31 1The Feast came to an end. The people of Israel who were in Jerusalem went out to the towns of Judah. They smashed the sacred stones. They cut down the poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah. They destroyed the high places and the altars. They did those things all through Judah and Benjamin. They also did them in Ephraim and Manasseh. They destroyed all of the objects that were used to worship other gods. Then the people returned to their own towns and property. The People Bring Gifts to the Lord 2Hezekiah put the priests and Levites in groups based on their duties. The priests sacrificed burnt offerings and friendship offerings. The Levites served the Lord by giving thanks and singing praises at the gates of his house. 3The king gave some of his own possessions to the temple. He gave them for the morning and evening burnt offerings. He gave them for the burnt offerings for every Sabbath day. He gave them for the burnt offerings for every New Moon feast. And he gave them for the burnt offerings for every yearly appointed feast. He did it in keeping with what is written in the Law of the Lord. 4Hezekiah gave an order to the people who were living in Jerusalem. He commanded them to give to the priests and Levites the share they owed them. Then the priests and Levites could give their full attention to the Law of the Lord. 5The order went out. Right away the people of Israel began to give freely. They gave the first share of the harvest of their grain, fresh wine, olive oil and honey. They also gave the first share of everything else their fields produced. They brought a large amount. It was a tenth of everything. 6The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah brought a tenth of their herds and flocks. They also brought a tenth of the holy things they had set apart to the Lord their God. They put them in piles. 7They began doing it in the third month. They finished in the seventh month. 8Hezekiah and his officials came and saw the piles. When they did, they praised the Lord. And they blessed his people Israel. 9Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the piles. 10The chief priest Azariah answered him. He said, “The people have been bringing their gifts to the Lord’s temple. Ever since they began to bring them, we’ve had enough to eat. We have even had plenty to spare. That’s because the Lord has blessed his people. So we have a large amount left over.” Azariah was from the family line of Zadok. 11Hezekiah gave orders to prepare storerooms in the Lord’s temple. And it was done. 12The people were faithful. They brought in their offerings, a tenth of everything they produced, and the gifts they had set apart to the Lord. The Levite Conaniah was in charge of those things. His brother Shimei was next in command after him. 13Conaniah and his brother Shimei had directors who worked under them. Their names were Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath and Benaiah. King Hezekiah and Azariah had appointed them. Azariah was the official who was in charge of God’s temple. 14The Levite Kore guarded the East Gate. He was in charge of the offerings people chose to give to God. He handed out the offerings that were made to the Lord. He also handed out the gifts that had been set apart to the Lord. Kore was the son of Imnah. 15Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shecaniah helped Kore. They were faithful in helping him in the towns of the priests. They handed out gifts to their brother priests, group by group. They gave the gifts to young men and old men alike. 16In addition to that, they handed out gifts to the males who were three years old or more. The names of those males were listed in their family history. All of them would enter the Lord’s temple. They would carry out their duties each day. Each group did all of the different things it was supposed to do. 17Kore and his Levite companions also handed out gifts to the priests. The priests were listed by their families in their family history. Those Levites also handed out gifts to the Levites who were 20 years old or more. Each group did all of the different things it was supposed to do. 18Those groups included all of the little ones, the wives, and the sons and daughters of the whole community. All of them were listed in their family history. They were faithful in setting themselves apart to serve the Lord. 19Some of the priests, who were from the family line of Aaron, lived in other towns or on farms around their towns. Men were chosen by name to hand out shares to those priests. They gave a share to every male among them. They also gave a share to everyone whose name was written down in the family history of the Levites. 20That’s what Hezekiah did all through Judah. He did what was good and right. He was faithful to the Lord his God. 21He looked to his God. He worked for him with all his heart. That’s the way he worked in everything he did to serve God’s temple. He obeyed the law. He followed the Lord’s commands. So he had success.
New International Readers Version® / © 1984 Biblica, Inc. About