Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Defiled, Law-Breaking Passover (That Pleased God)

An incredible event occurs in the Chronicler's history of Israel in which the people return to Yahweh with their whole hearts after having turned away from him for so long and treated him with contempt. They throw down the altars and cleanse their city of idolatry and evil. In order to show that they have come back to their god, the people determine to re-instigate the ceremony of Passover commanded in Torah, which had not been kept in a long time. Unfortunately, they are unable to keep it on the day (or its alternate) commanded by Law. Additionally, they are forced to break other portions of the Law related to cleanliness and purification. Great multitudes--including four of the twelve tribes--take the Passover defiled in disobedience to the direct commandments of God.

Despite doing the rituals of Law defiled and unclean and on a day forbidden to its practice, because of her heart, Yahweh forgives Israel, returns to her, and blesses her. Instead of celebrating for one week, the people extend Passover for two and it becomes one of the greatest Passovers in Israel's history.
"Because many in the assembly had not consecrated themselves, the Levites slaughtered the Passover lambs of all who were ceremonially unclean and could not consecrate their sacrifice to the Lord. The majority of many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun were ceremonially unclean, yet they ate the Passover in violation of what is prescribed in the law. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: May the Lord, who is good, forgive everyone who has determined to follow God, the Lord God of his ancestors, even if he is not ceremonially clean according to the standards of the temple. The Lord responded favorably to Hezekiah and forgave the people....The entire assembly then decided to celebrate for seven more days; so they joyfully celebrated for seven more days....There was a great celebration in Jerusalem, unlike anything that had occurred in Jerusalem since the time of King Solomon son of David of Israel. The priests and Levites got up and pronounced blessings on the people. The Lord responded favorably to them as their prayers reached his holy dwelling place in heaven."
--2 Chronicles 30:17-20, 23, 26-27, NET


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