2 Chronicles 31:1–32:19

Hezekiah Organizes the Priesthood

31 And when all this was finished, all Israel who were found in the cities of Judah went out and shattered the stone pillars, cut down the Asherahs, and destroyed the high places and the altars from all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh to the very last one.a Then all the Israelites returned, each to his own property and to their cities.

And Hezekiah appointed working groups of the priests and the Levites, each according to their divisions, according to the service for priests and Levites,b for burnt offerings, for peace offerings, to serve, to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camps of Yahweh. And the gift of the king was out of his own possessions for the burnt offerings—the burnt offerings for the morning and the evening and for Sabbaths, new moon festivals, and appointed feasts, as is written in the law of Yahweh. Then he said to the people, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to give a gift for the priests and the Levites, so that they might be strong in the law of Yahweh. And the word spread. The Israelites gave abundantly from the firstfruits of grain, new wine, olive oil, honey, and all kinds of grains from the field. And they brought tithes of everything in abundance. Then the people of Israel and Judah who were living in the cities of Judah, they also brought a tithe of cattle and sheep and a tithe of consecrated objects to Yahweh their God. And they gave heaps upon heaps. In the third month the heaps began to pile up, and in the seventh month they ceased. When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed Yahweh and his people Israel. And Hezekiah questionedc the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. 10 And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, saying, “Since the offerings began to be brought to the house of Yahweh, we have eaten and been satisfied, and have much to spare, for Yahweh has blessed his people. Now see this abundant remainder!”

11 And Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of Yahweh, and they were prepared. 12 Then they brought the offerings and tithes and holy objects faithfully. And over them as leader was Conaniah the Levite. And Shimei his brother was second in rank. 13 And Jehiel, Azaziah, Nathan, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were chief officers under the hand of Conaniah and Shimei, his brother, by appointment of King Hezekiah. And Azaraiah was leader of the house of God. 14 Now Kore the son of Imlah, the Levite, the gatekeeper of the east gate was over the freewill offerings of God, to give offerings to Yahweh and the most holy things. 15 And at his hand were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah in the cities of the priests and entrustedd to give to their brothers by working groups, according to the eldest to the youngest, 16 besides their enrollment by genealogy, to males from three years olde and above, to all who came into the house of Yahweh, as each day requiredf for their service in their posts according to their working groups. 17 And the enrollment of the priests was according to the house of their fathers, and the Levites, from twenty years oldg and above, according to their posts by their working groups. 18 And they were enrolled with all their little ones, their wives, their sons, and their daughters for the whole assembly because of their faithfulness. And they sanctified themselves in holiness. 19 And for the descendantsh of Aaron, the priests, who were in the fields of the pasturelands of their cities, in each and every one of their citiesi were men who were designated by name to give shares to every male among the priests and to everyone enrolled among the Levites.

20 And Hezekiah did according to this throughout all Judah. And he did what is good and what is right and what is faithful before Yahweh his God. 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God or with respect to the law and the commandment to seek his God, he did with all his heart, and he prospered.

Sennacherib’s Invasion of Judah

32 After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib the king of Assyria came, and he came against Judah. And he encamped against the fortified cities and planned to break them down for himself. When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that his face was set for battle against Jerusalem, he took counsel with his commanders and his mighty warriors to block off the waters of the springs that came from outside the city, and they helped him. Then many people were gathered, and they blocked off all the springs and the river that flowed through the midst of the land, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water?” Then he strengthened himself and built up all the walls that were broken down, and raised towers upon them and another wall outside.a And he strengthened the Millo of the city of David and made much weaponry and small shields. And he appointed commanders for battle over the people and gathered them to himself into the public square of the gate of the city. And he spoke to their hearts, saying, “Be strong! Be courageous! Do not fear and do not be dismayed before the king of Assyria and before all the crowd that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is the arm of flesh, and with us is Yahweh our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence with the words of Hezekiah, king of Judah.

After this Sennacherib the king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem (now he and all his armies with him were against Lachish) to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all of Judah that was in Jerusalem, saying, 10 “Thus says Sennacherib the king of Assyria: ‘On what are you relying that you are dwelling in siege works in Jerusalem? 11 Is not Hezekiah urging you to give you up to die by starvation and thirst, saying, “Yahweh our God will save us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? 12 Has not Hezekiah himself removed his high places and his altars and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, saying, “You must bow down before one altar and upon it you must make offerings”? 13 Do you not know what I have done, I and my ancestors,b to all the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of all the lands at all able to save their land from my hand? 14 Who among all the gods of those nations whom my ancestorsc utterly destroyed was able to save his people from my hand, that your God will be able to save you from my hand? 15 So now, do not let Hezekiah deceive you. Do not let him urge you according to this. Do not put trust in him, for no god of any nation and kingdom has been able to save his people from my hand and from the hand of my ancestors.d Surely then your God will not save you from my hand!’ ”

16 And still more his servants said against Yahweh God and against Hezekiah his servant. 17 And he wrote letters to treat Yahweh the God of Israel with contempt and spoke against him, saying, “As the gods of the nations of the earth who did not save their people from my hand, so likewise the God of Hezekiah will not save his people from my hand.” 18 Then they called with a great voice in Judean to the people of Jerusalem who were upon the wall to frighten them and terrify them, so that they could take the city captive. 19 And they spoke about the God of Jerusalem as about the gods of the peoples of the earth, the works of the hands of humankind.

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