Hezekiah and the Restoration (2 Chronicles 30:23-31:21)
23Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the feast another seven days, and they kept it another seven days with gladness. 24For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep, and the leaders gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. 25The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. 26So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard; and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.
31:1Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke the sacred pillars in pieces, cut down the wooden images, and threw down the high places and the altars—from all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh—until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned to their own cities, every man to his possession.
2And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites according to their divisions, each man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and peace offerings, to serve, to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord. 3The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the Lord. 4Moreover he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support for the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the Law of the Lord.
5As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. 6And the children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in the cities of Judah, brought the tithe of oxen and sheep; also the tithe of holy things which were consecrated to the Lord their God they laid in heaps.
7In the third month they began laying them in heaps, and they finished in the seventh month. 8And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and His people Israel. 9Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. 10And Azariah the chief priest, from 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 plenty left, for the Lord has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance.”
11Now Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them. 12Then they faithfully brought in the offerings, the tithes, and the dedicated things; Cononiah the Levite had charge of them, and Shimei his brother was the next. 13Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, 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. 14Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the East Gate, was over the freewill offerings to God, to distribute the offerings of the Lord and the most holy things. 15And under him were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, his faithful assistants in the cities of the priests, to distribute allotments to their brethren by divisions, to the great as well as the small. 16Besides those males from three years old and up who were written in the genealogy, they distributed to everyone who entered the house of the Lord his daily portion for the work of his service, by his division, 17and to the priests who were written in the genealogy according to their father’s house, and to the Levites from twenty years old and up according to their work, by their divisions, 18and to all who were written in the genealogy—their little ones and their wives, their sons and daughters, the whole company of them—for in their faithfulness they sanctified themselves in holiness. 19Also for the sons of Aaron the priests, who were in the fields of the common-lands of their cities, in every single city, there were men who were designated by name to distribute portions to all the males among the priests and to all who were listed by genealogies among the Levites.
20Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. 21And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.
The people were encouraged to keep the feast going; the King made a large donation (of goods he had received as taxes from the people, as previously warned by God), and the priests and Levites made an even larger donation. The people rejoiced, partied, then broke down the idols (they had been worshiping or at least allowing others to worship), then went home. The priestly duties, which had ceased, were restored.
The people were commanded to obey the law of the tithe (“as written in the Law of the Lord”) in order to support the priesthood; their response was so great that it took 4 months for it to be brought (from all over the nation). The needs of the priests were more than met; storerooms in the House of the Lord were prepared to store the remainder, with overseers appointed to disperse the goods as necessary. All these had been neglected, bringing God’s judgment upon Israel until they realized the error of their ways.
The Law of Moses is summarized in verses 20-21. Because Hezekiah did what was right, God prospered him.
This was the best they could hope for; a surface relationship with a God who provided for their physical needs, peace, etc. as long as they did what He told them to do. The Israelites had to fulfill their part BEFORE God would fulfill His part.
This was the essence of the Law, which was fulfilled by Jesus Christ, in that He fulfilled “our part” permanently and in its entirety, so that God is now free to pour out His salvation, giving us a NEW heart that is able to be His dwelling place, where we can commune with Him personally and continually, having been born after His Spirit.
God never intended the Law to be the defining of His relationship with His people; its purpose was to reveal that there was nothing we could do to BRING OURSELVES into relationship with Him. It was something ONLY HE, AND HE ALONE, COULD DO.
With the Resurrection, Jesus concluded both parts of the covenant: He did our part and the Father’s, once and for all, permanently.