Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 175

Bible text(s)

2King Hezekiah re-established the organization of the priests and Levites, under which they each had specific duties. These included offering the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, taking part in the temple worship, and giving praise and thanks in the various parts of the Temple. 3From his own flocks and herds he provided animals for the burnt offerings each morning and evening, and for those offered on the Sabbath, at the New Moon Festival, and at the other festivals which are required by the Law of the LORD.

4In addition, the king told the people of Jerusalem to bring the offerings to which the priests and the Levites were entitled, so that they could give all their time to the requirements of the Law of the LORD. 5As soon as the order was given, the people of Israel brought gifts of their finest corn, wine, olive oil, honey, and other farm produce, and they also brought the tithes of everything they had. 6All the people who lived in the cities of Judah brought tithes of their cattle and sheep, and they also brought large quantities of gifts, which they dedicated to the LORD their God. 7The gifts started arriving in the third month and continued to pile up for the next four months. 8When King Hezekiah and his officials saw how much had been given, they praised the LORD and praised his people Israel. 9The king spoke to the priests and the Levites about these gifts, 10and Azariah the High Priest, a descendant of Zadok, said to him, “Since the people started bringing their gifts to the Temple, there has been enough to eat and a large surplus besides. We have all this because the LORD has blessed his people.”

11On the king's orders they prepared storerooms in the Temple area 12and put all the gifts and tithes in them for safe-keeping. They placed a Levite named Conaniah in charge and made his brother Shimei his assistant. 13Ten Levites were assigned to work under them: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. All this was done under the authority of King Hezekiah and Azariah the High Priest. 14Kore son of Imnah, a Levite who was chief guard at the East Gate of the Temple, was in charge of receiving the gifts offered to the LORD and of distributing them. 15In the other cities where priests lived, he was faithfully assisted in this by other Levites: Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah. They distributed the food equally to their fellow-Levites according to what their duties were, 16and not by clans. They gave a share to all males thirty years of age or older who had daily responsibilities in the Temple in accordance with their positions. 17The priests were assigned their duties by clans, and the Levites twenty years of age or older were assigned theirs by work groups. 18They were all registered together with their wives, children, and other dependants, because they were required to be ready to perform their sacred duties at any time. 19Among the priests who lived in the cities assigned to Aaron's descendants, or in the pasture lands belonging to these cities, there were responsible men who distributed the food to all the males in the priestly families and to everyone who was on the rolls of the Levite clans.

20Throughout all Judah, King Hezekiah did what was right and what was pleasing to the LORD his God. 21He was successful, because everything he did for the Temple or in observance of the Law, he did in a spirit of complete loyalty and devotion to his God.

The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem

1After these events, in which King Hezekiah served the LORD faithfully, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, invaded Judah. He besieged the fortified cities and gave orders for his army to break their way through the walls. 2When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib intended to attack Jerusalem also, 5The king strengthened the city's defences by repairing the wall, building towers on it, and building an outer wall. In addition, he repaired the defences built on the land that was filled in on the east side of the old part of Jerusalem. He also had a large number of spears and shields made. 6He placed all the men in the city under the command of army officers and ordered them to assemble in the open square at the city gate. He said to them, 7“Be determined and confident, and don't be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. 8He has human power, but we have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” The people were encouraged by these words of their king.

9Some time later, while Sennacherib and his army were still at Lachish, he sent the following message to Hezekiah and the people of Judah who were with him in Jerusalem: 10“I, Sennacherib, Emperor of Assyria, ask what gives you people the confidence to remain in Jerusalem under siege. 11Hezekiah tells you that the LORD your God will save you from our power, but Hezekiah is deceiving you and will let you die of hunger and thirst. 12He is the one who destroyed the LORD's shrines and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship and burn incense at one altar only. 13Don't you know what my ancestors and I have done to the people of other nations? Did the gods of any other nation save their people from the emperor of Assyria? 14When did any of the gods of all those countries ever save their country from us? Then what makes you think that your god can save you? 15Now don't let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like that. Don't believe him! No god of any nation has ever been able to save his people from any Assyrian emperor. So certainly this god of yours can't save you!”

16The Assyrian officials said even worse things about the LORD God and Hezekiah, the LORD's servant. 17The letter that the emperor wrote defied the LORD, the God of Israel. It said, “The gods of the nations have not saved their people from my power, and neither will Hezekiah's god save his people from me.” 18The officials shouted this in Hebrew in order to frighten and discourage the people of Jerusalem who were on the city wall, so that it would be easier to capture the city. 19They talked about the God of Jerusalem in the same way that they talked about the gods of the other peoples, idols made by human hands.

20Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed to God and cried out to him for help. 21The LORD sent an angel that killed the soldiers and officers of the Assyrian army. So the emperor went back to Assyria disgraced. One day when he was in the temple of his god, some of his sons killed him with their swords.

22In this way the LORD rescued King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the power of Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, and also from their other enemies. He let the people live in peace with all the neighbouring countries. 23Many people came to Jerusalem, bringing offerings to the LORD and gifts to Hezekiah, so that from then on all the nations held Hezekiah in honour.

Hezekiah's Illness and Pride

24About this time King Hezekiah fell ill and almost died. He prayed, and the LORD gave him a sign that he would recover. 25But Hezekiah was too proud to show gratitude for what the LORD had done for him, and Judah and Jerusalem suffered for it. 26Finally, however, Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem humbled themselves, and so the LORD did not punish the people until after Hezekiah's death.

Hezekiah's Wealth and Splendour

27King Hezekiah became very wealthy, and everyone held him in honour. He had storerooms built for his gold, silver, precious stones, spices, shields, and other valuable objects. 28In addition, he had storehouses built for his corn, wine, and olive oil; barns for his cattle; and enclosures for his sheep. 29Besides all this, God gave him sheep and cattle and so much other wealth that he built many cities. 30It was King Hezekiah who blocked the outlet for the Spring of Gihon and channelled the water to flow through a tunnel to a point inside the walls of Jerusalem. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did, 31and even when the Babylonian ambassadors came to inquire about the unusual event that had happened in the land, God let Hezekiah go his own way only in order to test his character.

The End of Hezekiah's Reign

32Everything else that King Hezekiah did and his devotion to the LORD are recorded in The Vision of the Prophet Isaiah Son of Amoz and in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33Hezekiah died and was buried in the upper section of the royal tombs. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem paid him great honour at his death. His son Manasseh succeeded him as king.

2 Chronicles 31:2-32:33GNBOpen in Bible reader
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