2 Chronicles 29:1
Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
A Godly ReformationAlexander Maclaren2 Chronicles 29:1
The Accession of HezekiahT. Whitelaw 2 Chronicles 29:1, 2
Co-Operation NeededH. Clay Trumbull.2 Chronicles 29:1-11
Hezekiah, the Good KingSunday School Times2 Chronicles 29:1-11
Hezekiah's Action, the Result of Previous BroodingA. Maclaren, D.D.2 Chronicles 29:1-11
Hezekiah's ReformationT. S. Barbour.2 Chronicles 29:1-11
Hezekiah's ReformationT. Manton, D.D.2 Chronicles 29:1-11
Starting Well2 Chronicles 29:1-11
Taking the Right Stand At FirstA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Chronicles 29:1-11
The Height of OpportunityW. Clarkson 2 Chronicles 29:1-11

To Hezekiah as he ascended the throne of Judah there was presented a very noble opportunity. His father had brought the nation down very low, had left it "naked" to its various enemies, had caused it to incur the sore displeasure of the Lord, had suffered it to reach the very verge of destruction. But he himself was young and strong; he knew what was the secret and what the source of prosperity; he indulged the hope that everything might yet be restored if determination and energy were shown at the right hour. He resolved that, with the help of God, he would be equal to this great emergency, would rise to the height of this noble opportunity; and so he was, and so he did. He had what he needed for it -

I. ALL DUE PREPARATION IN GODLY TRAINING. For, although his father was an apostate from the true faith, and his example was everything that he should avoid, Hezekiah was not without home influences of another and a very different kind. It is a happy inconsistency we often find in bad men that they are willing for their children to receive the good counsel which themselves disregard and perhaps even despise. Whether due to a contemptuous indifference or to a covert fear, they are willing, sometimes even wishful, that their children should receive a godly education. It is highly probable that from his mother, Abijah, he learnt those truths and received those influences which led him to choose the service of God. Probably Isaiah had access to him; and if so, we may be sure he made use of his opportunity. Whoever did teach and train him must have felt amply rewarded in after-years, when Hezekiah rendered such splendid service to his country. There is sometimes done at the mother's knee or in the schoolroom a work for God the full fruits of which are never revealed on earth.

II. SENSIBILITY. As we read the address which Hezekiah delivered to the priests and the Levites (vers. 5-11), we are impressed with the fact that the speaker was a man of no ordinary sensibility. The things which had happened of late had cut him to the heart. His nation's dishonour, the domestic sorrows of the people (ver. 9), the overshadowing of the high displeasure of the Almighty, - all this moved him to pure and deep emotion. He was a man of strong and profound feeling (see also Isaiah 38.).

III. RESOLUTENESS. There is reason to think that the ecclesiastical officials were far from being keenly sympathetic with the king in his work of reformation. The priests were quite in the background, and the Levites needed to be exhorted "not to be negligent" (ver. 11). The king himself not only took the initiative, but he brought to the work a firm resoluteness which carried everything before it. "It is in my heart to make a covenant," he said (ver. 10); and it was clear that the young king, although his elders were before him, and although the reins of government were only just in his hand, intended to carry out his purpose. One strong will, especially when it holds a high place and has a right to speak authoritatively, will drive indecision and even halfheartedness before it.

IV. SAGACITY. Hezekiah showed a sagacity which may be said to have been "beyond his years."

1. He recognized the right order of procedure. He felt that the first thing to be done was to set the nation right with the God whom they had so seriously offended; and he perceived that the first thing to be done to attain this great end was to purify the profaned house of the Lord.

2. He took the leaders of religion into counsel and co-operation. He called the Levites and the priests together, and energetically addressed them; he appealed to them in the language of piety and of affection (ver. 11).

3. He understood that all reformation must begin with our own hearts. "Sanctify yourselves," he said (ver. 5). It must be the clean hands of the pure heart that cleanse and purify the sanctuary of the Lord. If we would rise to the height of our opportunity we must do these things.

1. Realize the greatness of the work before us; be impressed and affected by it; be seriously solemnized by it. It is not the cold or the chill heart that will carry a great work through all obstacles and over all toils to a successful issue.

2. Give the first place to the sacred side of the matter; feel that we must have God with us in our work; consider well what are its relations to him, and in what way his favour is to be secured.

3. Make a beginning with ourselves - "sanctify ourselves" for the work in hand, by self-examination, by a sincere repentance and return unto God, by a solemn and deliberate rededication of ourselves to our Lord and to his service, by earnest and believing prayer, cleanse our own heart and thus be ready for the part we are to take.

4. Co-operate with our fellows to the utmost of our power; not proudly consider that we alone are sufficient, nor selfishly desire to reserve sacred duty and opportunity for our own hand, nor contentiously make it difficult for others to work with us; but gladly and graciously enter into fellowship with our friends and neighbours. - C.

Hezekiah began to reign.
The surroundings of Hezekiah in his youth seem, at first view, to have been unfavourable in the extreme. He was the son of a depraved father. He grew up at a corrupt court. Good kings and bad follow one another in very illogical succession. It must be that there is a self-acting power at the centre of every personal life. Let us cling to the belief, too, that, however vast the moral inequalities of human lives may be, no life is allowed by the Creator to be altogether destitute of gracious influences. In Hezekiah's case, at least, we can have no doubt that such influences were present. It is not unnatural to believe that his mother, presumably the daughter of Zechariah, the faithful prophet of King Uzziah's day, was a woman of devout character. To the loving nurture of a mother was added the faithful counsel of godly men. Moral giants lived in those days. Micah was prophesying, Nahum was about to begin his work. During the entire lifetime of Hezekiah, Isaiah was fulfilling his office in Jerusalem. Tradition says that he was Hezekiah's tutor; there can be no doubt that he was his faithful counsellor. Repulsed by the father, he would naturally turn with greater earnestness to the son. But all this touches only the outer circle of the gracious influences by which Hezekiah was encompassed. It has been said, and there is a world of truth in the saying, that more than half of the environment of any man is — God. The God who is not far from every one of us was near to the young prince in the corrupt capital of Judah. We have good reason for believing that Hezekiah had not been unresponsive to his heavenly promptings. A work begun so quickly after his accession to the throne must have been premeditated. We must suppose that Hezekiah had lived a thoughtful life. The character of the work to which the king addressed himself is deserving of attention. It was a radical work. Great as was the peril to which the kingdom was exposed from external attack, great as was its moral unsoundness, Hezekiah saw that all its trouble was rooted in ungodliness. The king's initial sot in "opening the doors of the house of the Lord" was, it is likely, more philosophical than he himself realised. Reverence for God lies at the basis of all that is trustworthy in private character and of all that is enduring in public order. Hezekiah's reform was also positive in nature. It addressed itself not chiefly to the extermination of idolatry, but to the development of a genuine faith. Of their own accord the people went out to "break in pieces" the emblems of idolatry. When God wishes to regenerate the soul He does not at the outset uproot sinful affections, He implants love for Himself. Hezekiah's was a thoroughgoing work. The taunting charge of illiberality could not extort from him the smallest concession to the false religions of other lands. Not only image and "grove" — the sacred pillar or tree of Astarte — were to be hewn down, but the worship of the "high places" was to be destroyed. Of Asa and Jehoshaphat we are told both that they did and that they did not interfere with this form of worship. They probably destroyed such sanctuaries as had become openly idolatrous, and allowed the others to remain. But Hezekiah adopted extreme measures. The brazen serpent fashioned by Moses in the wilderness, and still preserved, the people regarded with superstitious veneration. Hezekiah declared that the image was like any other "piece of brass," and broke it in pieces. Hezekiah would not consent that even the germs of idolatry should remain in the land. How difficult was the mission to which Hezekiah thus committed himself! In the mode of procedure adopted by Hezekiah in carrying through his reformation are certain things worthy of notice.

1. It is peculiarly gratifying to observe that he acted promptly. The die was cast. In the first month of his reign Hezekiah, like Abraham, who, when bidden to offer Isaac, "rose up early in the morning and went to the place of which God had told him," was wise in allowing himself no time for hesitation. Delay never softens the hard aspects of duty or lessens its difficulties. For committing one's self to the service of Christ no other time is so favourable as the first year, the first month, the first day, of one's entrance upon a new sort or period of life.

2. It is instructive to notice that Hezekiah engaged personally in the work of reform. He did not commit it all to subalterns.

3. Deserving of special mention is the fact that in the prosecution of his policy Hezekiah relied chiefly upon moral influences. He might have compelled, but he chose rather to persuade. In this he showed the utmost wisdom. If the reform was to be real, the hearts of the people must be enlisted in it. We are, finally, prepared to inquire what results were effected by the king's determined effort. The immediate outcome was most gratifying and most wonderful. The officers of religion responded — the priests somewhat slowly, but the Levites with all their hearts. The people did the same. The nation felt to its utmost limits the electric thrill of a new life. The crusade against idolatry waxed strong throughout the kingdom, and "a burst of spring-time," as Dean Stanley beautifully calls it, succeeded. "The thing was done suddenly," the record says. But is not the same true of well-nigh every successful reform? Those advocating a righteous cause have at least two excellent reasons for viewing it with larger hope than external appearances warrant. Something in every moral being is in secret alliance with truth and justice. The second reason is stronger still; it is that by which the sacred historian explains the success of Hezekiah: "The Lord had prepared the people." We may reckon with confidence upon God's care over any work of His. To the reformatory work of King Hezekiah must be attributed a result still more imposing, though to be sure not more important. It delivered the southern kingdom from the fearful peril by which the northern kingdom had been overwhelmed. Is it not a painful thing to have to add that even so thorough a reform as this did not prove lasting? Some of the people doubtless remained steadfast, but the most fell away.

(T. S. Barbour.)

Sunday School Times.

1. Correct in life (ver. 2).

2. Prompt in action (ver. 8).

3. Holy in influence (ver. 5).


1. The Lord forsaken (ver. 6).

2. The sanctuary abandoned (ver. 7).

3. The penalty incurred (ver. 8).

III. Hezekiah's WISE APPEAL.

1. To make a covenant (ver. 10).

2. To avert wrath (ver. 10).

3. To perform duty (ver. 11).

(Sunday School Times.)

The best way to settle a kingdom is to settle the religion of it, to begin reigning with reforming. Hezekiah's reformation went on in a true step and pace, for it began first with the temple and ministry. It is but Christian prudence to cleanse the spring if we would have the stream clear; to look to God's house, and those that should dispense His Word and ordinances if we would have the people brought into conformity with Him.

(T. Manton, D.D.)

A friend, who is deeply interested in work for Christ among our sailors, told me that at the close of a prayer-meeting of which he had been the leader, a young seaman, who had only a few nights before been converted, came up to him, and laying a blank card before him, requested him to write a few words upon it, because, as he said, "You will do it more plainly than I can." "What must I write?" said my friend. "Write these words, sir; 'I love Jesus — do you?'" After he had written them, my friend said, "Now you must tell me what you are going to do with the card." He replied, "I am going to sea to-morrow, and I am afraid if I do not take a stand at once I may begin to be ashamed of my religion, and let myself be laughed out of it altogether. Now as soon as I go on board, I shall walk straight to my bunk and nail up this card upon it, that every one may know that I am a Christian."

The statement in ver. 8 may be taken as a general resume of what follows in detail, but this vigorous speech to the priests was clearly among the new king's first sets. No doubt his purpose had slowly grown while his father was affronting Heaven with his mania for idols. Such decisive, swift action does not come without protracted, previous brooding. The hidden fires gather slowly in the silent crater, however rapidly they burst out at last.

(A. Maclaren, D.D.)

We can never begin good things too early, and when we come into new positions, it is always prudence as well as bravery to show our colours unmistakably from the first. Many a young man, launched among fresh associations, has been ruined because of beginning with temporising timidity. It is easier to take the right standing at first than to shift to it afterwards. Hezekiah might have been excused if he had thought that the wretched state of political affairs left by Ahaz needed his first attention. Edomites on the east, Philistines on the west and south, Syrians and Assyrians on the north, compassed him about like bees, and worldly prudence would have said, Look after these enemies to-day, and the temple to-morrow. He was wiser than that, knowing that these were effects of the religious corruption, and so he went at that first. It is useless trying to mend a nation's fortunes unless you mend its morals and religion. And there are some things which are best done quickly, both in individual and national life. Leaving off bad habits by degrees is not hopeful. The only thing to be done is to break with them utterly and at once. One strong, swift blow, right through the heart, kills the wild beast. Slighter cuts may make him bleed to death, but he may kill you first. The existing state was undeniably sinful. There was no need for deliberation as to that. Therefore there was no reason for delay. Let us learn the lesson that, where conscience has no doubts, we should have no dawdling. "I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandment."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

He brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together
No one is so strong that he needs no help in carrying out his plans of reform. The head of a nation or of a state must have the co-operation of many, if he would correct abuses and promote a better state of things in the administration of his government. A pastor must seek the aid of the leaders of his people in trying to raise the standard of his church. A superintendent cannot carry his school to any higher point than that to which he can first bring his teachers. The head of a business establishment, who neglects to give wise counsel to those just below him, finds the lack of it in all the departments which they oversee. The true method of uplifting the masses is by uplifting the leaders of the masses.

(H. Clay Trumbull.)

Aaron, Abdi, Abijah, Ahaz, Amasai, Asaph, Azariah, David, Elizaphan, Esther, Gad, Gershonites, Heman, Hezekiah, Jeduthun, Jehalelel, Jehiel, Jeiel, Jeuel, Joah, Joel, Kish, Kohathites, Levites, Mahath, Mattaniah, Merari, Merarites, Nathan, Shemaiah, Shimei, Shimri, Uzziel, Zechariah, Zimmah
Holy Place, Jerusalem, Kidron
Abijah, Abi'jah, Daughter, Hezekiah, Hezeki'ah, Jerusalem, Mother's, Nine, Reign, Reigned, Twenty, Twenty-five, Twenty-nine, Zechariah, Zechari'ah
1. Hezekiah's good reign.
3. He restores religion
5. He exhorts the Levites
12. They sanctify themselves, and cleanse the house of God
20. Hezekiah offers solemn sacrifices,
24. wherein the Levites are more forward than the priests

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Chronicles 29:1

     7240   Jerusalem, history

2 Chronicles 29:1-31:1

     7245   Judah, kingdom of

2 Chronicles 29:1-32:33

     5366   king

A Godly Reformation
'Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. 3. He in the first year of his reign, in the first mouth, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. 4. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Sacrifice Renewed
'Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, and the altar of burnt-offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shew-bread table, with all the vessels thereof. 19. Moreover, all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are before the altar of the Lord. 20. Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Twenty-Fourth Day. Holiness and Cleansing.
Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.'--2 Cor. vii. 1. That holiness is more than cleansing, and must be preceded by it, is taught us in more than one passage of the New Testament. 'Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word.' 'If a man cleanse himself from these, he shall be a vessel
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

The comparative indifference with which Chronicles is regarded in modern times by all but professional scholars seems to have been shared by the ancient Jewish church. Though written by the same hand as wrote Ezra-Nehemiah, and forming, together with these books, a continuous history of Judah, it is placed after them in the Hebrew Bible, of which it forms the concluding book; and this no doubt points to the fact that it attained canonical distinction later than they. Nor is this unnatural. The book
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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