Chapter 16

  1. Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done.
  2. He, in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, and said unto them, Hear me, you 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. For our fathers have trespassed and done 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. 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. Wherefore, the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he has delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as you see with your eyes; for behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.
  3. Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that you should minister unto him and burn incense.
  4. 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 Jehallelel; and of the Gershonites: Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah; and of the sons of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel; and of the sons of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah; and of the sons of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei; and of the sons of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel.
  5. 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. 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. 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.
  6. 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 showbread table with all the vessels thereof. 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.
  7. Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city and went up to the house of the Lord. 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. 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. And they brought forth the he-goats for the sin offering before the king and the congregation, and they laid their hands upon them, 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 the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel.
  8. 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. And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.
  9. And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began with the trumpets and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded until the burnt offering was finished.
  10. 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 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.
  11. Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now you 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. And the number of the burnt offerings which the congregation brought was seventy bullocks, a hundred rams, two hundred lambs — all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. 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 until 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 the drink offerings for every burnt offering.
  12. So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people; for the thing was done suddenly.
  13. And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel; for the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month, for they could not keep it at that time because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem, for they had not done it of a long time as it was written.
  14. So the messengers went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, You children of Israel, return unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not you like your fathers and like your brethren who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as you see. Now be not stiff-necked as your fathers; yield yourselves unto the Lord and enter into his sanctuary which he has sanctified for ever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if you return unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you if you return unto him.
  15. So the messengers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even unto Zebulun; but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. Nevertheless, diverse of Asher, and Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Also in Judah, the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes by the word of the Lord.
  16. And there assembled at Jerusalem many people to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very great congregation. And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away and cast them into the brook Kidron.
  17. Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month. And the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the Lord. And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God. The priests sprinkled the blood which they received of the hand of the Levites, for there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified. Therefore, the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for everyone that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the Lord. For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not cleansed themselves; yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord pardon everyone that prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though not according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the Lord listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.
  18. And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness. And the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord. And Hezekiah spoke encouragingly unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the Lord. And they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.
  19. And the whole assembly took counsel to keep another seven days. And they kept another seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep. And the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep, and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel and that dwelled in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem; for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there was not the like in Jerusalem. Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people. And their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto Heaven.
  20. Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and broke the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also, and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.
  21. And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the Lord.
  22. He appointed also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, namely for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord. Moreover, he commanded the people that dwelled in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord.
  23. And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. And concerning the children of Israel and Judah that dwelled in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps. In the third month, they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.
  24. And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and his people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps, and Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty; for the Lord has blessed his people, and that which is left is this great store.
  25. Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the Lord. And they prepared them, and brought in the offerings, and the tithes, and the dedicated things faithfully, over which Conaniah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next.
  26. And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah were overseers under the hand of Conaniah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king and Azariah the ruler of the house of God.
  27. And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the offerings of the Lord and the most holy things. And next to him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah in the cities of the priests, in their set office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small: besides their genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, even unto everyone that enters into the house of the Lord, his daily portion for their service in their charges according to their courses; both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers and the Levites from twenty years old and upward in their charges by their courses, and to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation (for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness); also of the sons of Aaron, the priests who were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every single city, the men that were expressed by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites.
  28. And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought good and right and truth before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.
  29. After these things and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fortified cities, and thought to win them for himself.
  30. And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, he took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were outside the city, and they did help him. So there were gathered many people together who stopped all the fountains and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water? Also, he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall outside, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.
  31. And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying, Be strong and courageous. Be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him, for there is more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
  32. After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem — but he himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him — unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying, Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria: On what do you trust, that you abide in the siege in Jerusalem? Does not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst? Saying, The Lord our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Has not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, You shall worship before one altar and burn incense upon it?
  33. Do you not know what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands in any way able to deliver their lands out of my hand? Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed that could deliver his people out of my hand, that your god should be able to deliver you out of my hand? Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him. For no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of my hand, and out of the hand of my fathers. How much less shall your god deliver you out of my hand?
  34. And his servants spoke yet against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah. He wrote also letters to rail on the Lord God of Israel and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of my hand, so shall not the god of Hezekiah deliver his people out of my hand. Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to frighten them and to trouble them, that they might take the city. And they spoke against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth which were the work of the hands of man.
  35. And for this cause, Hezekiah the king and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to Heaven. And the Lord sent an angel who cut off all the mighty men of valor, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he had come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own body slew him there with the sword.
  36. Thus, the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side. And many brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from that point forward.
  37. In those days, Hezekiah was sick to the death and prayed unto the Lord. And he spoke unto him and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him, for his heart was lifted up. Therefore, there was wrath upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding, Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
  38. And Hezekiah had exceedingly many riches and honor. And he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels; storehouses also for the increase of grain, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and enclosures for flocks. Moreover, he provided himself cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him substance, very much.
  39. This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. Nevertheless, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.
  40. Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchers of the sons of David. And all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honor at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.