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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 30

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1Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the house of the LORD in Jerusalem to keep the Passover of the LORD the God of Israel. 2The king and his officers and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month, 3but they had not been able to keep it at that time, because not enough priests had hallowed themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. 4The proposal being acceptable to the king and the whole assembly, 5they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that the people should come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover of the LORD the God of Israel. Never before had so many kept it according to the prescribed form. 6Couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his officers, proclaiming the royal command: ‘Turn back, you Israelites, to the LORD the God of your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he may turn back to those of you who escaped capture by the kings of Assyria. 7Do not be like your forefathers and your kinsmen, who were unfaithful to the LORD the God of their fathers, so that he made them an object of horror, as you yourselves saw. 8Do not be stubborn as your forefathers were; submit yourselves to the LORD and enter his sanctuary which he has sanctified for ever, and worship the LORD your God, so that his anger may be averted from you. 9For when you turn back to the LORD, your kinsmen and your children will win compassion from their captors and return to this land. The LORD your God is gracious and compassionate, and he will not turn away from you if you turn back to him.’

10As the couriers passed from town to town throughout the land of Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as Zebulun, they were treated with scorn and ridicule. 11However, a few people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun submitted and came to Jerusalem. 12Further, the hand of God moved the people in Judah with one accord to carry out what the king and his officers had ordered at the LORD's command.

13It was a very large assembly that gathered in Jerusalem to keep the pilgrim-feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14They began by removing the altars in Jerusalem, and the incense-altars they removed and threw into the wadi of the Kidron. 15They killed the Passover lamb on the four-teenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were bitterly ashamed, and they hallowed themselves and brought whole-offerings to the house of the LORD. 16They took their accustomed places, according to the direction laid down for them in the law of Moses the man of God, and the priests flung against the altar the blood which they received from the Levites.

17Because many in the assembly had not hallowed themselves, the Levites had to kill Passover lambs for all who were unclean, in order to hallow them to the LORD. 18For a majority of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not kept themselves ritually clean, and therefore kept the Passover irregularly. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the good LORD grant pardon to everyone 19who makes a practice of seeking guidance of God, the LORD the God of his forefathers, even if he has not observed the rules of purification for the sanctuary.’ 20The LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

21The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem kept the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great rejoicing, and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD every day with unrestrained fervour a 30:21 with unrestrained fervour: prob. rdg; Heb. with powerful instruments. . 22Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who had shown true insight in the service of the LORD. The seven days of the festival they spent sacrificing shared-offerings and making confession to b 30:22 making confession to: or confessing. the LORD the God of their forefathers.

23The whole assembly agreed to keep the feast for another seven days, and they kept it with general rejoicing. 24For Hezekiah king of Judah set aside for the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and his officers set aside for the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and priests hallowed themselves in great numbers. 25The whole assembly of Judah, including the priests and the Levites, rejoiced along with all who had assembled from Israel, and the resident aliens from Israel as well as those who lived in Judah. 26There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem, the like of which had not been known there since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel. 27The priests and the Levites c 30:27 and the Levites: so many MSS; others omit and. stood to bless the people, and their voice was heard when their prayer reached God's holy dwelling-place in heaven.

Notes:

a 30:21 with unrestrained fervour: prob. rdg; Heb. with powerful instruments.

b 30:22 making confession to: or confessing.

c 30:27 and the Levites: so many MSS; others omit and.

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