1 Hezekiah sent a message to all Israel and Judah. He wrote letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. He invited them to come to Jehovahs Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of Jehovah the God of Israel.
2 The king, his officials, and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month.
3 They could not celebrate it at the regular time because not enough priests had performed the ceremonies to make themselves holy and the people had not gathered in Jerusalem.
4 The king and the entire assembly considered their plan to be the right thing to do.
5 They decided to send an announcement throughout Israel from Beersheba to Dan. They summoned everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of Jehovah God of Israel. These people had not celebrated it in large numbers as the written instructions said they should.
6 Messengers carried letters from the king and his officials throughout Israel and Judah. The kings order said: »Israelites should return to Jehovah the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Then he will return to the few of you who escaped from the power of the kings of Assyria.
7 »Do not be like your ancestors and your relatives who were unfaithful to Jehovah the God of their ancestors. He made them something that shocks people, as you have seen.
8 »Do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but yield to Jehovah and enter his sanctuary that he has consecrated from generation to generation. Serve Jehovah your God that His burning anger may turn away from you.
9 »If you return to Jehovah, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. Jehovah your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face away from you if you return to him.«
10 So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them.
11 Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.
12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of Jehovah.
13 Many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. It was a very large assembly.
14 They arose and removed the altars in Jerusalem. They also removed all the incense altars and cast them into the Kidron Brook.
15 They slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed of themselves. They consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the house of Jehovah.
16 They stood in their regular places as instructed by the law of Moses. Moses was a man of God. The priests sprinkled the blood they received from the Levites.
17 Many people in the assembly had not made themselves holy. So the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all who were not clean and could not make their lambs holy for Jehovah.
18 Many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not made themselves clean. So they ate the Passover, but not in the way the written instructions said they should. Hezekiah prayed for them: »May Jehovah forgive everyone
19 who have their hearts set on dedicating their lives to serve God. May Jehovah the God of their ancestors do this for those who are not clean as required for the holy place.«
20 Jehovah listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.
21 Thus the Israelites in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. Each day the Levites and priests praised Jehovah in song. They played Jehovahs instruments loudly.
22 Hezekiah spoke encouraging words to all the Levites who had the skills to serve Jehovah. They ate the festival meals for seven days, sacrificed fellowship offerings, and confessed their sins to Jehovah the God of their ancestors.
23 Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the festival for seven more days. So they joyfully celebrated for seven more days.
24 Hezekiah king of Judah contributed one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep to the assembly. The princes contributed one thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep to the assembly. A large number of priests consecrated themselves.
25 The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced with the priests and the Levites. The entire assembly that came from Israel, both the sojourners who came from the land of Israel and those living in Judah rejoiced.
26 There was great joy in Jerusalem. Nothing occurred like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.
27 The Levitical priests arose and blessed the people. Their voice was heard and their prayer came to Gods holy dwelling place, to heaven.