II Chronicles – Chapter 31

Priestly Surplus

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

After all this rejoicing in G-d, the people went out through the land and dismantled all the altars and other idolatrous things in Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim and Menashe. The people returned to their own cities, while the kohanim and Leviim returned to their usual duties. Chizkiyahu personally saw to the expense of the communal offerings, but he instructed the people to be sure to bring their tithes to the priests and Levites in the Temple. The people brought their tithes, first fruits, and other portions in abundance. It really piled up.

When the king visited the Temple, he saw the accumulated portions and asked the kohanim about it. They replied that they had taken their portions and eaten their fill – what Chizkiyahu saw was the great surplus. Chizkiyahu ordered store rooms set aside to keep the overage. Also, administrators were appointed to distribute the portions of sacrifices appropriately.

Record keepers also tracked which families of priests and Levites worked when and who belonged to each family. They were responsible for assigning Levites their duties when they turned 20. They also kept records of the wives and children of all these families in order to see who was eligible to eat from the various portions. Every city had someone assigned to deliver the appropriate portions to the local kohanim and Leviim.

G-d was pleased with Chizkiyahu, who served Him wholeheartedly and sought Him out in everything he did.

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