A National Passover At Jerusalem
2 Chronicles 30:13-27
And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation.…


1. Large. "Much people; ... a very great congregation" (ver. 13). Though this was usual at the chief religious festivals of the nation, probably so vast a concourse of people as assembled at Jerusalem in answer to the king's invitation, in the second month of the first or seventh year of his reign (see preceding homily), had not been witnessed since the days of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 23:2) or of Asa (2 Chronicles 15:9, 10). Something stimulating and impressive in the sight of a crowded city, even when its seething population drifts aimlessly about, much more when all are swayed by a common feeling and moved by a common impulse.

2. Mixed. Composed of

(1) all the congregation of Judah, i.e. of the inhabitants of the metropolis and of the country districts of Judaea, with the priests and the Levites;

(2) all the congregation that came out of Israel, viz. a multitude of people from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zabulon (ver. 18); and

(3) the strangers, or proselytes who dwelt within the borders of Judah, and those who came from Israel or the northern kingdom (ver. 25).

3. United. All actuated by one purpose - that of keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread (ver. 13), which probably none of them in their lifetime had ever done. It was such a festival as could be rightly celebrated only by a united people, and such as was fitted to draw closer the bonds of union between the celebrants.

4. Resolute. Prepared to undergo any sacrifices and attempt any labours necessary to carry the feast through with success, determined to be hindered by nothing and no one from their great act of religious homage to the Lord God of their fathers (vers. 19, 22).

5. Joyous. Inspired with feelings of gladness (ver. 23), even "great gladness" (ver. 21), and "great joy" (ver. 26), which found expression in peace offerings and penitential confessions (ver. 22), accompanied by vocal and instrumental strains, and abated not during the seven days of the feast proper (ver. 21), but sustained the people throughout seven superadded days (ver. 23). Indeed, so high ran the enthusiasm, and so overflowing became the joy, that nothing like it had been witnessed since the days of Solomon, when the dedication of the temple had been celebrated by a double period of rejoicing (2 Chronicles 7:1-10). The occasion certainly was fitted to excite gladness - the return of the nation to its allegiance to Jehovah. So is the soul's return to God in penitence, faith, and holy obedience a cause of jubilation not only in heaven (Luke 15:7, 10), but also on earth (Acts 8:8); and not among spectators merely, but also in the souls of them who return (Luke 24:52; Acts 8:39; Romans 5:11). Moreover, the service of God and Christ should always be accompanied with gladness (Psalm 100:2; Psalm 149:2, 5; Isaiah 12:3), as in gladness it will invariably result (Psalm 64:10; Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 51:11; Romans 14:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:16).


1. The zeal of the people.

(1) Necessary preparation. This consisted of two things - the purgation of the city from idolatry, and the cleansing of themselves from defilement. The first they carried out with promptitude and decision - "they arose and took away the altars" (ver. 14); and with thoroughgoing energy and efficiency which allowed of no escape - "they took them all away," the altars for offering to heathen divinities, and the altars or "vessels" for incense, which Ahaz had erected in every corner of the city (2 Chronicles 28:24), and cast them into the Kidron, where already the filth of the temple had been thrown (2 Chronicles 29:16). Never in any previous reign had there been such a clearance of the instruments of idolatry as now occurred under Hezekiah. The second, though not mentioned, is implied, at least, of those who belonged to Judah (see ver. 17; and cf. on ver. 3). These, having had the means of self-sanctification at hand, most likely used them; those who came from Israel having not had such means, their want of sanctification was prayed for and overlooked (vers. 17-20).

(2) Statutory adoration. They killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month (see on ver. 2). The heads of families in Judah who were sanctified killed their own Jambs and placed the blood in the priests' hands; for such as had not been cleansed according to the purification of the sactuary, the Levites killed the Passovers, and delivered the blood into the hands of the priests (ver. 17). These sprinkled the blood upon the altars.

2. The behaviour of the priests and Levites.

(1) Their sanctification of themselves. The priests and Levites were not those of Jerusalem merely who had taken part in the dedication of the temple, and of whom it is said (2 Chronicles 29:34) that the Levites had been more forward to sanctify themselves than the priests, but the whole body of the priests and Levites who had come from Judah and Israel, among whom were many who did not immediately purify themselves from defilement as they ought to have done on convening at Jerusalem. Most likely at first half-hearted in the business, afterwards through beholding the zeal of the people they were shamed into repairing their neglect.

(2) Their discharge of official duties. Having sanctified themselves, they performed the statutory functions required of them in connection with their consecration: "They brought burnt offerings into the house of the Lord" (cf. Leviticus 8:18; Numbers 8:12); or with the Passover: "They brought the [Authorized Version] burnt offerings" presented by the people "into the house of the Lord," and "they stood in their places after their order according to the Law of Moses," the priests sprinkling the blood upon the altar (Leviticus 16:14-19), and the Levites, for the reason above explained, handing the blood to them.

3. The piety of the king.

(1) The king's prayer (vers. 18-20).

(a) To whom addressed. "The good Lord." Goodness an attribute of the Divine nature (Psalm 25:8; Psalm 34:8; Nahum 1:7), in its ideal character belonging only to him (Matthew 19:17), infinite in its measure (Exodus 34:6) and excellence (Psalm 36:7), unwearied in its operation (Psalm 33:5; James 1:5), ever-during in its continuance (Psalm 52:1).

(b) For whom presented? "Every one that prepareth [Authorized Version, or 'setteth' Revised Version] his heart to seek the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary;" i.e. for every one who approached God with earnestness and resolution, "preparing and setting his heart" - in the margin, "his whole heart" (2 Chronicles 15:12; Psalm 119:2); with humility and faith, seeking "the Lord God of his fathers" thereby acknowledging he believed in Jehovah as his rightful Lord, and had sinned in turning aside to idolatry (Judges 10:10; 1 Samuel 12:10; 2 Chronicles 6:37; Psalm 106:6; Jeremiah 14:7); with obedience and submission, embracing the right way of seeking God, in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 12:5), at his temple (Exodus 25:8), through the sacrificial worship by him appointed (Hebrews 9:13) - as under the New Testament dispensation no one can approach God acceptably except through Christ (John 14:6), though with imperfection and defect in external ceremonial - which showed that the be, t spirits in the Hebrew Church had some conception of the spirituality of all true worship of God, of the value of real heart-adoration even when accompanied by errors in form, and of the worthlessness of the most externally correct, complete, aesthetically beautiful, and perfect performance when divorced from the inner homage of the heart.

(c) What it sought. The pardon of every one who had approached the Divine altar without complying with the Divine prescription as to self-purification. A sin of ignorance in case of some, in that of others a sin of involuntary disability, it was nevertheless a violation of the divinely appointed order, as real though not as heinous as that of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:18), and as such fitted to evoke a display of Divine anger similar to that which fell on Uzziah.

(d) How it fared. "The Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people" (ver. 20); which may signify either that symptoms of bodily malady had begun to appear among the people, or that Hezekiah feared they would. In either case Hezekiah's prayer was successful for his people, as afterwards was his supplication for himself (2 Chronicles 32:24). Cf. the intercession of Abraham for the cities of the plain (Genesis 18:23-32), of Moses for Israel (Exodus 32:31, 32), of David for his people (2 Samuel 24:17), of Daniel for Jerusalem (Daniel 9:17-19), of Paul for his converts (Ephesians 3:14 19; Philippians 1:3-9).

(2) The king's exhortation (ver. 22).

(a) The recipients of it. "All the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the Lord" (Authorized Version), i.e. "who were more skilled and able to instruct" others in the proper method of worshipping Jehovah (Piscator); or, more accurately, "all the Levites that were well skilled in the service of Jehovah" (Revised Version), or as regards Jehovah; i.e. "who had distinguished themselves by intelligent playing to the honour of the Lord" (Keil).

(b) The spirit of it. He spake comfortably, or to the heart, of all. No doubt there were degrees of excellence amongst the players and their music, but the king made no distinction in his treatment of them; he spake to the hearts of all His words of encouragement and good cheer were needed by all, perhaps most by those least skilled who yet were doing their best. Leaders of men, pastors of Churches, and such-like, sometimes forget this, and, by making distinctions between the more gifted and the less, do injury to both - inflate the former with pride, and cast down the latter with discouragement.

(3) The king's liberality (ver. 24). This was:

(a) Munificent. Hezekiah presented to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep.

(b) Catching. "The princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep."

(c) Timely. It enabled the people to carry out their good resolution to prolong the feast for seven more days.

(d) Appreciated. It filled the people's hearts with gladness, and doubtless contributed largely to entwine their affections round the person and the throne of the king. Learn:

1. The duty of not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together for Divine worship (Hebrews 10:25).

2. The excellence of unity among the people of God (Psalm 132:1; Acts 4:32; 1 Corinthians 1:10).

3. The joyous character of all true worship (1 Chronicles 16:27; Psalm 32:11; c. 1, 2; Luke 24:52; Ephesians 5:18, 19).

4. The acceptableness of sincere worship even when mingled with imperfection (Acts 10:35).

5. The beauty as well as propriety of Christian liberality (Exodus 23:15; 2 Corinthians 8:9). - W.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation.

WEB: Many people assembled at Jerusalem to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great assembly.

The Manner in Which the Soul Should Yield Itself to the Lord
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