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

Chapter 31

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1When this was over, all the Israelites present went out into the towns and cities of Judah and smashed the sacred pillars, hacked down the sacred poles, and demolished the shrines and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had made an end of them all. That done, the Israelites returned, each to his own holding in his own town.

2Hezekiah installed the priests and the Levites in office, division by division, allotting to each priest and each Levite his own particular duty, for whole-offerings or shared-offerings, to serve, to give thanks, and to sing praise at the gates of the several quarters in the LORD's house a 31:2 in the LORD's house: so Gk; Heb. of the LORD. .

3The king provided from his own resources, as the share due from him, the whole-offerings for both morning and evening, and for sabbaths, new moons, and appointed seasons, as prescribed in the law of the LORD. 4He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to provide the share due to the priests and the Levites, so that these might devote themselves entirely to the law of the LORD. 5As soon as the king's order was issued to the Israelites, they gave generously from the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, oil, and honey, all the produce of their land; they brought a full tithe of everything. 6The Israelites and Judaeans living in the towns of Judah also brought a tithe of cattle and sheep, and a tithe of all produce as offerings dedicated to the LORD their God, and they stacked the produce in heaps. 7They began to deposit the heaps in the third month and completed them in the seventh.

8When Hezekiah and his officers came and saw the heaps, they praised the LORD and his people Israel. 9Hezekiah consulted the priests and the Levites about these heaps, 10and Azariah the chief priest, who was of the line of Zadok, answered, ‘From the time when the people began to bring their contribution into the house of the LORD, they have had enough to eat, enough and to spare; indeed, the LORD has so greatly blessed them that they have this great store left over.’

11Hezekiah gave orders for storerooms to be prepared in the house of the LORD, and when this was done 12the people faithfully brought in their contributions, the tithe, and their dedicated gifts. The overseer in charge of them was Conaniah the Levite, with Shimei his brother as his deputy; 13Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were appointed by King Hezekiah and Azariah, the chief overseer of the house of God, to assist Conaniah and Shimei his brother. 14Kore son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the East Gate, was in charge of the freewill-offerings to God, to apportion the contributions made to the LORD and the most sacred offerings. 15Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, She-maiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah in the priestly cities and towns assisted him in the fair distribution of portions to their kinsmen, young and old b 31:15 young and old: or high and low. alike, by divisions. 16Irrespective of their registration, shares were distributed to all males three years of age and upwards who would enter the house of the LORD to take their daily part in the service, according to their divisions, as their office demanded. 17The priests were registered by families, the Levites of twenty years of age and upwards by their offices in their divisions. 18They were registered with all their dependants, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, the whole company of them, because in virtue of their permanent standing they had to keep themselves duly hallowed. 19As for the priests of Aaron's line in the common lands attached to their cities and towns, in every place men were nominated to distribute portions to every male among the priests and to everyone among the Levites who was on the register.

20Such was the action taken by Hezekiah throughout Judah; he did what was good and right and loyal in the sight of the LORD his God. 21Whatever he undertook in the service of the house of God and in obedience to the law and the commandment to seek guidance of his God, he did with all his heart, and he prospered.

Notes:

a 31:2 in the LORD's house: so Gk; Heb. of the LORD.

b 31:15 young and old: or high and low.

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