2 Chronicles 28-31 Bible in Basic English

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The Reign of Ahaz

28 1  Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he was ruling in Jerusalem for sixteen years; he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, like David his father: 2  But he went in the ways of the kings of Israel and made images of metal for the Baals. 3  More than this, he had offerings burned in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and made his children go through fire, copying the disgusting ways of the nations whom the Lord had sent out of the land before the children of Israel. 4  And he made offerings and had perfumes burned in the high places and on the hills and under every green tree. 5  So the Lord his God gave him up into the hands of the king of Aram; and they overcame him, and took away a great number of his people as prisoners to Damascus. Then he was given into the hands of the king of Israel, who sent great destruction on him.

6  For Pekah, the son of Remaliah, in one day put to death a hundred and twenty thousand men of Judah, all of them good fighting-men; because they had given up the Lord, the God of their fathers. 7  And Zichri, a great fighting-man of Ephraim, put to death Maaseiah, the king's son, and Azrikam, the controller of his house, and Elkanah, who was second in authority to the king. 8  And the children of Israel took away as prisoners from their brothers, two hundred thousand, women and sons and daughters, and a great store of their goods, and took them to Samaria. 9  But a prophet of the Lord was there, named Oded; and he went out in front of the army which was coming into Samaria and said to them, Truly, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them up into your hands, and you have put them to death in an outburst of wrath stretching up to heaven. 10  And now your purpose is to keep the children of Judah and Jerusalem as men-servants and women-servants under your yoke: but are there no sins against the Lord your God to be seen among yourselves? 11  And now give ear to me, and send back the prisoners whom you have taken from your brothers: for the wrath of the Lord is burning against you. 12  Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah, the son of Johanan, Berechiah, the son of Meshillemoth Jehizkiah, the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, put themselves against those who had come from the war, 13  And said to them, You are not to let these prisoners come here; for what you are designing to do will be a cause of sin against the Lord to us, making even greater our sin and our wrongdoing, which now are great enough, and his wrath is burning against Israel. 14  So the armed men gave up the prisoners and the goods they had taken to the heads and the meeting of the people. 15  And those men who have been named went up and took the prisoners, clothing those among them who were uncovered, with things from the goods which had been taken in the war, and putting robes on them and shoes on their feet; and they gave them food and drink and oil for their bodies, and seating all the feeble among them on asses, they took them to Jericho, the town of palm-trees, to their people, and then went back to Samaria.

16  At that time King Ahaz sent for help to the king of Assyria. 17  For the Edomites had come again, attacking Judah and taking away prisoners. 18  And the Philistines, forcing their way into the towns of the lowlands and the south of Judah, had taken Beth-shemesh and Aijalon and Gederoth and Soco, with their daughter-towns, as well as Timnah and Gimzo and their daughter-towns, and were living there. 19  For the Lord made Judah low, because of Ahaz, king of Israel; for he had given up all self-control in Judah, sinning greatly against the Lord. 20  Then Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, came to him, but was a cause of trouble and not of strength to him. 21  For Ahaz took a part of the wealth from the house of the Lord, and from the house of the king and of the great men, and gave it to the king of Assyria; but it was no help to him. 22  And in the time of his trouble, this same King Ahaz did even more evil against the Lord. 23  For he made offerings to the gods of Damascus, who were attacking him, and said, Because the gods of the kings of Aram are giving them help, I will make offerings to them so that they may give me help. But they were the cause of his downfall, and of that of all Israel. 24  And Ahaz got together the vessels of the house of God, cutting up all the vessels of the house of God, and shutting the doors of the Lord's house; and he made altars in every part of Jerusalem. 25  And in every town of Judah he made high places where perfumes were burned to other gods, awaking the wrath of the Lord, the God of his fathers. 26  Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, first and last, are recorded in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27  And Ahaz went to rest with his fathers, and they put his body into the earth in Jerusalem; but they did not put him in the resting-place of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son became king in his place.

The Reign of Hezekiah

29 1  Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old; and he was king in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years; and his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2  He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done.

Hezekiah Restores the Temple Worship

3  In the first year of his rule, in the first month, opening the doors of the Lord's house, he made them strong. 4  And he sent for the priests and the Levites, and got them together in the wide place on the east side, 5  And said to them, Give ear to me, O Levites: now make yourselves holy, and make holy the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and take away everything unclean from the holy place. 6  For our fathers have done evil, sinning in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have given him up, turning away their faces from the house of the Lord, and turning their backs on him. 7  The doors of his house have been shut and the lights put out; no perfumes have been burned or offerings made to the God of Israel in his holy place. 8  And so the wrath of the Lord has come on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has given them up to be a cause of fear and wonder and shame, as your eyes have seen. 9  For see, our fathers have been put to death with the sword, and our sons and daughters and wives have been taken away prisoners because of this. 10  Now it is my purpose to make an agreement with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that the heat of his wrath may be turned away from us. 11  My sons, take care now: for you have been marked out by the Lord to come before him and to be his servants, burning offerings to him.

12  Then the Levites took their places; Mahath, the son of Amasai, and Joel, the son of Azariah, among the Kohathites; and of the sons of Merari, Kish, the son of Abdi, and Azariah, the son of Jehallelel; and of the Gershonites, Joah, the son of Zimmah, and Eden, the son of Joah; 13  And of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel; and of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; 14  And of the sons of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. 15  And they got their brothers together and made themselves holy, and went in, as the king had said by the word of the Lord, to make the house of the Lord clean. 16  And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to make it clean, and everything unclean which was to be seen in the Temple of the Lord they took out into the outer square of the Lord's house, and the Levites got it together and took it away to the stream Kidron. 17  On the first day of the first month the work of making the house holy was started, and on the eighth day they came to the covered way of the Lord; in eight days they made the Lord's house holy, and on the sixteenth day of the first month the work was done. 18  Then they went in to King Hezekiah and said, We have made all the house of the Lord clean, as well as the altar of burned offerings with all its vessels, and the table for the holy bread, with all its vessels. 19  And all the vessels which were turned out by King Ahaz in his sin while he was king, we have put in order and made holy, and now they are in their places before the altar of the Lord.

20  Then Hezekiah the king got up early, and got together the great men of the town, and went up to the house of the Lord. 21  And they took with them seven oxen and seven male sheep and seven lambs and seven he-goats as a sin-offering for the kingdom and for the holy house and for Judah. And he gave orders to the sons of Aaron, the priests, that these were to be offered on the altar of the Lord. 22  So they put the oxen to death and their blood was given to the priests to be drained out against the altar; then they put the male sheep to death, draining out their blood against the altar, and they put the lambs to death, draining out their blood against the altar. 23  Then they took the he-goats for the sin-offering, placing them before the king and the meeting of the people, and they put their hands on them: 24  And the priests put them to death, and made a sin-offering with their blood on the altar, to take away the sin of all Israel: for the king gave orders that the burned offering and the sin-offering were for all Israel. 25  Then he put the Levites in their places in the house of the Lord, with brass and corded instruments of music as ordered by David and Gad, the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet: for the order was the Lord's, given by his prophets. 26  So the Levites took their places with David's instruments, and the priests with their horns. 27  And Hezekiah gave the word for the burned offering to be offered on the altar. And when the burned offering was started, then the song of the Lord was started, with the blowing of horns and with all the instruments of David, king of Israel. 28  And all the people gave worship, to the sound of songs and the blowing of horns; and this went on till the burned offering was ended. 29  And at the end of the offering, the king and all who were present with him gave worship with bent heads. 30  Then King Hezekiah and the captains gave orders to the Levites to give praise to God in the words of David and Asaph the seer. And they made songs of praise with joy, and with bent heads gave worship. 31  Then Hezekiah made answer and said, Now that you have given yourselves to the Lord, come near and take offerings and praise-offerings into the house of the Lord. So all the people took in offerings and praise-offerings: and those whose hearts were moved, took in burned offerings. 32  The number of burned offerings which the people took in was seventy oxen, a hundred male sheep, and two hundred lambs: all these were for burned offerings to the Lord. 33  And the holy things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep. 34  There were not enough priests for the work of cutting up all the burned offerings; so their brothers the Levites gave them help till the work was done and the priests had made themselves holy: for the Levites were more upright in heart to make themselves holy than the priests. 35  And there was a great amount of burned offerings, with the fat of the peace-offerings and the drink offerings for every burned offering. So the work of the Lord's house was put in order. 36  And Hezekiah and all the people were full of joy, because God had made the people ready: for the thing was done suddenly.

The Celebration of the Passover

30 1  Then Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah, and sent letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, requesting them to come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. 2  For the king, after discussion with his chiefs and all the body of the people in Jerusalem, had made a decision to keep the Passover in the second month. 3  It was not possible to keep it at that time, because not enough priests had made themselves holy, and the people had not come together in Jerusalem. 4  And the thing was right in the eyes of the king and all the people. 5  So it was ordered that word was to be sent out through all Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, that they were to come to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem: because they had not kept it in great numbers in agreement with the law. 6  So runners went with letters from the king and his chiefs through all Israel and Judah, by the order of the king, saying, O children of Israel, come back again to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he may come again to that small band of you which has been kept safe out of the hands of the kings of Assyria. 7  Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were sinners against the Lord, the God of their fathers, so that he made them a cause of fear, as you see. 8  Now do not be hard-hearted, as your fathers were; but give yourselves to the Lord, and come into his holy place, which he has made his for ever, and be the servants of the Lord your God, so that the heat of his wrath may be turned away from you. 9  For if you come back to the Lord, those who took away your brothers and your children will have pity on them, and let them come back to this land: for the Lord your God is full of grace and mercy, and his face will not be turned away from you if you come back to him. 10  So the runners went from town to town through all the country of Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun: but they were laughed at and made sport of. 11  However, some of Asher and Manasseh and Zebulun put away their pride and came to Jerusalem. 12  And in Judah the power of God gave them one heart to do the orders of the king and the captains, which were taken as the word of the Lord.

13  So a very great number of people came together at Jerusalem to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month. 14  And they got to work and took away all the altars in Jerusalem, and they put all the vessels for burning perfumes into the stream Kidron. 15  Then on the fourteenth day of the second month they put the Passover lambs to death: and the priests and the Levites were shamed, and made themselves holy and took burned offerings into the house of the Lord. 16  And they took their places in their right order, as it was ordered in the law of Moses, the man of God: the priests draining out on the altar the blood given them by the Levites. 17  For there were still a number of the people there who had not made themselves holy: so the Levites had to put Passover lambs to death for those who were not clean, to make them holy to the Lord. 18  For a great number of the people from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not made themselves clean, but they took the Passover meal, though not in the right way. For Hezekiah had made prayer for them, saying, May the good Lord have mercy on everyone 19  Who, with all his heart, is turned to God the Lord, the God of his fathers, even if he has not been made clean after the rules of the holy place. 20  And the Lord gave ear to Hezekiah, and made the people well.

21  So the children of Israel who were present in Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread for seven days with great joy: and the Levites and the priests gave praise to the Lord day by day, making melody to the Lord with loud instruments. 22  And Hezekiah said kind words to the Levites who were expert in the ordering of the worship of the Lord: so they kept the feast for seven days, offering peace-offerings and praising the Lord, the God of their fathers. 23  And by the desire of all the people, the feast went on for another seven days, and they kept the seven days with joy. 24  For Hezekiah, king of Judah, gave to the people for offerings, a thousand oxen and seven thousand sheep; and the rulers gave a thousand oxen and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests made themselves holy. 25  And all the people of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and those who had come from Israel, and men from other lands who had come from Israel or who were living in Judah, were glad with great joy. 26  So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for nothing like this had been seen in Jerusalem from the time of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel. 27  Then the priests and the Levites gave the people a blessing: and the voice of their prayer went up to the holy place of God in heaven.

31 1  Now when all this was over, all the men of Israel who were present went out into the towns of Judah, causing the stone pillars to be broken up and the wood pillars to be cut down, pulling down the high places and the altars in all Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, till all were gone. Then all the children of Israel went back to their towns, every man to his property.

Hezekiah's Provision for the Priests and Levites

2  Then Hezekiah put in order the divisions of the priests and Levites, every man in his division, in relation to his work, for the burned offerings and peace-offerings, and for the ordering of worship and for giving praise at the doors of the Lord's house. 3  And he gave the king's part of his private property for the burned offerings, that is, for the morning and evening offerings, and the offerings for the Sabbath and the new moons and the regular feasts, as it is recorded in the law of the Lord. 4  In addition, he gave orders to the people of Jerusalem to give to the priests and Levites that part which was theirs by right, so that they might be strong in keeping the law of the Lord. 5  And when the order was made public, straight away the children of Israel gave, in great amounts, the first-fruits of their grain and wine and oil and honey, and of the produce of their fields; and they took in a tenth part of everything, a great store. 6  And the children of Israel and Judah, who were living in the towns of Judah came with the tenth part of their oxen and sheep, and a tenth of all the holy things which were to be given to the Lord their God, and put them in great masses. 7  The first store of things was put down in the third month, and in the seventh month the masses were complete. 8  And when Hezekiah and the rulers came and saw all the store of goods, they gave praise to the Lord and to his people Israel. 9  Then Hezekiah put questions to the priests and Levites about the store of goods. 10  And Azariah, the chief priest, of the family of Zadok, said in answer, From the time when the people first came with their offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had food enough, and more than enough: for the blessing of the Lord is on his people; and there is this great store which has not been used.

11  Then Hezekiah said that store-rooms were to be made ready in the house of the Lord; and this was done. 12  And in them they put all the offerings and the tenths and the holy things, keeping nothing back, and over them was Conaniah the Levite, with Shimei his brother second to him. 13  And Jehiel and Azaziah and Nahath and Asahel and Jerimoth and Jozabad and Eliel and Ismachiah and Mahath and Benaiah were overseers, under the directions of Conaniah and Shimei his brother, by the order of Hezekiah the king and Azariah, the ruler of the house of God. 14  And Kore, the son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the east door, had control of the offerings freely given to God, and the distribution of the offerings of the Lord and the most holy things. 15  And under him were Eden and Miniamin and Jeshua and Shemaiah and Amariah and Shecaniah, in the towns of the priests, who were made responsible for giving it to all their brothers, by divisions, to small and great: 16  As well as to all the males, of three years old and over, listed by their families, who went into the house of the Lord to do what was needed day by day, for their special work with their divisions. 17  And the families of the priests were listed by their fathers' names, but the Levites, of twenty years old and over, were listed in relation to their work in their divisions; 18  And in the lists were all their little ones and their wives and their sons and daughters, through all the people: they made themselves holy in the positions which they were given. 19  And as for the sons of Aaron, the priests, living in the country on the outskirts of their towns, every different town there were men, marked out by name, to give their part of the goods to all the males among the priests, and to all who were listed among the Levites. 20  This Hezekiah did through all Judah; he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. 21  And for everything he undertook, in connection with the work of the house of God and his law and orders, he got directions from God and did it with serious purpose; and things went well for him.

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