2 Chronicles, 31
Hezekiah reforms Priest & Levites
1: Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities. 2: And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD. 3: He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD. 4: Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD. 5: And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the fields; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. 6: And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps. 7: In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. 8: And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel. 9: Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. 10: And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store. 11: Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them, 12: And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next. 13: And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God. 14: And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the LORD, and the most holy things. 15: And next him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in their set office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small: 16: Beside their genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, even unto every one that entereth into the house of the LORD, his daily portion for their service in their charges according to their courses; 17: Both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their charges by their courses; 18: And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness: 19: Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, which were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every several city, the men that were expressed by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites. 20: And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. 21: And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
2 Chronicles, 32
Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem
1: After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself. 2: And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, 3: He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him. 4: So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water? 5: Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance. 6: And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, 7: Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: 8: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. 9: After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying, 10: Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, that ye abide in the siege in Jerusalem? 11: Doth not Hezekiah persuade you to give over yourselves to die by famine and by thirst, saying, The LORD our God shall deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 12: Hath not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall worship before one altar, and burn incense upon it? 13: Know ye not what I and my fathers have done unto all the people of other lands? were the gods of the nations of those lands any ways able to deliver their lands out of mine hand? 14: Who was there among all the gods of those nations that my fathers utterly destroyed, that could deliver his people out of mine hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of mine hand? 15: Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand? 16: And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah. 17: He wrote also letters to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand. 18: Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews' speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city. 19: And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.
God delivers Judah
20: And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven. 21: And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. 22: Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side. 23: And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.
Hezekiah’s sickness and pride
24: In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. 25: But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. 26: Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
27: And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels; 28: Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks. 29: Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much. 30: This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. 31: Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.
32: Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33: And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.
2 Chronicles, 33
Manasseh rules Judah
1: Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: 2: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. 3: For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4: Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. 5: And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6: And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. 7: And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: 8: Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses. 9: So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. 10: And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. 11: Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 12: And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13: And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God. 14: Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah. 15: And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. 16: And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel. 17: Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only. 18: Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel. 19: His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers. 20: So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
Amon rules Judah
21: Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22: But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; 23: And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more. 24: And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house. 25: But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
On this last day of May we will be looking at the rest of the life of Hezekiah. Of how Hezekiah reorganises the priests and of how the LORD delivers him in his day of trouble but we also read of his pride and sickness and his death. All of these things war, sickness are indications of Gods discipline on a nation that has forsaken the LORD. Then we read of his successors Manasseh and Amon, both kings of Judah. In the early days of Hezekiah there was a general revival bringing about the destruction of the idolatry in the land. Hezekiah appointed all the courses of the priests and Levites. He also appointed the portion of his own wealth that was dedicated to the LORD. He also encouraged the people to give to the work of the priests so that they could continue in the work. It took four months to arrange the tithe that the people brought. The offerings were so great that they had to build chambers to put it all in. The people sought the Lord with all their heart and the LORD blessed them greatly. As soon as he had been established the Assyrian king Sennacherib invaded the land. So Hezekiah had a meeting of his princes and they stopped the wells and stopped the brook that ran through the land. They also fortified the city of Jerusalem and increased their weapons. He declared martial law and addressed the people, saying,
Be strong and have courage and do not be afraid or panic because of the Assyrian king nor for his huge army because we are greater than he is. He comes in human strength but with us is the LORD God to help us and to fight our battles.
So the people trusted in the leadership of Hezekiah. Sennacherib sent a message addressed to the people over the head of Hezekiah. He said..
On what are you trusting, that you remain shut up in Jerusalem? Has Hezekiah persuaded you to die of famine and thirst? Saying that the LORD will deliver us? So do not believe him or be deceived by him because no god is able to deliver you from us.
He also wrote other letters railing on the LORD God of Israel. Then they shouted at this to try to frighten the people. Hezekiah and Amoz prayed and called to heaven. And the Lord sent an angel to kill all the strong men of the Assyrian army and the leaders and captains. And so Sennacherib returned to his land in shame. And when he went into his temple his own children murdered him there. This great victory was won by prayer alone. And Hezekiah grew in wealth and power. Then we read that Hezekiah was sick and likely to die so he prayed to the LORD and the Lord gave him a sign. Hezekiah did not give thanks to the Lord but thought that he was his own Saviour and so the wrath of God came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Hezekiah did not humble himself before the Lord. Hezekiah was very wealthy in both riches and honour. He prospered in all his works but the LORD left him to try him to enable Hezekiah to see what was in his heart. When he died he was given a very great honour of being buried with David his father. His son Manasseh reigned in his place he was only 12yrs old when he began and he reigned for 55yrs. He was a bad king. He restored the cults of Baalim. He sacrificed his children and encouraged the occult of witches, wizards and mediums. He set a totem pole in the temple of the Lord. He did worse than the heathen that were thrown out of the land. The LORD spoke to him and brought the Assyrians who took him captive and carried him away to Babylon but in that place he sought the Lord and humbled himself before the LORD and the Lord heard him and allowed him to return to Jerusalem. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was his God. He brought about a general revival. Destroying the heathen altars and reorganising the priesthood. When he died his son Amon reigned in his place. He was 22yrs when he began and he reigned only 2 yrs. He was a bad king doing all the evil things that his father did in his younger years. His servants murdered him.