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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 29

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 29

2 Chronicles 29:1 "Hezekiah began to reign [when he was] five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah."

We must understand that Hezekiah had to have some Godly influence in his life. His mother, Abijah, or Abi, was the daughter of Zechariah, who I personally believe, was of the priesthood. Many times a child’s mother and grandfather will have great influence upon him. Their influence made him a man who did right in the sight of the LORD.

2 Chronicles 29:2 "And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done."

It is interesting, to me, that most of the kings who did right were judged according to the standard that David had set. We know that David was not perfect, but he loved God with a pure heart. He was a number of generations down from David.

2 Chronicles 29:3 "He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them."

He lost no time in opening the doors of the temple, which his wicked father, Ahaz, had closed. It appears, that he repaired much that had been damaged in Ahaz’s reign. 2 Chronicles 29:4 "And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street,"

2 Chronicles 29:5 "And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy [place]."

The Levites and the priests were ordered to cleanse themselves, and then, the temple from the abominations his father, Ahaz, had established during his reign. As I said earlier, someone is guiding Hezekiah. His grandfather would have been knowledgable of just what they would need to do to make the temple acceptable unto the LORD.

2 Chronicles 29:6 "For our fathers have trespassed, and done [that which was] evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned [their] backs."

Hezekiah had done a very good thing, by admitting the sins of his father, and others who allowed him to bring abominations into the temple. They had turned their backs on God. Somehow, Hezekiah wanted the forgiveness of the LORD to be greater than His wrath for their sins. Hezekiah was willing to do whatever had to be done to get back in right standing with God.

2 Chronicles 29:7 "Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy [place] unto the God of Israel."

This is a very small list of the things the priests had not done. The burning of the incense was to be a perpetual burning. The burnt offerings for their sins were not done either. In fact, the neglect of all of these things, would be like closing the churches of our day.

2 Chronicles 29:8 "Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes."

Hezekiah {Ezekias} realized the reason for the wrath of the LORD upon Judah and Jerusalem. The LORD had not left them. They had left the LORD. His wrath upon the people was after they had turned away from Him. They were ridiculed by the nations around them, because their power was gone. They never did have any power of their own. The power they had before, was the power of God within their ranks.

2 Chronicles 29:9 "For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives [are] in captivity for this."

We studied about this very thing in the previous lesson. 120,000 fighting men died in one battle. We, also, read how 200,000 wives and children were taken captive. It is as if Hezekiah is saying to this people, "How much more has to happen, before you realize why this has happened?"

2 Chronicles 29:10 "Now [it is] in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us."

Hezekiah was not only trying to live a Godly life, but he was aware that was the only thing that would turn the fierce wrath of God away, as well. Hezekiah really wanted to renew a covenant that God made with David many years before.

2 Chronicles 29:11 “My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.”

The priests and high priest had been negligent in their duties before. Hezekiah wanted the worship in the temple restored to its original greatness. Negligence is a sin. It is usually a sin of omission, rather than commission. This had to be the priests spoken to here, because they were the only ones allowed to burn incense in the temple.

2 Chronicles 29:12 "Then the Levites arose, Mahath the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites: and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehalelel: and of the Gershonites; Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah:"

The Koathites were the priests and the high priest. The Merarites and the Gershonites were of the tribe of Levi, also. They ministered to the LORD in capacities, other than the priesthood. They were musicians, singers, keepers of the temple, and all the other things that had to be done to conduct the services, except acting as priests.

2 Chronicles 29:13 "And of the sons of Elizaphan; Shimri, and Jeiel: and of the sons of Asaph; Zechariah, and Mattaniah:"

Elizaphan was the head of the Kohathites, of the priestly family.

2 Chronicles 29:14 "And of the sons of Heman; Jehiel, and Shimei: and of the sons of Jeduthun; Shemaiah, and Uzziel."

Asaph, from verse 13 above, was the leader of the singers and musicians, who are mentioned in this verse.

2 Chronicles 29:15 "And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD."

It is such a shame that the king had to call their nation to repentance and to return to the LORD. The high priest and the priests act as if they had no power at all to change things. They were coming back to the temple, because it was the commandment of the king. They were more obedient to their king, than they were to their LORD. This may be trying to say that the words of the LORD came to Hezekiah. I believe this actually is speaking of it being in accordance with God’s law.

2 Chronicles 29:16 "And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse [it], and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took [it], to carry [it] out abroad into the brook Kidron."

Notice, that only the priests went into the inner part, or the temple proper. It appears, there was a court which joined, and that was where they carried the unclean things. The other Levites, not the priests, carried these things from the court to the Kidron valley to destroy them. The brook of Kidron was east of the temple.

2 Chronicles 29:17 "Now they began on the first [day] of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end."

We are not told exactly what all of the cleansing pertained to, but we do know that the priests and the temple were sanctified. The priests, at their original call, had to sit at the door of the temple 7 days in preparation for ministering. I assume all of that had been previously done, and this was a cleansing of another nature. We do know that the temple, itself, and all of the furniture, and utensils had to be cleansed, also. It is interesting that the cleansing pretty well coincided with the Passover, which was on the 14th day of Nisan.

2 Chronicles 29:18 "Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread table, with all the vessels thereof."

2 Chronicles 29:19 "Moreover all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they [are] before the altar of the LORD."

As soon as everything had been sanctified for the service in the temple, the priests came and reported to Hezekiah that everything was ready for services.

2 Chronicles 29:20 "Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD."

The rulers, here, and the princes in other Scriptures, speak of those in authority under Hezekiah. He wanted this to be an act of all of Judah. The princes represented the people.

2 Chronicles 29:21 "And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer [them] on the altar of the LORD."

The number 7 means spiritual completeness. Each of the types of animals offered had that number to represent the completeness of the act. These were, most probably, burnt offerings and sin offerings.

2 Chronicles 29:22 "So they killed the bullocks, and the priests received the blood, and sprinkled [it] on the altar: likewise, when they had killed the rams, they sprinkled the blood upon the altar: they killed also the lambs, and they sprinkled the blood upon the altar."

This sprinkling of the blood was for the sanctifying of the temple, everything in it, the king, and all of Judah. This sprinkling of blood only symbolized the great work that the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ did for all believers at Calvary. His blood cleansed us from all unrighteousness. His blood brought eternal redemption to all who will accept Him as their Saviour.

2 Chronicles 29:23 "And they brought forth the he goats [for] the sin offering before the king and the congregation; and they laid their hands upon them:"

The laying of the hands upon the head of the goats symbolized the transfer of the sin from the king, and all of Judah, to the head of the goat. The goats would be killed, because the penalty for sin is death.

2 Chronicles 29:24 "And the priests killed them, and they made reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel: for the king commanded [that] the burnt offering and the sin offering [should be made] for all Israel."

We must assume that Hezekiah means all 12 tribes of Israel, when he made the burnt and the sin offerings. These sacrifices were to set all of Israel back into right standing with the LORD. They were primarily for the king and all Judah, but the words, all Israel cannot be denied either.

2 Chronicles 29:25 "And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for [so was] the commandment of the LORD by his prophets."

We see that Hezekiah was trying to keep this as nearly exact as he could. David had commanded that musicians and singers be in the temple. Hezekiah was doing this as nearly as David had planned, and as the prophets told him it should be.

2 Chronicles 29:26 "And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets."

This is very much like a choir in a church accompanied by music. It was to be a feast. This was a time of great celebration.

2 Chronicles 29:27 "And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began [also] with the trumpets, and with the instruments [ordained] by David king of Israel."

This was a time of joy and thanksgiving. This was a time of celebration. The blowing of the trumpet was an announcement of the offering being made. In the burnt offering, everything was burnt. In the sin offering, the fat was burned.

2 Chronicles 29:28 "And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: [and] all [this continued] until the burnt offering was finished."

This was a time of restoration of true worship in Judah. Everyone participated. The singing was like praise and worship. The trumpets proclaimed their victory over sin in their lives.

2 Chronicles 29:29 "And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped."

This is speaking of a tremendous prayer service. They bowed, and prayed, and praised the LORD God.

2 Chronicles 29:30 "Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped."

This is speaking of singing the Psalms of David. Asaph was the leader of the music. This is saying, they had a prayer and praise service.

2 Chronicles 29:31 "Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings."

The offerings, made before, had been brought by Hezekiah. Now, the congregation must bring their own offerings to the LORD. This would be thank offerings they brought along with freewill offerings. The burnt offerings would be brought by those who felt they needed to.

2 Chronicles 29:32 "And the number of the burnt offerings, which the congregation brought, was threescore and ten bullocks, an hundred rams, [and] two hundred lambs: all these [were] for a burnt offering to the LORD."

This seems like a lot when we think of 70 bullocks and 100 rams, and 200 lambs, but this was a large group of people, brought the offerings.

2 Chronicles 29:33 "And the consecrated things [were] six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep."

Consecrated things, here, is speaking of the thank offerings. 600 oxen and 3,000 sheep were a large volume of animals to deal with.

2 Chronicles 29:34 "But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the [other] priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites [were] more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests."

The Levites were not all priests, but they had been sanctified for other services. The priests, who were sanctified, had to use help from the other sanctified Levites. Not all of the priests had been cleansed for work in the temple yet.

2 Chronicles 29:35 "And also the burnt offerings [were] in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings, and the drink offerings for [every] burnt offering. So the service of the house of the LORD was set in order."

2 Chronicles 29:36 "And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was [done] suddenly."

Drink offerings were given with burnt offerings. This took 16 days. Hezekiah wanted his reign as king to be with God’s approval.

2 Chronicles 29 Questions

1. How old was Hezekiah, when he began to reign?

2. How long did he reign?

3. What was his mother’s name?

4. Who was his mother’s father?

5. What was another name Abijah was called?

6. Quote 2 Chronicles 29:2.

7. When did Hezekiah open the doors of the temple and repair them?

8. What did he call the priests and the Levites together to tell them?

9. What did Hezekiah admit the authorities in Judah had done?

10. Who should have burned the incense?

11. What could their neglect be compared to in our society?

12. What was another name for Hezekiah?

13. What was Hezekiah referring to in 2 Chronicles 29:9?

14. In 2 Chronicles 29:10, we find that Hezekiah wanted to renew a __________ with God.

15. In 2 Chronicles 29:11, what is Hezekiah warning the priests not to be?

16. Who did the Koathites represent?

17. Who were Levites, who were not of the priesthood?

18. Who was the leader of the singers?

19. The brethren gathered and ____________ themselves.

20. Who went into the temple proper, and brought out the unclean things?

21. What was done with the unclean things?

22. What day did they begin to sanctify?

23. How long did it take to sanctify the house of the LORD?

24. What did the priest do, when the Temple was ready?

25. Who did Hezekiah take with him to the house of the LORD?

26. What does the number "7" mean?

27. What did the priests do with the blood from the sacrificial animals?

28. What did the laying of the hands on the heads of the goats symbolize?

29. Who was the reconciliation with the blood made for?

30. When the burnt offering began, what accompanied it?

31. After the congregation had consecrated themselves to the LORD, what did he tell them to do?

32. Who helped the priests flay the burnt offerings?

33. How many days were needed to prepare for all of this?

Verses 1-11

2Ch 29:1-11

2 Chronicles 29:1-11

THE BEGINNING OF THE REIGN OF HEZEKIAH

HEZEKIAH (715-687 B.C.)

HEZEKIAH’S MOVE TO RESTORE THE TRUE WORSHIP

"Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old; and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of Jehovah, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together in the broad place on the east, and said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites; now sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the house of Jehovah, the God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of Jehovah, and turned their back. Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and have put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt-offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel. Wherefore the wrath of Jehovah was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to be tossed to and fro, to be an astonishment, and a hissing, as ye see with your eyes. For, lo, our fathers are fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with Jehovah, the God of Israel, that his fierce anger may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent; for Jehovah hath chosen you to stand before him, to minister unto him, and that ye should be his ministers, and burn incense."

Practically all of this chapter is without parallel in Kings. It supplements the record of Hezekiah’s extensive reforms that are mentioned there. We see here that his work was not merely negative, in such things as destroying the high places and cutting down the Asherim. He also did many positive things toward pointing Israel back to the true worship of God.

"Carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place" (2 Chronicles 29:5). "This was the accumulated dirt from years of neglect."

"They have not burned incense nor offered burnt-offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel" (2 Chronicles 29:7). But does not 2 Kings 16:14-16 state that Ahaz himself made offerings on that special altar? Yes, indeed; but there is no contradiction here. The Chronicler is merely telling us (and those Levites) that those sacrifices that Ahaz offered on an Assyrian altar, were, in no sense, offered unto the God of Israel, but were actually sacrifices to Assyrian gods. Note the underlined words in this paragraph.

"Jehovah hath chosen you (the Levites) to stand before him" (2 Chronicles 11). Here again we find an acute consciousness of the Law of God through Moses in the Pentateuch, especially in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, where the choice of the Levites and the sons of Aaron was first revealed. It is the proliferation of dozens of such references as these in Chronicles that sends the radical critics into frantic screams of "Midrash"!

This single chapter is a complete contradiction of the critical denials of it with abundant proof of the existence of the whole Pentateuch in the reign of Hezekiah, generations prior to Josiah and that fairy tale about the P Code.

It is the conviction of this writer that the author of whatever source was quoted by the Chronicler here (see our introduction for a list of these) had a complete copy of the Law of Moses (the whole Pentateuch) before him when he wrote down the events related in this chapter.

UNDENIABLE REFLECTIONS OF THE PENTATEUCH IN THIS CHAPTER

(1) "The wrath of Jehovah was upon Judah" (2 Chronicles 29:8). "This word (wrath) is used in Deuteronomy 28:25," where Moses had predicted this very disaster that befell Judah.

(2) "For Jehovah hath chosen you" (2 Chronicles 29:11). This is stated in Numbers 3:6; Numbers 8:6, and in Deuteronomy 10:8.

(3) "They brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he-goats for a sin-offering for the kingdom" (2 Chronicles 29:21). The use of these animals for that purpose was authorized in Leviticus 1:3ff; Leviticus 14:20; and Leviticus 16:24. "Seven victims were offered because seven was a sacred number."

(4) The use of seven victims instead of one in certain sacrifices was authorized in Numbers 28:11 ff.

(5) "The priests received the blood and sprinkled it upon the altar" (2 Chronicles 29:22). The ritual for this action is found in the law of Moses in Exodus 29:16, and in Leviticus 1:5; Leviticus 1:11.

(6) "The king and the assembly laid their hands upon them (the sacrifices)" (2 Chronicles 29:23). This ceremony is described in Leviticus 1:4.

(7) "And they made a sin-offering with their blood upon the altar" (2 Chronicles 29:24) In Leviticus 4:25; Leviticus 4:34 is found the description of exactly how this was done.

(8) "Come near, ... and bring thank-offerings into the house of Jehovah" (2 Chronicles 29:31) "The thanksgiving here was for the joy over the renewal of the worship of Jehovah." Instructions for the offerings and ceremonies for such an occasion are found in Leviticus 7:12 ff.

(9) "The burnt-offerings ... with the fat of the peace-offerings, and with the drink-offerings for every burnt-offering ... so the service for the house of Jehovah was set in order" (2 Chronicles 29:35). "The drink offerings were of wine and probably poured like the blood at the base of the altar." Very complete and detailed instructions for these sacrifices, including the drink-offerings, are found in Numbers 15:1-15.

Note here that Hezekiah followed instructions for the services of the house of Jehovah, instructions that are detailed in the Mosaic writings of the Pentateuch.

Before leaving this analysis, we must ask, "How do the critics attempt to get rid of such proof as this? Curtis has this succinct statement of their only answer.

It must be remembered that the writer was drawing largely upon his imagination, and evidently cared little about accuracy of detail.

To such so-called scholarship as this, we wish to say NO! It is the evil radical critics, seeking to destroy faith in the Word of God, who are drawing upon their imagination. The real Biblical Midrash is that imaginary P Code, that alleged discovery in the reign of Josiah, the Jehovist, the Elohist, the Deuteronomist, and the Second, Third, or Twentieth ISAIAH, and all the rest of those fraudulent, imaginary, ephemeral and constantly changing "documents" invented by evil men and imposed upon believers under the guise of their being scholarly. And may it be said again that until all of those alleged documents (or any single one of them, for that matter) can be produced and scientifically evaluated, the truly intelligent person may safely reject them.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 29:1. We are beginning the study of one of the best kings of Judah. The expression is repeated that he reigned in Jerusalem. It meant much, especially up to the date at which we have arrived. There have been two distinct kingdoms, or divisions of the original kingdom. One of them was composed of the 10 tribes who revolted from the original and formed a kingdom that had more than one capital at various times. The other division was composed of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin (including Levi after the 10 tribes had rejected him), and its capital was at Jerusalem, the original headquarters. It was informative, therefore, when writing about the kings of Judah, to say that they reigned in Jerusalem. Hezekiah’s mother was the daughter of Zechariah, a prominent name. There were at least 28 men with that name mentioned in the Old Testament. Some of them were of the tribe of Levi and some of other tribes. We should therefore not attach any special importance to the name in the present verse.

2 Chronicles 29:2. David is called the father of Hezekiah as a term of respect, and because David was the first king from the tribe of Judah. The original is defined by Strong, "a primitive word; father in a literal and immediate, or figurative and remote application." It is rendered in the Old Testament by father 670 times, chief 3, principal 1. Again let us note the proviso, in the sight of the Lord, when declaring that he did that which was right. "The Lord seeth not. as man seeth." (1 Samuel 16:7.)

2 Chronicles 29:3. Hezekiah did not delay going about the work before him. He started it the first month of the first year. He opened the doors because Ahaz had closed them (2 Chronicles 28:24). The temple had been allowed to fall into disorder and Hezekiah repaired it.

2 Chronicles 29:4. Priests and Levites are mentioned as separate classes. That is because all priests were Levites, but not all Levites could act as priests. Yet there were services for the Levites besides that of priesthood. Street means an open area or space, not necessarily an avenue. The space east of the temple was where Hezekiah assembled these men, for the purpose of making a speech to them.

2 Chronicles 29:5. Sanctify means to consecrate one’s self to the service of God. The worship of the Lord had been corrupted by the preceding king and the temple been closed to the true service. There is no indication of literal filthiness being present, but the very state of neglect, due to the idolatrous interests of the king, suggested a religious corruption whose stagnation reached to heaven. The Levites were charged to alter all these conditions, and thus to carry forth the filthiness out of the holy house of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 29:6. More than once our attention has been called to the idea that a thing should be right "in the eyes of the Lord." This verse gives us the same principle on the negative side, something that is evil in his eyes. A thing might look good as far as man could tell, but look sinful as the Lord would see it. We should accept the divine verdict and act accordingly. Habitation of the Lord refers to the temple, since that was the place where God recorded his name in that Dispensation. See Deuteronomy 12:12; Deuteronomy 14:23. When Ahaz closed the doors of the house of God and directed the attention of the people away from that place, that was when they turned their backs against the Lord.

2 Chronicles 29:7. The porch was a vestibule entering the main room of the building. By closing the doors to the porch, the entrance to the house was cut off. Such an action resulted in putting out the lamps and stopping the burning of incense.

2 Chronicles 29:8. Because of the evils described above, the Lord poured out his wrath on his people by subjecting them to the surrounding nations, who were suffered to trouble the kingdom with commotion. The astonished referred to the surrounding people looking on as well as to themselves. The hissing referred to the derision or ridicule that the nations cast at the people of Israel after they had been brought down in shame. Judah and Jerusalem. The first word is the name of the kingdom, the last its capital.

2 Chronicles 29:9-10. For this means that the misfortunes that had befallen their families had been brought on them on account of the sins just mentioned. Hezekiah proposed that a new promise be made to the Lord, offering to be rededicated in service to him, hoping thereby to escape the further divine wrath.

2 Chronicles 29:11. My sons is a term of endearment, and used in view of the relative positions of the speaker and the hearer. Negligent is rendered "deceived" in the margin, and the lexicon agrees with it. However, the warning for a person not to be deceived is said rather with the idea of arousing the hearer to a sense of his duty. A person can sometimes be deceived by inattention to duty as surely as by some positive false teaching. The purpose of Hezekiah was to remind these Levites of their duty. And, in order that they might realize it all the more, he told them that they had been chosen for a special work, one of the items of which was to burn incense.

Verses 12-19

2Ch 29:12-19

2 Chronicles 29:12-19

WITHIN SIXTEEN DAYS THE LEVITES CLEANSE THE TEMPLE

"Then the Levites arose, Mahath, the son of Amasai, of the sons of the Kohathites; and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; and of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah; and of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemri and Jeuel; and of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; and of the sons of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and went in, according to the commandment of the king by the words of Jehovah, to cleanse the house of Jehovah. And the priests went in unto the inner part of the house of Jehovah, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of Jehovah into the court of the house of Jehovah. And the Levites took it to carry it out abroad to the brook Kidron. Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of Jehovah; and they sanctified the house of Jehovah in eight days: and on the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end. Then they went in to Hezekiah the king within the palace, and said, We have cleansed all the house of Jehovah, and the altar of burnt-offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the table of showbread, with all the vessels thereof. Moreover all the vessels which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away when he trespassed, have we prepared and sanctified; and, behold, they are before the altar of Jehovah."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 29:12-14. Among this list of names the reader should distinguish the three sons of Levi; Kohath, Merari and Gershon. These men personally had been dead for many years, but their individual lines of descendants had been registered and their proper assignments of work carefully observed.

2 Chronicles 29:15. These men responded favorably to the exhortation of the king. A general definition was offered at 2 Chronicles 29:5 for sanctified, but I shall give the information found in Strong’s lexicon or dictionary. The word is from QADASH and defined, "a primitive root; to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally)." From this the reader will see that the explanation given at verse 5 is about as.specific as we should make it. When a person divested himself of anything that might disqualify him for a particular task, then went to work at that task, it could be said that he had sanctified himself for the work.

2 Chronicles 29:16. This verse indicates that there was some actual filth accumulated in the house besides the figurative uncleanness described at 2 Chronicles 29:5. There is nothing said as to what that filth was nor how it got there. It would be natural for any place to become unclean if neglected, if said place had been used for serving various kinds of food and burning literal incense. So these Levites "cleaned house" by taking this accumulation out to a brook for disposal.

2 Chronicles 29:17. The work of these Levites began on the first day of the year. 2 Chronicles 29:3 says that was the day on which Hezekiah opened the doors of the house. The whole transaction, therefore, the work of the king, his speech to the Levites, and the beginning of their work of cleansing the house, all started at once, and that was right at the beginning of Hezekiah’s reign. Such punctuality in attending to the Lord’s business is worthy of imitation by all of us. The task was no little one, for after they had worked 8 days they had got to the porch only, but that constituted the major portion of the work. Then in 8 days more the whole job was done.

2 Chronicles 29:18. The Levites did not merely make a general report, but specified the items of work they had done. Such a report indicated a sincere interest in the reform movement that Hezekiah was sponsoring. The altar of burnt offering was not in the temple proper, yet it was named in connection with the cleansing of the house of the Lord. That shows we cannot make too fine a distinction between the various parts of the divine structure. In some sense it was all the house of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 29:19. Cast away means the vessels were tossed to one side as of little use or value. It was natural that such articles would be damaged by such treatment, so the Levites prepared or repaired and cleansed them and made them suitable for use again.

Verses 20-24

2Ch 29:20-24

2 Chronicles 29:20-24

SIN-OFFERINGS WERE MADE FOR ALL ISRAEL

"Then Hezekiah the king arose early, and gathered the princes of the city, and went up to the house of Jehovah. And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he-goats, for a sin-offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary of Jehovah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of Jehovah. So they killed the bullocks, and the priests received the blood, and sprinkled it on the altar: and they killed the rams, and sprinkled the blood upon the altar: they killed also the lambs, and sprinkled the blood upon the altar. And they brought near the he-goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly; and they laid their hands upon them; and the priests killed them, and they made a sin-offering with their blood upon the altar, to make atonement for all Israel; for the king commanded that the burnt-offering and the sin-offering should be made for all Israel."

See our discussion above regarding the many reflections of the Pentateuch in this chapter, especially in this paragraph.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 29:20. Rulers of the city were the officials of the place, but were men who were interested in the affairs about the temple. Being citizens of Jerusalem and members of the Jewish nation, they would very properly offer some services to the Lord, hence were called together by the king.

2 Chronicles 29:21. Leviticus 4 gives the instructions for the sin offerings, and by that chapter it can be seen that these rulers of the city brought the proper beasts for the occasion. The offerings were for the kingdom, the sanctuary and for Judah. The first refers especially to the domain or landed estate, the second means the temple, and the third applies to the people who were in possession of the landed estate. The offerings were furnished by the people, but the ceremonies were handled by the priests.

2 Chronicles 29:22. The bodies of the beasts were to be burned on the altar, but the blood was sprinkled on it. There are two reasons why the blood was taken from the animal. Blood would not burn without a miracle while the flesh would. Besides, the blood being the life (Leviticus 17, 11), it must be separated from the body of the beast, thereby signifying that the animal was dead. It is the same reason why we have two separate articles in the Lord’s supper, the bread and the fruit of the vine, and they are kept separate. In that way we show the Lord’s death when we have the two items.

2 Chronicles 29:23. They laid their hands means the ones furnishing the creatures that were to be offered in the sacrificial services.

2 Chronicles 29:24. The rule was that the persons offering a sacrifice were to do the killing. In this instance the priests did it. No reason is given for the exception, unless it is in the statement that the blood of cleansing was to extend its benefits to all Israel, and not merely to the ones bringing the animals to the latar.

Verses 25-30

2Ch 29:25-30

2 Chronicles 29:25-30

MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT OF THESE IMPRESSIVE CEREMONIES

"And he set the Levites in the house of Jehovah with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet; for the commandment was of Jehovah by his prophets. And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt-offering upon the altar. And when the burnt-offering began, the song of Jehovah began also, and the trumpets, and the instruments of David king of Israel. And all the assembly worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; and all this continued till the burnt-offering was finished. And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves and worshipped. Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praises unto Jehovah with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and bowed their heads and worshipped."

"For the commandment was of Jehovah by his prophets" (2 Chronicles 29:25). This is the passage in the O.T. which is supposed to justify the use of mechanical instruments of music in the ancient worship of the Jews; but it should be observed that "the commandment" which is here said to have come from God is not specifically identified in this key sentence; and the Syriac and Arabic versions in this place do not support what is written here. Both those versions make "the commandment" which came of God through his prophets applicable exclusively to the order that the Levites should praise God; "And the Hebrew text certainly supports such a rendition." Note that there is a distinction made in this very passage between the instruments of David (2 Chronicles 29:26) and the song of Jehovah (2 Chronicles 29:27).

The importance of this is emphasized by the apparent contradiction which the ASV and other current versions make in this passage with the prophet Amos. The passage has no bearing whatever upon the question of the use of such instruments in Christian worship; but an investigation of it is important because the Word of God does not contradict itself; and if this passage stands as it appears here, what about the passages in Amos? This writer holds the passages in Amos to be correct, and this one to be mistranslated here. (See our Excursus on this subject at the end of Psalms II.)

The position which we have taken on this is very strongly supported by the fact that the Orthodox Hebrew religion has never allowed instruments of music in their worship; and, presumably, they know the Hebrew a lot better than modern critics.

"In the words of David, and of Asaph the seer" (2 Chronicles 29:30). This indicates that what we know as The Psalms were sung as hymns on this occasion.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 29:25. Cymbals were made of plates of metal and struck together in rhythmic accord with the music. A psaltery was a stringed instrument to accompany the voice, and a harp was a larger stringed instrument and often used independent of the voice. The statement is made that these instruments were set in the house of the Lord, and the thoughts in 2 Chronicles 29:18 show that the term has a general meaning, inducting the whole structure with its outer parts. According to the wording of the King James version, this arrangement was by divine authority. For so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets. The American Standard Version renders this as follows: "For the commandment was of Jehovah by his prophets." Moffatt’s translation gives us, "(for the Eternal had transmitted the order by means of his prophets)." 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 shows us that when the musical instruments were used, the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. Thus no distinction can be made between the particular parts of the building. The truth is that whatever or wherever the place was that was being considered, that which was filled with the glory of the Lord was where the musical instruments were used, and was called "the house of God." It is a mistake, then, to say that God never endorsed instrumental music in worship offered to him in Old Testament times. But all of this is no authority for such music in the New Testament worship. If it is, then we have authority for animal sacrifices now, for we know they were used with divine command in that time. The reason David is mentioned so much in connection with the musical instruments is that he was an outstanding musician, and was the originator of many of the instruments. He was an inspired man in his teaching, and when he gave his instructions for the use of the instruments in the services to God, he was acting by divine authority. Had such an extensive practice been displeasing to the Lord, he surely would have been chastised for it, as he was in the cases of other mistakes, such as those about Bathsheba and the numbering of Israel.

2 Chronicles 29:26. Instruments of David means the ones he invented and put into use with the Lord’s approval. The trumpets were sometimes made of the horns of animals and were played by blowing into them as a man plays a cornet. These instruments had been especially designed for the use of the priests. (Numbers 10:8.)

2 Chronicles 29:27-28. In this paragraph we see the combination of the musical instruments with the animal sacrifices. The whole procedure was under the jurisdiction of Hezekiah the king, and the statements of the paragraph are those of the inspired author of the book. Among those expressions are, song of the Lord, with the trumpets, and instruments ordained by David. All of this agrees with the comments on 2 Chronicles 29:25, etc.

2 Chronicles 29:29. It would be considered, and properly so, that all of the activities of the preceding verses were acts of worship. Why, then, does this verse say that after they had made an end of the offering, the king and others worshipped? The answer is in the very general meaning of the word in the Bible. Any act of respect can truthfully be called an act of worship. In this instance the writer was thinking of that meaning of the word that pertains to the posture of the body; they bowed themselves.

2 Chronicles 29:30. The words of David evidently mean the Psalms, and it is so translated in Moffatt’s version. It would be fitting to use his compositions in their worship, since they were using his musical instruments. They used also the compositions of another inspired man, Asaph the seer or prophet.

Verses 31-36

2Ch 29:31-36

2 Chronicles 29:31-36

ALL ISRAEL BRINGS ABUNDANT THANK-OFFERINGS TO JEHOVAH

"Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto Jehovah; come near and bring sacrifices and thank-offerings into the house of Jehovah. And the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank-offerings; and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt-offerings. And the number of the burnt-offerings which the assembly brought was threescore and ten bullocks, a hundred rams, and two hundred lambs; all these were for a burnt-offering unto Jehovah. And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep. But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt-offerings; wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the priests had sanctified themselves; for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests. And also the burnt-offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace-offerings, and with the drink-offerings for every burnt-offering. So the service of the house of Jehovah was set in order. And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, because of that which God had prepared for the people: for this thing was done suddenly."

"The Levites were more upright ... than the priests" (2 Chronicles 29:34). That this opinion of the Levites might be, "A reflection of the Chronicler’s personal bias," is unacceptable. The truth of what he said had already been demonstrated before all Israel in the subservience of the priest Urijah to king Ahaz (2 Kings 16:16).

"For the thing was done suddenly" (2 Chronicles 29:36). "This change from apostasy to loyalty to Jehovah took place almost immediately upon Hezekiah’s accession to the throne. It was the result of a common impulse both of the king and of the people, apparently without any preparation (or delay)."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 29:31. Hezekiah commended the people for their good conduct. Thank offerings would be the sacrifices they offered to express their thankful feelings for the good things of God. The ones who took part in the services are said to have been of a free heart. That agrees with the teaching of Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:7. Any gift offered to God that comes from a regretful heart will be fruitless as far as any reward from the Lord is concerned. Only a cheerful giver will be rewarded.

2 Chronicles 29:32-33. God does not have any personal need of the gifts from man. Neither does the great number of such gifts signify anything just because the number is large. The point of interest is in what the large number indicates. Verse 31 had said that the ones making the sacrifices or gifts were the people with a free heart. The large number, therefore, tells us that there were great numbers of the people who had the right attitude toward God, a fact worthy of rejoicing.

2 Chronicles 29:34. The distinction is again made between the priests and the Levites. The former were those particular Levites who were descended from Aaron. They had not made themselves fit for the service in sufficient numbers to do the work. They were supposed to flay or skin the animals. While that was primarily a work expected of the priests, yet any Levite could lawfully do it. And as there was a shortage of qualified priests, the other Levites helped them. It is said that the Levites were more upright in qualifying themselves for the work than were the priests. It often occurs today that the people from whom we have the right to expect the most, are the least forward in doing it.

2 Chronicles 29:35. Burnt offerings and peace offerings are terms of the major sacrifices provided for in the law of Moses. Details of them may be read in Leviticus 1, 3. The fat was one of the parts of animals that must never be eaten (Leviticus 7:23-24), but must be burnt on the altar. The verse closes with a statement that includes all of the activities described in the chapter. In this summing up statement no distinction is made between the various parts of the building; it is all called house of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 29:36. Hezekiah rejoiced over the general conditions. The people were prepared, which means they were put in condition to render acceptable service, and the king gave God the honor for it. Done suddenly refers to the readiness of the people.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 29". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-29.html.
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