1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.

Stirred up to a high pitch of zeal, all the assembled congregation dispersed throughout all the land, both Judah and Israel, and destroyed all the images and groves and high places,

"until they had utterly destroyed them all."

This would of course be under the guidance and inspiration of Hezekiah, and in Kings briefly it is said that he is the one that did this, or caused it to be done. He took advantage of this period of zeal to cleanse the land completely.

Quite often zeal for destruction does not always mean zeal for subsequent reconstruction, for the flesh enjoys destroying things. It regards it as righteous zeal. But very often, it goes no further than the destruction of the fault.

It takes a lot more determination and patience to build the Truth, and we find that, unfortunately, this did not happen here. We are reminded of Jehu,

"Come and see my zeal for the LORD."

Very effective in destroying the wicked predecessors, but no better himself.

Bro Growcott - Hezekiah

4 Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of Yahweh.

The portion of the priests and the Levites

But Hezekiah understood that the new-found zeal of the people would not be sustained unless the Truth was re-established on a positive foundation. The nation needed the stability of strong spiritual routines, and his chief priority was to reinstate the service of the house, which had been completely abandoned in the reign of Ahaz.

Indispensable to that service were the priests and Levites, who were re confirmed in their roles, as the king restored the system of courses and the cycle of their weekly rotation. The priests would attend to the offerings, the Levites would stand to minister, to give thanks and to offer praise. 27 But of all the Levites, it was the House of Asaph who would lead the latter, as this was their special role from the time of David. 28

Nor was there any doubt that they were to succeed again to their ancient office, for Hezekiah's next action was to pledge, of his own royal substance, the evening and morning lambs for the daily service of the tamiyd, at which the House of Asaph sang. 29

Determined to ensure that those who gave thanks and offered praise were heard once more in their daily song, he made this his first concern. With this daily activity recommenced, the work within the "gates of the tents of the LORD" was again set in motion, but when the king also provided the sacrifices for the sabbaths, the new moons and the set feasts, the service of the house of God was fully reinstated.

There was one more thing essential to its maintenance. Hezekiah asked the people to recommence the tithes required under the law, which had been set aside. These provisions sustained both priest and Levite so that they could attend to the things of the sanctuary without distraction, and his own example of giving was the inspiration for the nation to follow. 30

The king's request was met with a response as enthusiastic as his own. Nor were the tithes brought from Judah only, for many parts of the northern kingdom, stirred by the king's reforming zeal, and yearning to contribute to the work, brought their offerings in abundance. Yahweh blessed His people with an exceptional harvest, and, as a result, the tithes were piled so high at the sanctuary that the priests had more than they could possibly need.

Hezekiah gave instructions for storehouses to be prepared in the temple chambers, 31 and for wise administrators who were entrusted with the care and distribution of the stores, 32 according to the needs of every family by their courses.

How typical this all was of Hezekiah's spirit! Every work he began in the service of the house of God prospered, because he did everything with excellence, and because he attended to every detail. Such results do not occur by accident. They are always the result of careful planning and diligent execution. As a result, the House of Asaph, could return to their appointed work in singing before the ark, sustained by the "portion for the singers" which the king had wisely provided for.

At the centre of this reformation lay the work of this family, whose spirit chimed so perfectly with the king's that they were instantly ready to support his work and fulfil his requests. But those who sang before Hezekiah were not the members of the choir who had sung before Jehoiada at the coronation of Joash. Every singer from that day was long since dead, for not only had an epoch of spiritual danger passed between the two events, but more than one hundred and twenty years had elapsed.

The singers of the House of Asaph who offered their song when Hezekiah made request were the great-great-great grandsons of those who sang for Jehoiada. But, ready as always to stand behind the blessing of good leadership, the House of Asaph enjoyed a period of spiritual vitality under the hands of good King Hezekiah of Judah.

Under his guidance, and with their help, the service of the house of God prospered again. How astonishing to think of a family so faithful that even this span of time had not dimmed their zeal, nor caused them to forget their psalms! Theirs was an example that few, if any, could emulate.

27 2 Chronicles 31:2.

28 Note the careful use of the same key words: "minister", "thanks", "praise" (1 Chronicles 16:4,5).

29 The song of praise was yet again associated with the burnt offering of the evening and morning lamb (2 Chronicles 31:2-4). This song of the tamiyd, especially, was directly linked to the House of Asaph (1 Chronicles 16:37); see also page 70.

30 2 Chronicles 31:3.

31 2 Chronicles 31:11.

32 In fact, there were twelve men to oversee the storehouses, all of who came under the direct control of Hezekiah the king and the Azariah the High Priest 2 Chronicles 31:12,13), and seven men to arrange for equitable distributions, based on the genealogy of every priestly and Levitical family (verses 14-19).

Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph