The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Paralipomena
Chapter 29
Ezechias was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and his reign at Jerusalem lasted twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abia, the daughter of Zacharias.
Here was one that obeyed the Lord’s will no less than his father David before him.
In the first year of his reign, when the first month came round, he opened the gates of the Lord’s house again, and put them in repair.
Then he summoned the priests and the Levites to assemble in the open space east of the temple.
Men of Levi, he said, it is my will that you should cleanse yourselves; cleanse, too, the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and rid his sanctuary of all defilement.
Ours is an inheritance of guilt, from fathers who have disobeyed the Lord our God, and forsaken him; turned their backs on his dwelling-place, where their eyes should ever be.
Fast shut were the gates of yonder porch, spent the lamps, never did incense smoke, never was victim offered in the sanctuary of the God of Israel.
What wonder if the Lord was angry with Juda and Jerusalem, doomed them to unrest, and ruin, and disgrace, such as you see all around?
What wonder if they fell in battle, these fathers of ours; if sons and daughters and wives were carried off into exile?
Here, then, is my resolve; we must bind ourselves by a covenant to the Lord our God, if his fierce anger is to relent.
As my own sons I charge you, do not stand by with folded hands; on you the Lord’s choice has fallen, to wait upon his presence, ministering, and doing worship, and burning incense before him.

Well did the Levites answer his call; Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azarias, Caathites; Cis son of Abdi and Azarias son of Jalaleel, Merarites; Joah son of Zemma and Joah’s son Eden, Gersonites;
of Elisaphan’s sons, Samri and Jahiel, of Asaph’s, Zacharias and Mathanias,
of Heman’s, Jahiel and Semei, of Idithun’s, Semeias and Oziel.
Mustering their brethren, they purified themselves, and so, obedient to the royal command and the divine will, entered into God’s house to cleanse it.
The priests, too, were in the Lord’s temple for the cleansing; no unhallowed thing they found in porch or temple but the Levites carried it away, into the Cedron valley beyond.
It was on the first day of the first month that they set about their task; on the eighth day of the same month they were still in the porch, and then they took eight days more ridding the temple itself of defilement; by the sixteenth day, their undertaking was complete.
And now they craved audience with king Ezechias; We have cleansed the Lord’s house, they told him, and the altar of burnt-sacrifice, with all that belongs to it, the table of hallowed loaves, and all that belongs to the table.
We have cleansed all the temple furniture that was profaned in the time of king Achaz, when he fell a-sinning; all this thou wilt find laid out before the Lord’s altar.

Next day, Ezechias was abroad early, with all the chief men of the city gathered about him, to make his way into the house of the Lord.
Seven bulls they offered, seven rams, seven lambs; seven goats, too, as an offering for fault; all this on behalf of the royal house, of the priestly line, and of Juda. And the king bade the priests, Aaron’s sons, offer the victims at the Lord’s altar.
So bulls and rams and lambs were slaughtered, and the altar received their blood;
the goats were brought out into the presence of king and people, who laid their hands on them,
and then the priests slaughtered them, and poured out their blood at the altar to expiate Israel’s common guilt; the king’s command was that burnt-sacrifice and offering for fault should both be offered on behalf of the whole people.
He had bidden the Levites take their stations, there in the Lord’s house, with cymbals, harp, and zither, as David enjoined; as Gad, the man of visions, and the prophet Nathan enjoined, for it was through these prophets of his that David had learned the Lord’s will.
There stood the Levites, with instruments of David’s own, and the priests with their trumpets;
and when Ezechias gave the word, and the burnt-sacrifice began, loud echoed their praises to the Lord, loud the trumpets blew, loud rang the music planned by David, king of Israel, long ago.
Still must singer and trumpeter be at their task among the throng of worshippers, till all the sacrifice was consumed;
and when this was over, while the king and all his company bowed down to adore,
these Levites were bidden by the king and his nobles to praise the Lord with psalms of David, and of Asaph, the man of visions. Praise him they did with hearts full of joy, and they too bowed down to worship.

It was not enough; Here, said Ezechias, are hands consecrated to the Lord afresh; come forward, and present victim and thank-offering in the Lord’s house. Thereupon the whole multitude brought victims and thank-offerings, and some, in their devotion, whole burnt-sacrifice.
In burnt-sacrifice they offered seventy bulls, a hundred rams, and two hundred lambs,
and consecrated to the Lord six hundred cattle and three thousand sheep.
The priests were too few in number to flay so many burnt-offerings at once, and the Levites must needs help them to finish their task, till such time as more priests should have rid themselves of defilement; such cleansing is an easier matter for Levite than for priest.
So much work there was to do with all the burnt-sacrifice that must be performed; the fat, too, of the welcome-offerings must be burned, and libations poured over the sacrifices.

Thus was the worship of the Lord’s house restored in full. Greatly did Ezechias and all the people rejoice over their duty well done, for all that the resolve was taken so suddenly.