, in order that he will no longer be angry with us.
11You who are like my sons, do not waste any time. Do immediately what Yahweh wants you to do. Yahweh has chosen you to stand in his presence and offer sacrifices and burn incense.”
12Then these descendants of Levi started to work in the temple: From the descendants of Kohath there were Mahath the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah. From the descendants of Merari there were Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehallelel. From the descendants of Gershon there were Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah.
13From the descendants of Elizaphan there were Shimri and Jeiel. From the descendants of Asaph there were Zechariah and Mattaniah.
14From the descendants of Heman there were Jehiel and Shimei. From the descendants of Jeduthun there were Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15When those men had gathered their fellow descendants of Levi and had consecrated themselves, they entered the temple in order to consecrate it. That was what the king had commanded them to do, and they were also obeying what Yahweh had commanded.
16The priests entered the temple to consecrate it. They brought out into the courtyard of the temple everything that they had found in the temple that was not pleasing to Yahweh. Then the descendants of Levi took those things down to the Kidron Valley and burned them there.
17The priests and other descendants of Levi started this work on the first day of March and finished purifying the courtyard of the temple on the eighth day of that month, and they finished purifying the temple one week later.
18Then they went to King Hezekiah and reported, “We have purified all parts of the temple, and the altar where sacrifices are completely burned, and all the items used at the altar, the table on which the priests place the sacred bread, and the things used at that table.
19While Ahaz was our king, he disobeyed what Yahweh had commanded, and he removed from the temple many things that should be there, but now we have brought them back and placed them in front of the sacred altar.”
20Early the next morning, King Hezekiah gathered together the city officials, and they went to the courtyard of the temple.
21They took with them seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs, and seven male goats to be an offering in order that Yahweh would forgive the sins of all the people in the kingdom of Judah, and in order to purify the temple. The king commanded that the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, should offer those animals to be sacrificed to Yahweh on the altar.
22So first the priests slaughtered those bulls, and took their blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Then they slaughtered the rams and sprinkled their blood on the altar. Then they slaughtered the lambs and sprinkled their blood on the altar.
23The goats that were slaughtered to be an offering in order that Yahweh would forgive the sins of the people were brought to the king and the others who were there. Then the king and those who were present laid their hands on those goats.
24Then the priests slaughtered those goats and splashed their blood on the altar in order that Yahweh would forgive the sins that all the Israeli people had committed. The priests did that because the king had commanded that offerings that would be completely burned on the altar and other sacrifices should be made for all the people of Israel.
25The king then told the descendants of Levi to stand in the temple with their cymbals and harps and lyres, obeying what David and his prophets Gad and Nathan had commanded. Those were things that Yahweh had told his prophets that the descendants of Levi should do.
26So the descendants of Levi went and stood in the temple, ready to play the musical instruments that King David had given to them. And the priests were ready to blow their trumpets.
27Then Hezekiah told some of the priests to burn the animals that would be sacrificed on the altar. When they started to burn the animals, the people started to sing to praise Yahweh, while the other descendants of Levi were playing their instruments.
28All the people who were there bowed to worship Yahweh, while the singers sang and the trumpeters blew their trumpets. They continued to do this until they had finished slaughtering all the animals that would be completely burned.
29When they finished making those offerings, the king and all those who were there knelt down and worshiped Yahweh.
30Then King Hezekiah and his officials commanded the descendants of Levi to praise Yahweh, singing the songs composed/written by David and Asaph the prophet. So they sang songs joyfully and bowed their heads to worship.
31Then Hezekiah said, “You have now dedicated yourselves to Yahweh. So come close to the temple and bring animals to be sacrificed and other offerings to thank Yahweh for what he has done for you.” And those who wanted to bring animals to be completely burned on the altar brought them.
32Altogether they brought 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 male lambs to be completely burned on the altar.
33The other animals that they brought were 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep and goats that were set apart to be sacrifices.
34But there were not enough priests to remove the skins from the animals that would be completely burned on the altar. So their fellow descendants of Levi helped them until that work was finished, and until other priests had purified/consecrated themselves to do that work. It was necessary for them to do that because many of the priests had not yet performed the rituals to consecrate themselves for that work, like the descendants of Levi had done.
35In addition to the all the offerings that were completely burned on the altar, the priests also burned the fat of the other animals that were sacrificed to maintain good fellowship with Yahweh, and the usual wine offerings. So the worship at the temple began again.
36And Hezekiah and all the other people of Judah celebrated, because God had enabled them to do all those things very quickly.