1. Hezekiah sent messengers to all Judah and Israel (for he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh), inviting them to come to Yahweh's House in Jerusalem to celebrate a Passover in honor of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
2. The king and his officials and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to celebrate it in the second month,
3. being unable to celebrate it at the proper time, since the priests had not purified themselves in sufficient numbers, and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem.
4. The king and all the assembly were pleased with their plan.
5. They issued a decree to be proclaimed throughout Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, calling all the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate a Passover in honor of Yahweh, the God of Israel, for they had not celebrated it for a long time.
6. Messengers went out with letters from the hands of the king and his officials for every part of Israel and Judah. They had orders from the king to say, "People of Israel, come back to Yahweh the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Israel, and he will come back to those of you who are left and have escaped the grasp of the kings of Assyria.
7. Do not be like your fathers and brothers who were unfaithful to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, and whom he punished severely as you can see.
8. Do not harden your hearts as your ancestors did, but reconcile with Yahweh and come to his house which he has consecrated forever. Serve Yahweh your God and he will turn his fierce anger from you.
9. If you come back sincerely to Yahweh, your brothers and your sons will win the mercy of their conquerors and return to this land, for Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful. If you come back to him, he will not turn his face from you."
10. The messengers went from town to town through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, but the people laughed at them and made fun of them,
11. though a few men from Asher and Manasseh and Zebulun were humble enough to come to Jerusalem.
12. But in Judah, the hand of God was upon the people and made them of one mind to obey the order of the king and the officials according to the word of Yahweh.
13. A great number of people gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. A very great assembly
14. set to work removing the altars that had been used in Jerusalem and all the altars for burning incense, and throwing them into the wadi Kidron.
15. They killed the lambs for the passover sacrifice on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites felt ashamed; so they sanctified themselves and were able to bring burnt offerings into Yahweh's House.
16. Then they took up their places in the House according to the instructions in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The priests poured out the blood handed to them by the Levites,
17. since there were many people in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; so the Levites were to slaughter the Passover lambs on behalf of those who lacked the requisite purity in order to consecrate them to Yahweh.
18. For many people, especially from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves and so had eaten the Passover without observing the regulations. But Hezekiah interceded for them, saying,
19. "Yahweh, God of our ancestors, in your goodness forgive those who seek you with all their heart, even though they are not clean."
20. Yahweh heard Hezekiah and left the people unharmed.
21. For seven days the Israelites rejoiced and celebrated in Jerusalem the feast of Unleavened Bread, while each day the Levites and the priests praised Yahweh with all their might.
22. At the end Hezekiah encouraged the Levites who had shown themselves skilled in the worship of Yahweh.
23. Then all the assembly agreed to continue the celebrations for a further seven days which they made seven days of rejoicing.
24. Hezekiah king of Judah had provided a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep for the assembly, and the officials another thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep, and now the priests were ready in great numbers.
25. So the whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, the priests too, and the Levites, and all who had come from Israel, the refugees of Israel living in Judah and the people of Judah.
26. There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon son of David, king of Israel, nothing like this had happened in Jerusalem.
27. The levitical priests began to bless the people. Their voices were heard and their prayer received in heaven, His holy dwelling place.