Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
2 Chronicles 29:3-31:21
Questions & Observations
Q. (2 Chronicles 29:18-36): God has told the Israelites that burnt offerings were no longer important to Him, so why are they offering so much?
A. God had no desire for the offerings if they were not offered in the correct way for the right reasons. The larger point of the passages was not that God no longer desired offerings, but that the people were using the offerings as a license to sin. God desired them to be just, loving, generous, and fair, but the people were corrupt and miserly. God desired their hearts, but all He was getting was their offerings.
Q. (30:1): Any idea why Ephraim and Manasseh were singled out to write letters to?
A. Yes, they were the two largest areas of the Northern Kingdom (those were Joseph’s sons who were incorporated into the land sharing back in Genesis/Joshua). It is also possible that the writer means the area of Manasseh on the east side of the Jordan river, which would mean that they covered “both” sides of Israel’s territory, on both sides of the river.
Q. (30:15): Are the priests shamed because they were sacrificing the Passover lamb later than the law instructed?
A. Yes, probably because they were the reason it was “late.” As the story pointed out, the lack of purified priests were the reason that it could not go on at the prescribed time. But God still used them in a powerful way. A great “mini” story of redemption.
Q. (30:17-20): Several questions here. How do the priests get purified? I am sure we talked about this long ago, but it’s a good refresher question. And, why did they get purified? Hezekiah was working hard to restore the people to God, but He did do a couple things that broke God’s law — the ceremonies were late and he allowed unpurified people partake in the Passover meal. I wonder if this angered God? But, we see in v. 20 that the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer to pardon the unpurified.
A. The process of purification involved washing with water and putting on the priestly garments, as laid out in Leviticus 8-9 (our readings Days 49 and 50). The purification ritual was to ensure that they were seen as holy — set apart — for their specific role in the service to God. Hezekiah seems to have considered that, basically, the situation was all wrong as you pointed out: the people were unclean, and the time was wrong. But, as you point out, God, in His great mercy and grace, overlooked these problems and accepted their offerings. As I mentioned in the first question, it was ultimately not the offerings that God was looking for, it was the heart of His people. When the people came with open hearts and a willingness to be humble before God, and He knew their hearts were in it because of Hezekiah’s example, that I suspect is the reason He accepted their offerings.