And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel.
to the house
For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month.
in the second month
In Ijar, as they could not celebrate in Nisan, the 14th of which month was the proper time. But Hezekiah and his counsellors justly concluded, that the regulation of the 14th day of the second month, which had been made for individuals who were hindered from eating the passover at the appointed season, might in their present circumstances be extended to the people at large.
For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem.
at that time
And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation.
pleased the king
Heb. was right in the eyes of the king.
So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.
to make proclamation
So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.
the posts went
Ratzim, "runners," or couriers, of the same kind as the running footmen, who were formerly, before the establishment of posts, and still are in some places, trained, and kept on purpose to convey dispatches speedily by running.
Heb. the hand of the king. turn again.
and he will
And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see.
Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.
be ye not stiffnecked
Heb. harden not your necks.
Heb. give the hand.
which he hath
For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.
if ye turn
so that they shall
So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.
Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.
divers of Asher
It has been said, that Hezekiah had no right to invite Hoshea's subjects to repair to Jerusalem to his passover; but it may be presumed, that he was encouraged to do this by Hoshea himself, who was one of their best kings; besides which, both the golden calves having been taken away by the Assyrians, the apostate Israelites, being thus deprived of idols, had begun to return to the Lord, and to go up to Jerusalem to worship, some time before Hezekiah gave them this invitation.
Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD.
the hand of God
by the word
And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation.
the second month
And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron.
Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD.
And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites.
Heb. standing. after their manner.
For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD.
For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one
many of Ephraim
had not cleansed
That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
though he be not
And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD.
Heb. found. the feast.
Heb. instruments of strength.
And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers.
comfortably unto all
Heb. to the heart of all.
And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept other seven days with gladness.
They did not observe other seven days of unleavened bread, but offered sacrifices with praise and thanksgiving, and feasting, other seven days; and, as the people in general, and especially those who came out of the kingdom of Israel, would be unprepared for this additional expense, both Hezekiah and his princes liberally supplied them with cattle for sacrifices.
For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.
Heb. lifted up, or offered.
And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced.
So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
since the time
Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.
his holy dwelling place
Heb. the habitation of his holiness.