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Hezekiah’s religious reforms (29:1-31:21)
Immediately he became king, Hezekiah began a thorough reformation of Judah’s religion. This was prompted partly by the preaching of the prophet Micah (Jeremiah 26:17-19; see notes on 2 Kings 18:1-12).
The Chronicler gives a detailed account of Hezekiah’s work, particularly that part of it which affected the temple, the priests and the Levites. Hezekiah called a meeting of priests and Levites and told them plainly that neglect of the temple was the reason for God’s anger with Judah. Their first job was to clean the rubbish out of the temple and prepare it for the recommencement of religious services (29:1-11). The temple was so filthy that a large group of Levites took more than two weeks to clean and prepare the building for use again (12-19).
Hezekiah then held a service in which sacrifices were offered for the cleansing and rededication of the king, the nation and the temple (20-24). All this was accompanied by the music and singing of the Levites as arranged by David (25-30).
When the service was finished, the people were invited to make personal offerings. They responded so promptly and generously that the priests were spiritually unprepared for, and physically unable to cope with, the renewed activity in the temple. The Levites, who showed more enthusiasm, had to be called in to help (31-36).
After the rededication of the temple, Hezekiah held a great Passover Feast. His reforms began too late for the Passover to be held in the first month of the year (the time specified in the law), so it was postponed one month (cf. Numbers 9:10-11). Hezekiah invited the scattered northerners who had escaped captivity, but most were not interested (30:1-12).
Those who gathered for the feast cleansed Jerusalem of all traces of false religion. Their zeal for religious purity stirred up the priests and Levites to hurry and ceremonially cleanse themselves in time for the feast. Certain visitors to Jerusalem arrived too late for the seven day purification ritual before the Passover, and joined in the feast while still unclean. On Hezekiah’s request, God forgave them (13-22). The occasion was so joyous that the feast was extended one week (23-27).
Once the city of Jerusalem and its temple had been cleansed, the people went out and cleansed the country areas (31:1). Having removed false religion, Hezekiah made plans for the proper functioning of the nation’s true religion. First he divided the priests and Levites into groups according to David’s plan (see 1 Chronicles 23:1-32). Then he arranged for their proper support through the orderly payment of tithes and offerings by all the people (2-7).
People responded so generously that Hezekiah prepared special storage places for all the sheep, cattle and produce they offered. He also appointed officials to administer the stores, and made a register of all those eligible for support, to ensure there was no dishonesty in the administration (8-21).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 31". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20