Home  |  Old Testament Studies  |  2 Chronicles Table of Contents  |  Previous Section   |  Next Section   |

2 Chronicles 30


(LXX versing)
All Israel Invited to the Passover Hezekiah Keeps the Passover Hezekiah's Great Passover Festival Preparations for Passover Preparations for Passover
30:1-9 30:1-9 30:1-9 30:1-6a 30:1-9
30:10-12 30:10-12 30:10-12 30:10-12 30:10-12
Passover Reinstituted Passover Is Celebrated The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread
30:13-22 30:13-20 30:13-22 30:13-22a 30:13-20
30:21-22 A Second Celebration 30:21-22a
30:22b-27 30:22b-27
30:23-27 30:23-27 30:23-27

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1Now 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 celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. 2For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month, 3since they could not celebrate it at that time, because the priests had not consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers, nor had the people been gathered to Jerusalem. 4Thus the thing was right in the sight of the king and all the assembly. 5So they established a decree to circulate a proclamation throughout all Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem. For they had not celebrated it in great numbers as it was prescribed. 6The couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his princes, even according to the command of the king, saying, "O sons of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham Isaac and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped and are left from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their fathers, so that He made them a horror, as you see. 8Now do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but yield to the Lord and enter His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that His burning anger may turn away from you. 9For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him." 10So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. 11Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.

30:1 "all Israel and Judah. . .also to Ephraim and Manasseh" This is an unusual combination of geographical entities. "All Israel" may be another way for the Chronicler to affirm Judah's legitimacy. Sometimes the northern tribes went by the name "Ephraim," which was their largest tribe. However, the addition of Manasseh is unusual.

The best guess for this invitation to the northern tribes was just after the death of Sargon II when Assyria's leadership was in turmoil.

"the Passover" The Chronicler records another Passover under Josiah in 2 Chr. 35:1-19. There is no parallel in Kings to Hezekiah's Passover.


30:2 "the king and his princes and all the assembly" These represent the different levels in a monarchy of

  1. the king
  2. his princes (BDB 978), which denotes officials (i.e., 1 Kgs. 4:1-6)
    1. government ‒ Gen. 12:15; Num. 22:8; 1 Kgs. 4:2; 1 Chr. 22:17; 2 Chr. 30:6; Isa. 10:8; 31:9; 34:12; Ezra 8:20
    2. military ‒ Gen. 21:22,32; 26:26; 1 Sam. 12:9; Isa. 21:5
    3. priests ‒ 1 Chr. 15:16,22; 2 Chr. 35:9; 36:14; Ezra 8:24,29; 10:5
    4. tribal elders ‒ 1 Chr. 27:29; 29:6; 2 Chr. 24:13; Ezra 11:1

"in the second month" The Passover was to be the first month (i.e., Abib, Num. 9:1-14; Deut. 16:1) but because there were not enough consecrated priests (cf. 2 Chr. 30:3) it had to be postponed.

The NASB Study Bible, p. 621, has an interesting note.

"After the division of the kingdom, Jereboam deferred the sacral calendar of the northern kingdom by one month (1 Kin 12:32), possibly to further wean the subjects in the north away from devotion to Jerusalem. By delaying the celebration of Passover one month, Hezekiah not only allows time for the priests to consecrate themselves (v. 3) and for the people to gather (vv. 3,13), but also achieves unity between the kingdoms on the date of the Passover for the first time since the schism more than two centuries earlier. Delaying the date reflects Hezekiah's concern to involve "all Israel." For the first time since Solomon the entire nation observes Passover together, reflecting the Chronicler's view that Hezekiah is a "second Solomon." Passover was prescribed for the 14th day of the first month (Ex 12:2,6; Deut. 16:1-8), but could not be celebrated at that time due to the defilement of the temple and the purification rites under way (29:3,17). For celebration of Passover by the restored community shortly after the dedication of the rebuilt temple see Ezra 6:16-22."

30:3 This refers to 2 Chr. 20:34.

30:4 Several times in Chronicles the kings' decisions are said to be in agreement with the wishes of their people. Some commentators call this "the democratizing element" in the post-exilic period.

30:5 "from Beersheba even to Dan" These two cities, one in the south and one in the north, became an idiom for the whole land of Canaan.

"as it was prescribed" This is literally "written" (BDB 507, KB 503, Qal PASSIVE PARTICIPLE), which refers to the Mosaic guidelines.


30:6 "sons of Israel" This would denote all the descendants of Jacob. It was a literary device to recall the united monarchy.

"return" This VERB (BDB 996, KB 1427) is found in two forms.

  1. Qal IMPERATIVE (a call to the covenant people)
  2. Qal JUSSIVE (a plea to the covenant God; notice the reciprocal aspect of 2 Chr. 6:24-25,38-39; 2 Chr. 30:9)

This is one of the main words used for repentance.



"the Lord God of Abraham Isaac and Israel" This is the full title of Israel's God. Originally it was "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (cf. Exod. 3:6,15; 4:5; 6:3), but here "Israel" instead of "Jacob" (cf. 1 Chr. 29:18).



30:6-9 Hezekiah acknowledges the waywardness and stubbornness of Abraham's descendants. They were unfaithful and disobedient but if they would repent and seek YHWH, He would be found.

There are other corporate confessions like this one.

  1. Moses ‒ Exod. 32:9-14,30-33; Num. 11:13-19; Deut. 9:25-29
  2. Ezra ‒ Ezra 9:5-10:1
  3. Nehemiah ‒ Neh. 1:5-11
  4. Daniel ‒ Dan. 9:4-19

This prayer of confession includes several commands directed at the current generation of covenant people.

  1. return to the Lord God, v. 6 ‒ BDB 996, KB 1427, Qal IMPERATIVE, PLURAL
  2. do not be like your fathers and your brothers, v. 7 ‒ BDB 224, KB 243, Qal IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense, PLURAL
  3. do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, v. 8 ‒ BDB 904, KB 1151, Hiphil IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense, PLURAL
  4. yield to the Lord, v. 8 ‒ BDB 678, KB 733, Qal IMPERATIVE, PLURAL
  5. enter His sanctuary, v. 8 ‒ BDB 97, KB 112, Qal IMPERATIVE, PLURAL
  6. serve the Lord your God, v. 8 ‒ BDB 712, KB 773, Qal IMPERATIVE, PLURAL

Two of the command forms are prayer requests to God.

  1. that He may return to you, v. 6 ‒ BDB 996, KB 1427, Qal JUSSIVE, SINGULAR
  2. that His burning anger may turn away from you, v. 8 ‒ BDB 996, KB 1427, Qal JUSSIVE, SINGULAR

"those of you who escaped and are left from the hand of the kings of Assyria" This refers to the destruction of the Syro-Ephraimitic league. Hezekiah's father, Ahaz, appealed to Assyria for help (i.e., Isaiah 7).


30:7 This is an allusion to the consequences of disobedience (cf. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). It is often referred to as "the two ways" (cf. Deuteronomy 30, esp. vv. 15,19; Psalm 1).


"so that He made them a horror" See full note at 2 Chr. 29:8.

30:8 "do not stiffen your neck like your fathers" See full note at 2 Chr. 29:6-7.

NASB, NKJV, NRSV  "yield"
TEV  "obey"
NJB, JPSOA, REB  "submit"
LXX  "give glory"
Peshitta   —omit—
Knox (from Vulgate)  "surrender"

The MT has the IMPERATIVE "give" (BDB 678, KB 733, Qal), which has a wide semantic range. It is the opposite of being "stiff necked."

Literally it is "give your hand" (BDB 388, KB 386). This could mean

  1. in prayer
  2. in a pledge/oath
  3. imagery for giving your obedience


"enter His sanctuary" The MT has "came to His sanctuary." The Passover was one of three annual feast days that all male Israelites were required to attend at the temple.

The noun "sanctuary" appears as a NOUN (BDB 874) and a VERB ( BDB 872, KB 1073, i.e., "sanctify" or "consecrate," Hiphil PERFECT).

"forever" Remember the tension between the promises of God that never fail and the conditional covenant (i.e., the two ways) of the OT (i.e., Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; 30; Psalm 1). On one level God's will and sovereignty are unchangeable but on another level (i.e., individual, family, nation), God has allowed His highest creation (i.e., humans) to resist His will. This resistance is accompanied by terrible, temporal, and eternal consequences!

Notice the "if" of 2 Chr. 30:9. This "if. . .then" literary model reflects the conditional covenant.


"His burning anger" This is anthropomorphic language.


30:9 "your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive" This terminology and theology reflects Solomon's great dedicatory prayer to YHWH in 1 Kings 8 (esp. 8:50). The Chronicler

  1. knew 1 Kings
  2. wanted Israel and Judah unified as in David and Solomon's day (cf. v. 26)
  3. promised a return from captivity
  4. affirmed the character of YHWH (cf. Exod. 34:6)
  5. affirmed the effectiveness of repentance (cf. 2 Chr. 7:14)

"For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate" The unchanging character of Israel's God is fallen mankind's only hope!


"will not turn His face away from you" This VERB (BDB 996, KB 1427) is one of two VERBS used for "repentance." Believers turn from sin and turn to God! As we turn, He turns. This is not to say that the Spirit is not involved (i.e., John 6:44,65), but it is to assert the biblical mandate of a human response!


30:10-12 Apparently the "all Israel" of 2 Chr. 30:1 was limited. Hezekiah's offer was ridiculed and rejected by many in the northern kingdom. Idolatry over many generatioins had taken a foothold!

  1. laughed
  2. scorned
  3. mocked

Josephus, Antiq. 9.13.2., goes beyond even this and says they killed the prophets who brought them the same message.

Thank God there were some who humbled themselves (cf. v. 18; Lev. 26:40-43; 2 Chr. 7:14). Was this an aspect of "the hand of God" (v. 12) or was it a human choice? Yes, both.


13Now many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very large assembly. 14They arose and removed the altars which were in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and cast them into the brook Kidron. 15Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth of the second month. And the priests and Levites were ashamed of themselves, and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16They stood at their stations after their custom, according to the law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood which they received from the hand of the Levites. 17For there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves; therefore, the Levites were over the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was unclean, in order to consecrate them to the Lord. 18For a multitude of the people, even many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than prescribed. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "May the good Lord pardon 19everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary." 20So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21The sons of Israel present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day after day with loud instruments to the Lord. 22Then Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good insight in the things of the Lord. So they ate for the appointed seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their fathers.

30:13 "a very large assembly" This refers to 2 Chr. 30:5 (i.e., "as it was prescribed").

30:14 "They arose and removed the altars" These were the Ba'al altars set up by Ahaz (cf. 2 Chr. 28:24). This was the terrible influence of "the house of Ahab" (i.e., the idolatry of the northern kingdom).

This cleansing was an extension of Hezekiah's actions in 2 Chr. 29:16 or the local people had restored these pagan altars, as they had so many times in the past (cf. 1 Kgs. 13:32-33; 14:22-24; 15:14; 22:43; 2 Chr. 14:3; 15:16-17; 17:6; 20:33; 21:11).

Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Josiah tried to remove this pagan influence but the people rebuilt them (i.e., 2 Chr. 33:17,19).


30:15 "the priests and Levites were ashamed of themselves" It is not stated if their shame (BDB 483, KB 480, Niphal PERFECT) was related to

  1. their own idolatrous actions with the high places
  2. their inaction of not crying out against them

"consecrated themselves" See note at 2 Chr. 29:5.

30:16 "according to the law of Moses the man of God" This refers to the guidelines of the Pentateuch (cf. 2 Chr. 30:5, "as it was prescribed").

The title, "Moses the man of God," is used often to denote his special relationship to YHWH as leader and revealer (cf. Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6; 1 Sam. 2:27; 9:6-7; 1 Kgs. 9:6; 12:22; 13:1,20; 2 Kgs. 1:9-13; 5:8; 23:17; 2 Chr. 30:16; Ezra 3:2; Jer. 35:4).

The phrase is also used of Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, David, Shemiah, Hanani, and an unnamed person in 1 Sam. 2:27 and 1 Kgs. 13:1-3 (see NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 390, #9).


"the priests sprinkled the blood" The VERB (BDB 284, KB 283, Qal PARTICIPLE) is used in several rituals.

  1. the burnt offering ‒ Lev. 1:5,11; 8:19; 9:12; 2 Kgs. 16:15; Ezek. 43:18
  2. the peace offering ‒ Lev. 3:2,8,13; 9:18; 17:6; 2 Kgs. 16:13
  3. the sin offering ‒ Lev. 7:2,14; 2 Chr. 29:22


30:18-19 Here again, the "letter" of the law is modified for the inclusion of worshipers at Hezekiah's request. The Law is for mankind, not vice versa (cf. Matthew 12; Mark 7).

30:19 "everyone who prepares his heart to seek God" This will become the reality of the gospel message! The heart is the key (see note at 2 Chr. 7:14; John 4).

NASB, NKJV, NRSV  "with loud instruments"
TEV  "with all their strength"
NJB  "with all their might"
JPSOA  "with powerful instruments"
REB  "with unrestrained fervor"
LXX  "with instruments"
Peshitta  "singing songs of praise"

The UBS Text Project, p. 479, gives two suggestions.

  1. "with powerful instruments," which it gives a "B" rating (some doubt)
  2. with all their might (RSV, NEB)

The MT has "musical instruments" (BDB 479, #2, b., cf. 1 Chr. 15:16; 16:5,42; 23:5; 2 Chr. 5:13; 7:6; 23:13; 29:26-27; 34:12).

30:22 This is another example of the Chronicler's positive attitude toward Levites.

23Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the feast another seven days, so they celebrated the seven days with joy. 24For Hezekiah king of Judah had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the princes had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep; and a large number of priests consecrated themselves. 25All the assembly of Judah rejoiced, with the priests and the Levites and all the assembly that came from Israel, both the sojourners who came from the land of Israel and those living in Judah. 26So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. 27Then the Levitical priests arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard and their prayer came to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.

30:23 "another seven days" One wonders if this is a purposeful link to Solomon's two-week dedication of the temple in 2 Chr. 7:8-10.

30:25 Notice all the groups that rejoiced.

  1. all the assembly of Judah (2 Chr. 30:2)
  2. priests and Levites (i.e., tribe of Levi)
  3. all the assembly from the northern kingdom (v. 1)
  4. sojourners (cf. Num. 9:14)
    1. from Israel
    2. from Judah

30:26 The Chronicler longed for "the good old days" of the United Monarchy (i.e., 2 Chr. 7:8-10).

30:27 "Levitical priests" The RSV, NRSV, NEB, REB, following the LXX, have "priests and Levites." The UBS Text Project, p. 479, gives "Levitical priests" an "A" rating.


"blessed the people" This refers to Num. 6:23, called "the Aaronic blessing." There are several texts that mention a priestly blessing (cf. Deut. 33:8-11; 1 Sam. 2:20; 9:13; 1 Chr. 23:13). This "blessing" held great importance for faithful worshipers. It was a prayer to YHWH for His covenant presence, promises, and abundance (i.e., Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 27-30).

"His holy dwelling place, to heaven" This phrase could

  1. refer to YHWH's presence
  2. refer to where He symbolically dwelt between the wings of the cherubim over the ark of the covenant
  3. refer to the third heaven

It is possible this is also a literary echo of 2 Chr. 6:21,30,33,35 (the dedicatory prayer of Solomon).





This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. Why are "Israel" and "Ephraim and Manasseh" mentioned separately?
  2. How can Hezekiah invite people from the northern kingdom to come to Jerusalem?
  3. Explain the "if. . .then" nature of the Mosaic covenant.
  4. Where is YHWH's gracious character first delineated?
  5. How does 2 Chr. 30:12 affirm both divine sovereignty and human free will?
  6. Why do the Levites instead of the offerer kill the sacrificial animal in v. 17?
  7. Why did they extend the Passover to two weeks?

Home  |  Old Testament Studies  |  2 Chronicles Table of Contents  |  Previous Section   |  Next Section  |