30King Hezekiah now sent word to all Israel and Judah, and he wrote letters of invitation to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh. He asked everyone to come to the Temple of the LORD at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the LORD, the God of Israel.H3169H7971H3478H3063H3789H107H669H4519H935H1004H3068H3389H6213H6453H3068H430H3478 2The king, his officials, and all the community of Jerusalem decided to celebrate Passover a month later than usual.H4428H3289H8269H6951H3389H6213H6453H8145H2320 3They were unable to celebrate it at the prescribed time because not enough priests could be purified by then, and the people had not yet assembled at Jerusalem.H3201H6213H6256H3548H6942H4078H1767H5971H622H3389 4This plan for keeping the Passover seemed right to the king and all the people.H1697H3474H5869H4428H6951 5So they sent a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north, inviting everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the LORD, the God of Israel. The people had not been celebrating it in great numbers as required in the Law.H5975H1697H5674H6963H3478H884H1835H935H6213H6453H3068H430H3478H3389H6213H7230H3789 6At the king's command, runners were sent throughout Israel and Judah. They carried letters that said: "O people of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he will return to the few of us who have survived the conquest of the Assyrian kings.H7323H3212H107H3027H4428H8269H3478H3063H4687H4428H559H1121H3478H7725H3068H430H85H3327H3478H7725H7604H6413H3709H4428H804 7Do not be like your ancestors and relatives who abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and became an object of derision, as you yourselves can see.H1H251H4603H3068H430H1H5414H8047H7200 8Do not be stubborn, as they were, but submit yourselves to the LORD. Come to his Temple, which he has set apart as holy forever. Worship the LORD your God so that his fierce anger will turn away from you.H7185H6203H1H5414H3027H3068H935H4720H6942H5769H5647H3068H430H2740H639H7725 9"For if you return to the LORD, your relatives and your children will be treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you."H7725H3068H251H1121H7356H6440H7617H7725H776H3068H430H2587H7349H5493H6440H7725 10The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them.H7323H5674H5892H5892H776H669H4519H2074H7832H3932 11However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.H582H836H4519H2074H3665H935H3389 12At the same time, God's hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD.H3063H3027H430H5414H259H3820H6213H4687H4428H8269H1697H3068 13So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in midspring to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread.H622H3389H7227H5971H6213H2282H4682H8145H2320H3966H7230H6951 14They set to work and removed the pagan altars from Jerusalem. They took away all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.H6965H5493H4196H3389H6999H5493H7993H5158H6939 15On the fourteenth day of the second month, one month later than usual, the people slaughtered the Passover lamb. This shamed the priests and Levites, so they purified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Temple of the LORD.H7819H6453H702H6240H8145H2320H3548H3881H3637H6942H935H5930H1004H3068 16Then they took their places at the Temple as prescribed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites brought the sacrificial blood to the priests, who then sprinkled it on the altar.H5975H5977H4941H8451H4872H376H430H3548H2236H1818H3027H3881 17Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the LORD.H7227H6951H6942H3881H7821H6453H2889H6942H3068 18Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, "May the LORD, who is good, pardon thoseH4768H5971H7227H669H4519H3485H2074H3808H2891H398H6453H3789H3169H6419H559H2896H3068H3722 19who decide to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony."H3559H3824H1875H430H3068H430H1H2893H6944 20And the LORD listened to Hezekiah's prayer and healed the people.H3068H8085H3169H7495H5971 21So the people of Israel who were present in Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Each day the Levites and priests sang to the LORD, accompanied by loud instruments.H1121H3478H4672H3389H6213H2282H4682H7651H3117H1419H8057H3881H3548H1984H3068H3117H3117H5797H3627H3068 22Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the LORD. The celebration continued for seven days. Peace offerings were sacrificed, and the people gave thanks to the LORD, the God of their ancestors.H3169H1696H3820H3881H7919H2896H7922H3068H398H4150H7651H3117H2076H8002H2077H3034H3068H430H1 23The entire assembly then decided to continue the festival another seven days, so they celebrated joyfully for another week.H6951H3289H6213H312H7651H3117H6213H7651H3117H8057 24King Hezekiah gave the people 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep and goats for offerings, and the officials donated 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep and goats. Meanwhile, many more priests purified themselves.H2396H4428H3063H7311H6951H505H6499H7651H505H6629H8269H7311H6951H505H6499H6235H505H6629H7230H3548H6942 25The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, including the priests, the Levites, all who came from the land of Israel, the foreigners who came to the festival, and all those who lived in Judah.H6951H3063H3548H3881H6951H935H3478H1616H935H776H3478H3427H3063H8055 26There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David's son.H1419H8057H3389H3117H8010H1121H1732H4428H3478H3389 27Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven.H3548H3881H6965H1288H5971H6963H8085H8605H935H6944H4583H8064
New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.