II Chronicles – Chapter 29

Cohen’s Cleaning Service

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Chizkiyahu (Hezekiah) was a righteous king, hearkening back to the likes of David and Solomon. One of his first acts was to reopen the Temple and to repair the gates. He had the kohanim and Leviim repair the Temple and remove the vestiges of idolatry. Earlier kings had disrupted the Temple service, which led to G-d allowing Judah’s enemies to dominate them. Therefore, Chizkiyahu said he would return things to their proper state so that G-d will no longer be disgusted with them. He urged his crew to take this job very seriously.

The priests and Levites purified themselves and reported for duty. The kohanim worked in the Sanctuary, since only they were permitted to enter it, removing the idols for the Leviim to dispose of. Cleaning the Temple of idols took eight days. They reported to Chizkiyahu when they had finished and he led them to the Temple to offer sacrifices. The kohanim officiated and the Levites assumed their musical duties. They played and sang the Psalms composed by David throughout the sacrifices. When they had finished with their offerings, they all bowed down to G-d.

Chizkiyahu declared the Temple re-opened for business and the people resumed bringing sacrifices, which they did in great number. The kohanim couldn’t handle all the offerings, so the Leviim had to assist until more kohanim had been purified and were available to work. Chizkiyahu and the people rejoiced to have the Temple back in business and it was a sign of G-d’s assistance that they were able to accomplish the job in record time.

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