2 Chronicles 30-32 Bible in Basic English

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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.

The Invasion of Sennacherib

32 1  Now after these things and this true-hearted work, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came into Judah, and put his army in position before the walled towns of Judah, designing to make his way into them by force. 2  And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come for the purpose of fighting against Jerusalem, 3  He took up with his rulers and men of war the question of stopping up the water-springs outside the town; and they gave him their support. 4  So they got together a great number of people, and had all the water-springs and the stream flowing through the land stopped up, saying, Why let the kings of Assyria come and have much water? 5  Then he took heart, building up the wall where it was broken down, and making its towers higher, and building another wall outside; and he made strong the Millo in the town of David, and got together a great store of all sorts of instruments of war. 6  And he put war chiefs over the people, and sent for them all to come together to him in the wide place at the doorway into the town, and to give them heart he said to them, 7  Be strong and take heart; have no fear, and do not be troubled on account of the king of Assyria and all the great army with him: for there is a greater with us. 8  With him is an arm of flesh; but we have the Lord our God, helping us and fighting for us. And the people put their faith in what Hezekiah, king of Judah, said.

9  After this, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent his servants to Jerusalem (at that time he was stationed with all his army in front of Lachish), to say to Hezekiah and all the men of Judah in Jerusalem, 10  Sennacherib, king of Assyria, says, In what are you placing your hope, waiting here in the walled town of Jerusalem? 11  Is it not Hezekiah who has got you to do it, causing your death from need of food and water, by saying, The Lord our God will give us salvation out of the hands of the king of Assyria? 12  Has not this same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, Give worship before one altar only, burning offerings on it? 13  Have you no knowledge of what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of every land? were the gods of the nations of those lands able to keep their land from falling into my hands? 14  Who was there among all the gods of those nations, which my fathers put to destruction, who was able to keep his people safe from my hands? and is it possible that your God will keep you safe from my hands? 15  So do not be tricked by Hezekiah or let him get you to do this, and do not put any faith in what he says: for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to keep his people safe from my hands, or the hands of my fathers: how much less will your God keep you safe from my hands! 16  And his servants said even more against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah. 17  And he sent letters, in addition, to put shame on the Lord, the God of Israel, and to say evil against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not been able to keep their people safe from my hands, no more will the God of Hezekiah keep his people safe from my hands. 18  These things they said, crying out with a loud voice in the Jews' language, to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, with the purpose of troubling them and putting fear into them, so that they might take the town; 19  Talking of the God of Jerusalem as if he was like the gods of the peoples of the earth, the work of men's hands.

The LORD Delivers Hezekiah

20  And Hezekiah the king, and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, made prayer because of this, crying out to heaven. 21  And the Lord sent an angel who put to death all the men of war and the chiefs and the captains in the army of the king of Assyria. So he went back to his country in shame. And when he came into the house of his god, his sons, the offspring of his body, put him to death there with the sword. 22  So the Lord gave Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem salvation from the power of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, and from all others, giving them rest on every side. 23  And great numbers came to Jerusalem with offerings for the Lord, and things of great price for Hezekiah, king of Judah: so that he was honoured among all nations from that time.

Hezekiah's Sickness

24  In those days Hezekiah was ill and near death; and he made prayer to the Lord, and the Lord in answer gave him a sign. 25  But Hezekiah did not do as had been done to him; for his heart was lifted up in pride; and so wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26  But then, Hezekiah, in sorrow for what he had done, put away his pride; and he and all Jerusalem made themselves low, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in Hezekiah's life-time.

Hezekiah Receives Envoys from Babylon

27  And Hezekiah had very great wealth and honour; and he made himself store-houses for his gold and silver and jewels and spices, and for body-covers and all sorts of beautiful vessels. 28  And store-houses for the produce of grain and wine and oil; and buildings for all sorts of beasts and flocks. 29  And he made towns for himself, and got together much property in flocks and herds: for God had given him great wealth. 30  It was Hezekiah who had the higher spring of the water of Gihon stopped, and the water taken down on the west side of the town of David. In everything he undertook, Hezekiah did well. 31  However, in the business of the representatives sent by the rulers of Babylon to get news of the wonder which had taken place in the land, God gave up guiding him, testing him to see what was in his heart.

The Death of Hezekiah

32  Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and the good he did, are recorded in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33  So Hezekiah went to rest with his fathers, and they put his body into the higher part of the resting-places of the sons of David: and all Judah and the people of Jerusalem gave him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son became king in his place.

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