The Collection for the Priests 31 1When the Passover celebration was finished, all the Israelites in Jerusalem went out to the towns of Judah. There they smashed the stone pillars used to worship gods. They cut down the Asherah idols and destroyed the altars and places for worshiping gods in all of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and homes. 2King Hezekiah appointed groups of priests and Levites for their special duties. They were to offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, to worship, and to give thanks and praise at the gates of the Lord’s house. 3Hezekiah gave some of his own animals for the burnt offerings, which were given every morning and evening, on Sabbath days, during New Moons, and at other feasts commanded in the Lord’s Teachings. 4Hezekiah commanded the people living in Jerusalem to give the priests and Levites the portion that belonged to them. Then the priests and Levites could give all their time to the Lord’s Teachings. 5As soon as the king’s command went out to the Israelites, they gave freely of the first portion of their grain, new wine, oil, honey, and everything they grew in their fields. They brought a large amount, one-tenth of everything. 6The people of Israel and Judah who lived in Judah also brought one-tenth of their cattle and sheep and one-tenth of the holy things that were given to the Lord their God, and they put all of them in piles. 7The people began the piles in the third month and finished in the seventh month. 8When Hezekiah and his officers came and saw the piles, they praised the Lord and his people, the people of Israel. 9Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the piles. 10Azariah, the leading priest from Zadok’s family, answered Hezekiah, “Since the people began to bring their offerings to the Temple of the Lord, we have had plenty to eat and plenty left over, because the Lord has blessed his people. So we have all this left over.” 11Then Hezekiah commanded the priests to prepare the storerooms in the Temple of the Lord. So this was done. 12Then the priests brought in the offerings and the things given to the Lord and one-tenth of everything the people had given. Conaniah the Levite was in charge of these things, and his brother Shimei was second to him. 13Conaniah and his brother Shimei were over these supervisors: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. King Hezekiah and Azariah the officer in charge of the Temple of God had chosen them. 14Kore son of Imnah the Levite was in charge of the special gifts the people wanted to give to God. He was responsible for giving out the contributions made to the Lord and the holy gifts. Kore was the guard at the East Gate. 15Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah helped Kore in the towns where the priests lived. They gave from what was collected to the other groups of priests, both young and old. 16From what was collected, these men also gave to the males three years old and older who had their names in the Levite family histories. They were to enter the Temple of the Lord for their daily service, each group having its own responsibilities. 17The priests were given their part of the collection, by families, as listed in the family histories. The Levites twenty years old and older were given their part of the collection, based on their responsibilities and their groups. 18The Levites’ babies, wives, sons, and daughters also got part of the collection. This was done for all the Levites who were listed in the family histories, because they always kept themselves ready to serve the Lord. 19Some of Aaron’s descendants, the priests, lived on the farmlands near the towns or in the towns. Men were chosen by name to give part of the collection to these priests. All the males and those named in the family histories of the Levites received part of the collection. 20This is what King Hezekiah did in Judah. He did what was good and right and obedient before the Lord his God. 21Hezekiah tried to obey God in his service of the Temple of God, and he tried to obey God’s teachings and commands. He gave himself fully to his work for God. So he had success.
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