2 Chronicles 31


‘When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property.’ 2 Chronicles 31:1

After celebrating the Passover in the previous chapter, Hezekiah now gets down to some serious business of removing all the idolatrous sacred stones and Asherah poles through the land of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh, 2 Chronicles 29:15-19 / 2 Chronicles 30:14 / 2 Kings 18:4 / 2 Kings 18:22.

This was a joint effort which we haven’t seen up to this point, which tells us that the celebrating of the Passover, must have seriously moved people’s hearts toward God and His ways.

Contributions For Worship

‘Hezekiah assigned the priests and Levites to divisions—each of them according to their duties as priests or Levites—to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to minister, to give thanks and to sing praises at the gates of the LORD’s dwelling. The king contributed from his own possessions for the morning and evening burnt offerings and for the burnt offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals as written in the Law of the LORD. He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due the priests and Levites so they could devote themselves to the Law of the LORD. As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah also brought a tithe of their herds and flocks and a tithe of the holy things dedicated to the LORD their God, and they piled them in heaps. They began doing this in the third month and finished in the seventh month. When Hezekiah and his officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the LORD and blessed his people Israel. Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps; and Azariah the chief priest, from the family of Zadok, answered, “Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the LORD has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.” Hezekiah gave orders to prepare storerooms in the temple of the LORD, and this was done. Then they faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes and dedicated gifts. Konaniah, a Levite, was the overseer in charge of these things, and his brother Shimei was next in rank. Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath and Benaiah were assistants of Konaniah and Shimei his brother. All these served by appointment of King Hezekiah and Azariah the official in charge of the temple of God. Kore son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the East Gate, was in charge of the freewill offerings given to God, distributing the contributions made to the LORD and also the consecrated gifts. Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shekaniah assisted him faithfully in the towns of the priests, distributing to their fellow priests according to their divisions, old and young alike. In addition, they distributed to the males three years old or more whose names were in the genealogical records—all who would enter the temple of the LORD to perform the daily duties of their various tasks, according to their responsibilities and their divisions. And they distributed to the priests enrolled by their families in the genealogical records and likewise to the Levites twenty years old or more, according to their responsibilities and their divisions. They included all the little ones, the wives, and the sons and daughters of the whole community listed in these genealogical records. For they were faithful in consecrating themselves. As for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who lived on the farmlands around their towns or in any other towns, men were designated by name to distribute portions to every male among them and to all who were recorded in the genealogies of the Levites. This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.’ 2 Chronicles 31:2-21

Hezekiah’s next move was to organize the priests and Levites to assume their responsibility to lead spiritually the people and to carry out their responsibilities of ministry in reference to their physical duties to the people.

In order to encourage the priests and Levites, they were to devote themselves to work in the temple and teach God’s law, 2 Chronicles 17:7-9 / Nehemiah 13:10-14 / 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘For the burnt offerings, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the daily sacrifice offered morning and evening, which had been neglected, but now revived and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and the new moons, and for the set feasts, when beside the daily sacrifice there were additional ones, as it is written in the law of the Lord, Numbers 28:9.’

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following, concerning Azariah the chief priest.

‘If this Azariah was the same as he who resisted Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:17-20, he must have held his office at least 33 years, 2 Chronicles 27:1 / 2 Chronicles 28:1.’

Coffman, in commentary, says the following.

‘This paragraph, 2 Chronicles 31:2-10, pictures Hezekiah, not only as a second Solomon, but as a second David. There was a wholesale reordering of the religious life and personnel of Israel. The freedom provided by these events gave the Levites time to devote themselves to the Law of Jehovah, thus making it absolutely certain that during the times of Josiah, less than seventy-five years later, there would be countless persons left in Israel who were thoroughly familiar with the entire Mosaic covenant and the precious ‘Book of Moses’ that attended it.’

Notice that Hezekiah himself gave an offering, which would set the example for everyone else. As a way of encouraging the priests and Levites, he commands that everyone who lives in Jerusalem should also contribute, Numbers 18:21-24, and notice the result when the people willingly gave, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 / 2 Corinthians 9, the priests and the Levites were greatly encouraged.

They brought tithes, Numbers 18:12-13, tithes of oxen, and sheep, which was in accordance with the law, Leviticus 27:32 / Leviticus 27:30-33 / Numbers 18:31.

When Hezekiah saw the heaps, he simply praised God for working in the hearts of all those who willingly gave support for the priests and Levites, Deuteronomy 12:19 / Deuteronomy 14:22-29.

The distribution of the freewill offerings was well organized, Leviticus 6:25 / Leviticus 7:1-6, as certain people were chosen to ensure the offerings were evenly distributed between the priests and the Levites, Acts 6:1-7.

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘As to the priests registered according to their families from the age before observed, a portion was given so to the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, in their charges, by their courses, for though originally they were not admitted into the tabernacle till twenty-five years of age, nor to officiate till thirty, but in David’s time they were allowed at twenty years of age and upwards, 1 Chronicles 23:24.’

The towns of the priests were actually the Levitical cities. While some had gone into decay, others, as Libnah and Beth-Shemesh, 2 Chronicles 21:10 / 2 Chronicles 28:18, had been lost, so that the original number, thirteen, was now, apparently, reduced to six.

Hezekiah sought God and worked wholeheartedly, in other words, he was totally committed to God and doing His will, 1 Chronicles 22:19 / 1 Chronicles 28:9 / 2 Chronicles 15:17 / 2 Chronicles 22:29 / 2 Chronicles 11:16 / 2 Chronicles 19:3 / Matthew 22:37, and the reward was prosperity.

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