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See note on 2 Kings 18:1
Hezekiah Issues a Challenge - 2 Chronicles 29:3-11
A prime mark of the godliness of the new king Hezekiah, is the fact that he opened up the doors of the temple, which had been closed by his father, Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:24), in the very first year, the first month, of his reign. These he had repaired and convened the priests and Levites in the street east of the temple, or in front of it. The closed temple had left these people without a task to perform, and to appearances they were not greatly concerned about it. In addressing them the king called on them to sanctify themselves to return to the service, then proceed to the sanctification of the temple itself, cleansing it of the filthiness which it had accumulated under the misrule of Ahaz.
From this Hezekiah continued to a confession of the sins of the fathers. They had trespassed against the Lord and done evil in His eyes. They had forsaken him and turned from the temple and its worship. Their utter lack of concern was demonstrated in their allowing the closing of the doors of the temple. The lights on the lampstand had gone out, the incense had been discontinued on the altar of incense in the holy place, and the burnt offerings were no longer carried out in accordance with the Levitical statutes.
For these things, the wrath of God had fallen on Judah and Jerusalem. They had suffered calamities by their enemies; those who once had seen the mighty power of the Lord on Israel’s behalf were astonished at the change in their affairs. They had become a hissing, or an object of mockery and ridicule, which Israel could see with their own eyes. Still worse the people had suffered. Their men had fallen to the sword from the time of their fathers, as witness the loss of the 120,000 in the war with Syria and Israel. At the same time the women, their sons and their daughters had, many of them, been carried away into captivity. It was not hard to see that God’s hand was upon them in judgment.
The priests and the Levites had to assume a great deal of the blame, for they had been negligent in their example and teaching of the people and seemingly content to have the house of the Lord closed. That had been a negative example to the people (Isaiah 24:2). So Hezekiah proposes to renew the covenant of Israel with the Lord. He says it is in his heart, meaning that it is a sincere desire, doubtless inspired by his devotion to the Lord. He calls on these spiritual leaders to get out of their lethargy and negligence and to fulfill their responsibility as given them by the Lord Himself, to renew their ministry in the temple and burn the incense daily again, as it once was.
2 Chronicles 29:12
Temple Cleansed - 2 Chronicles 29:12-19
The Levites responded to the king’s challenge at once and set about to cleanse themselves. None of those named are otherwise notable in the Scriptures, but each of the major Levitical families are named, implying unanimous approval of the covenant renewal. These were the three chief families of the tribe of Levi; Kohath, Merari, and Gershon. Also represented in the effort were the families of the musicians and singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. These sanctified themselves and presented themselves at the temple to assist the priests in disposal of the filth and trash from the sanctuary.
The priests went into the sacrosanct areas of the temple where they alone were permitted to go and began the clean-up there. This they brought out to the court where the Levites could take it and dump it into the brook Kidron. This cleansing of the inner sanctuary of the temple was begun by the priests on the first day of the month and was completed from the holy of holies out to the porch in a period of a week, that task being completed on the eighth day. By the sixteenth day of the month the job of cleansing the Lord’s house was done. They reported to Hezekiah the cleansing of the house, the altar and its vessels, and the shewbred table and its vessels. All the vessels which wicked King Ahaz had discarded in his pagan worship were restored and sanctified and put in their place before the altar.
The Lord cannot be worshipped acceptably when there is fifth in His house, and a cleansed house necessitates the cleansing of the heart and life. The New Testament contains many admonitions to believers to cleanse their temples (1 Corinthians 3:16). Only thus can they be acceptable in His service ( James 4:8).
2 Chronicles 29:20
Temple Re-consecrated - 2 Chronicles 29:20-36
That Hezekiah rose early means that he began promptly and without delay the task of calling the pepple of Judah to renewal of the covenant of the Lord. He gathered the rulers of Jerusalem to the temple. These brought seven each of all clean animals, bullocks, rams, lambs, and he-goats, for sin offering for the kingdom (king’s house), sanctuary (temple), and Judah (people). The priests were commanded to officiate in the offering of these animals, and they proceeded to kill them. They began with the bullocks which they killed, and sprinkled the blood on the altar. The same was done with the rams and the lambs. Then the goats were brought finally, and in the presence of the congregation the priests killed them, after the king and the people laid their hands on them, this signifying their offering of the animals as the substitute for their sins. Burnt offerings and sin offerings were made for all Israel.
The Levites bearing the musical instruments and singing sounded their instruments just as the ceremony had been established centuries before under the guidance of David the king, Gad his seer, and Nathan the prophet, and just as God’s prophets had preached they should be doing during their apostasy under Ahaz. As the burnt offering was being made and the music was playing the people worshipped. The singers sang the psalms of David and Asaph and the trumpeters sounded on their instruments. It was a very beautiful and joyous sound and the beginning of a great spiritual revival in Judah. The people were glad to sing and humbly bowed themselves in worship of the Lord whose temple had been neglected for so long.
Now that the people had also consecrated themselves, King Hezekiah invited them to come and bring their own sacrifices of burnt offerings and offerings of thanksgiving. Thus many of them did so, all of a free, willing, and glad heart. Seventy bullocks, a hundred rams, and two hundred lambs were brought for burnt offerings for the congregation. Also six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep were consecrated for sacrifice during the time. Some of the priests had been slow in sanctifying themselves so that there were too few of them prepared to skin all these many animals. Therefore the Levites who had been more diligent pitched in and helped with the preparation of the carcases until all the priests were sanctified. There were many burnt offerings to make and much fat of the peace offerings to burn, with the drink offerings that accompanied them. But the service of the Lord’s house was once more set in order. The king and the people rejoiced together, for God’s hand was recognized in so preparing the people. It was "done suddenly," or spontaneously, by the people, without coercion. God’s people honor Him most by offering themselves out of willing hearts (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
Some lessons: 1) Bad men’s sons do not have to be bad, too, for they may be very good; 2) reverence for heroes and events may rob God of His rightful worship; 3) to get right with God one must begin by confessing his sins and admitting his just chastisement; 4) when re-consecration is determined on one should be diligent to accomplish it; 5) great Christian joy comes with rededication of one’s life and service to Christ.
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Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 29". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany