2 Chronicles 29


‘Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done.’ 2 Chronicles 29:1-2

Hezekiah Purifies The Temple

Whilst the Northern Kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity, 2 Kings 17:5, Hezekiah now becomes king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah at the age of twenty-five. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah, who is probably the person mentioned by Isaiah, as a ‘faithful witness’, Isaiah 8:2.

He reigned for twenty-nine years, from 716 B.C. to 687 B.C. When we read Isaiah 36-37, we soon discover that we have a parallel account of what we have recorded here in 2 Kings 18 and 2 Kings 19, it’s almost word for word.

Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of God, he trusted God and restored Judah back to God. He also made reforms in the cities, but also in the rural areas as he removed the high places of the false gods by destroying them, 2 Kings 18:4 / 2 Chronicles 31:20-21.

‘In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the LORD, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the LORD our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the LORD’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Therefore, the anger of the LORD has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. Now I intend to make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” Then these Levites set to work: from the Kohathites, Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah; from the Merarites, Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel; from the Gershonites, Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah; from the descendants of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; from the descendants of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; from the descendants of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; from the descendants of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. When they had assembled their fellow Levites and consecrated themselves, they went in to purify the temple of the LORD, as the king had ordered, following the word of the LORD. The priests went into the sanctuary of the LORD to purify it. They brought out to the courtyard of the LORD’s temple everything unclean that they found in the temple of the LORD. The Levites took it and carried it out to the Kidron Valley. They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of the LORD. For eight more days they consecrated the temple of the LORD itself, finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month. Then they went in to King Hezekiah and reported: “We have purified the entire temple of the LORD, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the consecrated bread, with all its articles. We have prepared and consecrated all the articles that King Ahaz removed in his unfaithfulness while he was king. They are now in front of the LORD’s altar.” 2 Chronicles 29:3-19

Whitcomb, in his commentary, gives us a detailed account of exactly what Hezekiah did.

1. He opened the temple doors which Ahaz had closed, 2 Chronicles 28:24 / 2 Chronicles 29:3.

2. He ordered the cleansing of the temple, 2 Chronicles 29:4-19.

3. He offered appropriate sacrifices, 2 Chronicles 29:20-36.

4. He invited Israelites of every tribe to come to Jerusalem, 2 Chronicles 30:5-12.

5. He also celebrated a Passover that had to be delayed a month to allow the worshippers to become clean, 2 Chronicles 30:1-12.

Hezekiah set the example for others by destroying the bronze serpent of Moses known as Nehushtan when it became an idol, 2 Kings 18:4.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the altar.

‘But does not 2 Kings 16:14-16 state that Ahaz himself made offerings on that special altar? Yes, indeed, but there is no contradiction here. The Chronicler is merely telling us, and those Levites, that those sacrifices that Ahaz offered on an Assyrian altar, were, in no sense, offered unto the God of Israel, but were actually sacrifices to Assyrian gods.’

In doing all these things, he did what the kings before him failed to achieve, Isaiah 52:11. No wonder the Lord was with Hezekiah, he was committed to serving God and restoring the people of Judah back to God and God was committed to being with him.

‘Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to the temple of the LORD. They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the LORD. So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and splashed it against the altar; next they slaughtered the rams and splashed their blood against the altar; then they slaughtered the lambs and splashed their blood against the altar. The goats for the sin offering were brought before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. The priests then slaughtered the goats and presented their blood on the altar for a sin offering to atone for all Israel, because the king had ordered the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel. He stationed the Levites in the temple of the LORD with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the LORD through his prophets. So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments, and the priests with their trumpets. Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the LORD began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the musicians played and the trumpets sounded. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed. When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped. King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed down and worshiped.’ 2 Chronicles 29:20-30

After the temple had been cleaned up and cleansed, those who were responsible for the ministry of the temple service were back at work and so, the offerings were instituted again with the ministry of the priests.

Coffman, in his commentary, points out the following.

1. The wrath of Jehovah was upon Judah, 2 Chronicles 29:8. This word, ‘wrath’ is used in Deuteronomy 28:25, where Moses had predicted this very disaster that befell Judah.

2. For Jehovah hath chosen you, 2 Chronicles 29:11. This is stated in Numbers 3:6 / Numbers 8:6 and Deuteronomy 10:8.

3. They brought seven bullocks, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven he-goats for a sin-offering for the Kingdom, 2 Chronicles 29:21. The use of these animals for that purpose was authorized in Leviticus 1:3f / Leviticus 14:20 and Leviticus 16:24. Seven victims were offered because seven was a sacred number.

4. The use of seven victims instead of one in certain sacrifices was authorized in Numbers 28:11ff.

5. The priests received the blood and sprinkled it upon the altar, 2 Chronicles 29:22. The ritual for this action is found in the law of Moses in Exodus 29:16 and Leviticus 1:5 / Leviticus 1:11.

6. The king and the assembly laid their hands upon them, the sacrifices, 2 Chronicles 29:23. This ceremony is described in Leviticus 1:4.

7. And they made a sin-offering with their blood upon the altar, 2 Chronicles 29:24. In Leviticus 4:25 / Leviticus 4:34 is found the description of exactly how this was done.

8. Come near, and bring thank-offerings into the house of Jehovah, 2 Chronicles 29:31. The thanksgiving here was for the joy over the renewal of the worship of Jehovah. Instructions for the offerings and ceremonies for such an occasion are found in Leviticus 7:12ff.

9. The burnt offerings. with the fat of the peace offerings, and with the drink offerings for every burnt offering, so the service for the house of Jehovah was set in order, 2 Chronicles 29:35. The drink offerings were of wine and probably poured like the blood at the base of the altar. Very complete and detailed instructions for these sacrifices, including the drink offerings, are found in Numbers 15:1-15.

Hezekiah undone everything Ahaz had done and now he is ready to start working on reforming the ears outside of Jerusalem.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following, concerning, the offering to atone for all of Israel.

‘Hezekiah aimed at reuniting once more the whole people of Israel, if not into a single state, yet, at any rate, into a single religious communion. The northern kingdom was in a condition approaching to anarchy. The end was evidently approaching. Hoshea, the king contemporary with Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:1, ruled, not as an independent monarch, but as an Assyrian feudatory, 2 Kings 17:3. Under these circumstances Hezekiah designed to invite the revolted tribes to return, if not to their old temporal, at least to their old spiritual, allegiance, 2 Chronicles 30:5-10. In order, therefore, to prepare the way for this return, he included ‘all Israel’ in the expiatory sacrifice, by which he prefaced his restoration of the old worship.’

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following concerning the use of musical instruments, 2 Chronicles 29:25.

‘This is the passage in the Old Testament which is supposed to justify the use of mechanical instruments of music in the ancient worship of the Jews; but it should be observed that the commandment which is here said to have come from God is not specifically identified in this key sentence and the Syriac and Arabic versions in this place do not support what is written here. Both those versions make the commandment which came of God through his prophets applicable exclusively to the order that the Levites should praise God; And the Hebrew text certainly supports such a rendition. Note that there is a distinction made in this very passage between the instruments of David, 2 Chronicles 29:26, and the song of Jehovah, 2 Chronicles 29:27.’

‘Then Hezekiah said, “You have now dedicated yourselves to the LORD. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the LORD.” So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings. The number of burnt offerings the assembly brought was seventy bulls, a hundred rams and two hundred male lambs—all of them for burnt offerings to the LORD. The animals consecrated as sacrifices amounted to six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep and goats. The priests, however, were too few to skin all the burnt offerings; so their relatives the Levites helped them until the task was finished and until other priests had been consecrated, for the Levites had been more conscientious in consecrating themselves than the priests had been. There were burnt offerings in abundance, together with the fat of the fellowship offerings and the drink offerings that accompanied the burnt offerings. So the service of the temple of the LORD was re-established. Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.’  2 Chronicles 29:31-36

The offerings which were brought for eating, were brought for the priests and Levites, however, there were so many animals brought that the priests couldn’t prepare all the animals for cooking. Therefore, the Levites helped in the preparation of the animals.

Notice before Hezekiah could bring reformation to the country, he first had to put God’s house, that is, the temple in order. The priests and Levites had to assume their responsibilities and then the call went out to all the people of Judah, and to those in the northern kingdom, to come for a restitution of the Passover feast.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following, 2 Chronicles 29:34.

‘Urijah, the high priest, had participated to some extent in the impieties of Ahaz, 2 Kings 16:10-16. He and many of the priests may, therefore, have looked coldly on the reforming zeal of Hezekiah.’

Hezekiah first led the leaders in a spiritual restoration, and then he led the leaders to restore as many as possible of his fellow Israelites. The result of all these things being done was an acknowledgement that only God could make all this happen so quickly and everyone rejoiced.

Go To 2 Chronicles 30