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2Ch 30:1 Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to Yahweh, the God of Israel-
I suggested on 2 Chron. 29:17,18 that in fact Hezekiah did keep a kind of Passover on the 14th day of the first month, but majorly modified. The weight of sin hanging over everything needed to be dealt with before they could all rejoice in remembering God's great deliverance of them from pagan Egypt. We note Hezekiah's vision of uniting Judah and Israel in this Passover. He had no fear of guilt by association or contamination by communion. For the ten tribes were deeply apostate, and had influenced Judah into apostacy. He makes no attempt to apply some test of doctrinal or practical purity, but simply offered an open table welcome. And those who accepted it showed thereby their basic commitment to what the Passover represented. And that is the basis upon which I advocate an open table at the Lord's supper. Acceptance of the invitation to partake is the only requirement.


2Ch 30:2 For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the assembly in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month-
"The assembly in Jerusalem" presumably refers to the group in 2 Chron. 29 who had assembled at the time of the Passover in the first month. Numbers 9 allowed for those who were distant or travelling to keep the Passover a month later. But that legislation doesn't cover the eventuality here- that the priests were unclean. Likewise in 2 Chron. 30:18, "yet they ate the Passover otherwise than it is written". So we see how God's laws were not seen as a leash, as a letter that had to be literalistically obeyed. By contrast, contemporary Hittite laws condemned any failure to keep a festival on its specified day. The law of Moses is hereby shown to be open to interpretation and obedience according to spirit and not letter. Perhaps it was this perception of Divine flexibility that led Hezekiah to reason with God to change His plan that Hezekiah should die.


2Ch 30:3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves in sufficient number, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem-
The implication of 2 Chron. 29:34 is that "the priests were too few" in that too few of them had sanctified themselves, whereas the servant Levites had more amongst them who had sanctified themselves. The priesthood had been used by Ahaz to combine the worship of Yahweh with that of idols, and so they perhaps didn't immediately change to a sole commitment to Yahweh. It was not the constraint of either time nor numbers which meant they were not of "sufficient number". See on :15.  

The context is the cleansing of the temple recorded in the previous chapter: "The priests went in to the inner part of the house of Yahweh to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in Yahweh’s temple into the court of the house of Yahweh. The Levites took it, to carry it out abroad to the brook Kidron. Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of Yahweh. They sanctified the house of Yahweh in eight days, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end. Then they went in to Hezekiah the king within the palace and said, We have cleansed all the house of Yahweh, and the altar of burnt offering, with all its vessels, and the table of showbread, with all its vessels" (2 Chron. 29:16-18). Passover was on the 14th day of the first month, but the sanctification process continued until the 16th day. They missed it by two days, as it were. Hezekiah must have been urging them on to get the job done, but it seems there were too few priests and Levites willing to work in clearing out the idols. Hezekiah had various possibilities before him. He could have just kept the Passover in homes, or on an altar made of earth. The fact he didn't rather indicates that he over valued the temple building. There was nothing in the original Passover legislation that required the Passover to be kept in the temple. Rather the intention was that each family should sacrifice it. But rather as many prefer a Cathedral to a house church, so Hezekiah veered the way of religion. Had he not done so, all the angst about the temple being unclean would have been unnecessary.

Or Hezekiah could have just changed the day. But instead he chose, in line with Num. 9, to keep the Passover still on the 14th, but, in the second month. Time and again  in the account of his Passover, the letter of the law was not kept and Hezekiah felt confident enough of his relationship with Yahweh to ammend things and to believe that God was open to dialogue. This came to full term 14 years later when he felt able to reason with God about his terminal illness- and God changed His plan. We too are led through such steps of experience to intimacy with God.


2Ch 30:4 The thing was right in the eyes of the king and of all the assembly-
This "assembly" may refer to the assembled elders, but likely it specifically refers to the group in 2 Chron. 29 who had assembled at the time of the Passover in the first month. I suggested on :3 that God's way of keeping Passover was not the way that Hezekiah was going about things. He was obsessed with his plan for a very "religious", central point obedience to commandments intended to be obeyed by individual families. Perhaps this is the implication behind the statement that he did what seemed right to him and to the people- not necessarily what was right in God's eyes. 


2Ch 30:5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to Yahweh, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem; for they had not kept it in great numbers in the manner that is written-
Israel's general lack of obedience to the Mosaic law is quite stunning. This verse seems to imply that they had never actually kept the Passover "in great numbers", neither "in the manner that is written". And yet God still fellowshipped with them and sought their reformation. To disfellowship people for "long continued absence from the Lord's table" was obviously not something God practiced nor approved of. He remained actively seeking relationship with Israel


2Ch 30:6 So the couriers went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king saying, You children of Israel, turn again to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may return to the remnant that have escaped of you out of the hand of the kings of Assyria-
This implies that the majority had gone into captivity. The "remnant" were intended to become the spiritual remnant through whom the Kingdom could be reestablished on earth. "Return" is the word for "repent". Their repentance, or returning, would lead to God's returning to them. Again we note that Hezekiah had no parochial interest in merely reforming Judah, but his vision was of a reunited people of God, unified through the common experience of repentance and forgiveness. And in practice, that is the only true basis for unity amongst God's people, rather than any written statement of theological propositions and positions. 


2Ch 30:7 Don’t be like your fathers, and like your brothers, who trespassed against Yahweh, the God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to destruction, as you see-
It was critical in their culture to defend the tradition of the male relatives, fathers and brothers. To break with them was some kind of social suicide. But the call to repentance demanded just that from them, as it does today. The phrase 'given up to destruction' has just been used about Judah specifically (2 Chron. 29:8). And this is what God would finally do to Judah (s.w. Jer. 25:18; 29:18). The exiles for whom Chronicles was written were intended to realize that the tragedy which had happened to them had been so avoidable. 

2Ch 30:8 Now don’t be stiff-necked, as your fathers were-
Hebrew thought and language tends not to use abstract terms but rather uses language which alludes to physical body parts- e.g. 'look' becomes 'to lift up the eyes' (Gen. 22:4), anger is 'to burn in the nostrils' (Ex. 4:14), to reveal something is to 'unstop someone's ears' (Ruth 4:4), to be without compassion is to be 'hard hearted' (1 Sam. 6:6), stubbornness is to be 'stiff necked' (2 Chron. 30:8), to prepare oneself is to 'gird up the loins' (Jer. 1:17), to determine to go somewhere is 'to set one's face' (Jer. 42:15; Lk. 9:51).

But yield yourselves to Yahweh, and enter into His sanctuary which He has sanctified forever-
"Yield yourselves" is literally 'give your hand to'. And the same phrase is used in :12 of how God's hand gave them a heart to obey His commandments. This was in response to their giving their hands to Him.  

Serve Yahweh your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you-
Ps. 78:38 seems to suggest God Himself controlled His anger, Himself turning that anger away, rather than being like a pagan deity whose anger was appeased by blood sacrifice: "He, being merciful, forgave iniquity, and didn’t destroy them. Yes, many times He turned His anger away, and didn’t stir up all His wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes away, and doesn’t come again". His turning away of His anger isn't solely because of His people turning to Him. He wishes for that. But at times He turns away legitimate wrath in the hope His people therefore might turn to Him: "You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah. You have taken away all Your wrath, You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger. Turn us, God of our salvation" (Ps. 85:2-4).

God turned from His anger due to Moses' intercession (Ex. 32:12 s.w.), but this is not to say that He cannot in any case turn away His anger, simply by His grace. Just as we may control our anger from within ourselves, or at other times we may do this because of the appeal of another to us, or because there is repentance from the one who provoked us. And there were times when this was the case with God (s.w. Num. 25:4; Josh. 7:26; 2 Chron. 12:12; 29:10; 30:8).

 
2Ch 30:9 For if you turn again to Yahweh, your brothers and your children shall find compassion before those who led them captive, and shall come again into this land: for Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you if you return to Him-
The majority of the ten tribes had not gone into formal captivity at this point, but many had already been taken. The predicted destruction of Samaria by Assyria could have been averted  had the Passover been kept properly by the ten tribes at this point. Will some be in the Kingdom only due to the efforts of a third party? The husband can save his wife… Noah saved his family. The spirituality of those in the land could affect the fate of the others in captivity (2 Chron. 30:9- and these words are applied to us in James 4:8). Indeed, if Judah had turned back to the Lord fully, then the 10 tribes who about 10 years previously had been taken into captivity in Assyria, they would have found “compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land” (2 Chron. 30:9). But they became ‘the lost 10 tribes’ because Judah didn’t respond as fully to Hezekiah’s reformation as they should have done.

The exiles particularly were shown "pity" by the powers of their day, allowing them to return to Zion and rebuild it (s.w. Neh. 1:11 "mercy"). This "pity" or "mercy before them that lead you captive" was specifically predicated upon their repentance (s.w. 2 Chron. 30:9). But they didn't repent; and yet they were shown this mercy / pity. That was the grace of it all. This "pity" was the pity of God who would according to that pity / mercy regather them (s.w. Is. 54:7; Zech. 1:16). He showed them that pity despite their impenitence; and yet most of them preferred to spurn it by remaining in exile.


2Ch 30:10 So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even to Zebulun; but there they were ridiculed and despised-
The Lord uses this idea in His parable of the vineyard, where God's servants the prophets are ridiculed when they come asking for fruit from the vineyard (Mt. 21:34-36). Zebulun was now effectively the northern border because north of there had been desolated by the Assyrians.


2Ch 30:11 Nevertheless certain men of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem-
These "certain men" are the "many" of :18. Perhaps the idea is that only a few came, relative to the population invited. But they were "many" to God. It's the same paradox with the path and gate to eternity being found by "few", with "many" not finding it; and yet those "few" are as many as the stars of the sky, such is the wonder of salvation.


2Ch 30:12 Also on Judah came the hand of God to give them one heart, to do the commandment of the king and of the princes by the word of Yahweh-
"Yield yourselves" in :8 is literally 'give your hand to'. And the same phrase is used here of how God's hand gave them a heart to obey His commandments. This was in response to their giving their hands to Him. This experience of an acceptive mutuality between God and man is surely at the very core of our spirituality; it should be part of an inner spiritual shell that nothing, nothing can shake: aggression from our brethren, disillusion with other Christians, persecution from the world, painful personal relationships... Israel were to give their hand to God, and His hand in turn would give them a heart to follow Him further.

Those who turn from Him and put His word into second place in their lives are confirmed in this, until they are progressively caught up in a downward spiral of declension. On the other hand, those who try to be lead by God's word are progressively lead ever higher in an upward spiral of spirituality, whereby God eases the way to obedience, shields them from temptation, and opens their minds to the Truth of His word (e.g. 2 Chron. 30:12; Ps. 119:173; Prov. 16:3; 2 Thess. 2:17).

Hezekiah's insistence that the Passover must be slain by ritually clean Levites in the temple was not according to God's law. But He accepted Hezekiah's project of a Passover kept by all Israel and thus it became His word. We see how open God is to working with men, even if they go off at a religious tangent and become obsessed with their own project. We are left with impression that He is eager to work with the few who want to do something for Him. Even if is His Plan D.  


2Ch 30:13 Many people assembled at Jerusalem to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great assembly-
As discussed on :13,18, they were "many" compared to the wonder of what they were doing. But "few" relative to the overall population.


2Ch 30:14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron-
The large mass of people (:13) inspired each other to further purge the results of Ahaz's apostacy. The temple had been cleansed, but the crowd now purged the city of Jerusalem of the altars which were apparently everywhere. And yet we have to note that this was done under the influence of a group psychology, for it was only once the great crowd formed to keep the Passover that this was done. And relatively soon afterwards, the people of Jerusalem were to return to their idolatry. For true spiritual reformation must be in individual hearts, and not the result of a group psychology. This may have inspired Josiah, who likewise destroyed idolatry in the Kidron and then called for the Passover to be celebrated.


2Ch 30:15 Then they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought burnt offerings into the house of Yahweh-
The implication of 2 Chron. 29:34 is that "the priests were too few" in that too few of them had sanctified themselves. See on :3. We wonder why they were only now ashamed and sanctified themselves, whereas a month previously they had not done so. I suggest it was the presence of the large crowd of people who had come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover (:13,14) which made them ashamed that they could not help them because they were not cleansed. And so it was the presence of the crowd of apparently zealous worshippers who shamed them into sanctifying themselves. I read it this way because we know that very soon, both priesthood and people were to return to idolatry. And so I see in this revival and reformation a large element of group psychology, getting caught up in the spirit of the crowd, rather than on an individual level, heart by heart, each person repenting and remaining changed.


2Ch 30:16 They stood in their place after their order, according to the law of Moses the man of God, and the priests sprinkled the blood which they received of the hand of the Levites-
The sprinkling of blood at Passover was upon the door posts, and was a reminder of their salvation from death at the exodus. It was each family group who were to do this, not priests. The law never required that. But the ritual was modified here, just as the date of Passover had been modified. The blood was sprinkled upon the people to symbolize their cleansing.

2Ch 30:17 There were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves: therefore the Levites were in charge of killing the Passovers for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to Yahweh-
The unclean nature of the people may be a reference to their not having observed the commands about avoiding leaven or contact with unclean things (Num. 9:6). They perhaps were ignorant of the Passover regulations. Or the uncleanness may refer to idolatry; hence the note that they were now to be sanctified "to Yahweh". And so they were cleansed by the sprinkling of blood in :16. This looked forward to how the blood of Christ saves from both wilful and ignorant disobedience to the letter of the law. 

There is no commandment that a man must be ritually clean to keep the Passover. But the people assumed this were the case, and so they wanted Levites to keep the Passover for them. Num. 9:10,11 seems to see uncleannsess as a barrier to eating the Passover only if there had been contact with a dead body: "Say to the children of Israel, ‘If any man of you or of your generations is unclean by reason of a dead body, or is on a journey far away, he shall still keep the Passover to Yahweh. In the second month, on the fourteenth day at evening they shall keep it". Yet Hezekiah appears to have extrapolated from this to consider any contact with idols as making unclean, even though he had declared the bronze serpent idol merely Nehushtan, a piece of brass. On one level he got it, but then his religiosity took over and he ended up burdening the people and the Levites with a sense of guilt for uncleanness which they need not have taken.


Although it was God's original intention that each family leader sanctified themselves and slew the Passover lamb personally, they came to delegate this to their priests (so 2 Chron. 30:17 implies). Israel totally failed to live up to God's desire that they should be a Kingdom of priests. They left it all to their priests. They didn't teach every man his neighbour and his brother, saying, Know the Lord (Heb. 8:11; even though when He re-accepts them, God will count them as if they did). Had Hezekiah kept the spirit of the Passover, without such insistence upon the Levites and priests killing it, and doing so in the temple rather than at home, then all the angst over priests being ritually unclean would not have arisen. The original Passover legislation said nothing about the need for ritual cleanliness when eating it. Nor were Levites required to kill the lambs. And yet despite burdening himself with all this religiosity and legalism, Hezekiah still comes over as a man of integrity who did his best to live rightly before God despite those self imposed burdens. And we see this in so many "religious" people who are all the same believers.  


2Ch 30:18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun-
They were many compared to the wonder of God's acceptance of them, but relatively few in another sense; see on :11.

Had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than it is written. For Hezekiah had prayed for them saying, May the good Yahweh pardon everyone-
See on :17. Their being unclean may not only refer to a lack of obedience to the commands about yeast, but to the uncleanness of the immediate context at this time- which was idolatry. The people who attended would have been idolaters as well as worshippers of Yahweh. Hezekiah obtained forgiveness and acceptance for those who kept the Passover “otherwise than it was written”- thanks to his prayer. The spirituality of third parties can save people who wish to be saved, within invisible limits (Mk. 2:5; James 5:15). All Israel had to repent to avert total destruction- but even though they didn’t, the prayer of Hezekiah saved the nation (Jer. 26:13,19). And later, all of Jerusalem would have been forgiven if there was even one that truly executed judgment, after the pattern of Phinehas (Jer. 5:1- or is this a reference to Messiah?).

"The good Yahweh" may be better rendered "The Lord pardon the good" (as in 2 Chron. 19:11), and this then leads on smoothly in thought to the next verse which defines 'goodness'.


2Ch 30:19 who sets his heart to seek God, Yahweh, the God of his fathers, even if they aren’t clean according to the purification of the sanctuary-
The 'goodness' of :18 (Heb. "Yahweh pardon the good") is defined as a matter of having a heart set upon God. And the state of the heart trumped ritual, legalistic purity. Seeking God, wanting to get to Him, is seen as the critical thing. And the Sermon on the Mount likewise pronounces blessedness upon those who hunger after righteousness, who weep for their sins... those who haven't made it, but want to. 


2Ch 30:20 Yahweh listened to Hezekiah, and healed the people-
The reference may be to the threat of destruction, perhaps by plague, for those who defiled the sanctuary by their uncleanness (Lev. 15:31 "so they will not die in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is in their midst’"). But all this could have been avoided if Hezekiah had quit his religiosity and allowed the people to keep the Passover at home, well away from the temple. For there was no Mosaic requirement to eat Passover at the sanctuary. The people were laded with false guilt by Hezekiah's desire to go the way of religion rather than personal spirituality; and this happens so often. Hezekiah was not wrong to want to have a collective Passover in one place, but there again we see him considering God's law open to human negotiation. And this stood him in good stead when 14 years later he asked for his sentence of death to be lifted or delayed, and God responded. As discussed on :18, the prayer and spirituality of one person can affect outcomes for others. This is a huge inspiration to continue earnestly in prayer, knowing that prayer makes a real difference for those prayed for. The language of healing could imply that plague began to break out. Although so much had been done within the spirit of the law, the danger was that there would be the impression given that God was simply not serious about His law. And so perhaps plague did begin, but was halted by Hezekiah's prayer. See on :27. An alternative is to understand 'healing' as simply meaning forgiveness as in Jer. 3:22 ["I will heal your backsliding"], Hos. 14:4 ["I will heal their waywardness"], Ps. 41:4 ["Yahweh, have mercy on me! Heal me, for I have sinned against You"]. Because there was no plague threatened for keeping the Passover unclean, so it is hard to understand 'healing' as referring to physical plague being healed. In which case, we have an example of prayer resulting in the sin of third parties being forgiven as in Mk. 2:5.

Hezekiah here prayed for those who kept the Passover whilst unclean, and they were "healed" according to his prayer (2 Chron. 30:20 "Yahweh listened to Hezekiah, and healed the people"). Hezekiah is later "healed" (s.w. 2 Kings 20:5,8) but he never requests that healing. We wonder why he doesn't specifically request his own healing? Perhaps he was too depressed. Or just willing to accept God's will. Or perhaps it was that the peoples' plague was due to infringement of Divine law, whereas he wrongly felt he had not sinned. He therefore felt he didn't deserve his death, and pleads with God to remember his spotless life. Something is clearly wrong here in his thinking, as it is in the thinking of all who consider death to be somehow unfair. 


2Ch 30:21 The children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised Yahweh day by day, singing with loud instruments to Yahweh-
We note how the Levites [servants of the priests] are mentioned before the priests. This may be because they were more truly committed to Yahweh (see on 2 Chron. 29:34), or to show that in God's service, all are equal and the servant is as significant as his master.


2Ch 30:22 Hezekiah spoke to the heart of all the Levites who had good understanding in the service of Yahweh. So they ate throughout the feast for the seven days, offering sacrifices of peace offerings, and making confession to Yahweh, the God of their fathers-
We note the continued emphasis upon the work of the Levites, rather than the priests. It could be that many priests were still not willing to separate from their old roles of being priests to the idols as well as Yahweh (see on 2 Chron. 29:34). The mention of peace offerings shows how again the original Passover feast was being expanded, showing how Hezekiah perceived the openness of God.


2Ch 30:23 The whole assembly took counsel to keep another seven days; and they kept another seven days with gladness-
This is of course commendable, but given how soon the people reverted to idolatry, we have to consider that there was a large factor of group psychology in all this. We are wired as social creatures, taking energy and direction from each other, and therefore like sheep going astray; and also being led to better ways if that is where the group is headed. So we get the sense here that they were on a huge roll, and were feeding off each other. Again we see how spirit triumphs over the letter of the law. The joy from knowing that they as unclean people had been accepted... led them to go beyond the letter of the law and go further. Truly Divine law is not a chain, but rather a springboard to independent freewill service of God. The whole of Hezekiah's Passover could be described as a "rush". It was forced through quickly, the people from the ten tribes were invited last minute, requiring them to quit what they were doing and come immediately. And then the decision to keep another seven days was made on the cusp of the moment. Such enthusiasm to serve Yahweh is presented here as commendable, and contrasts with the caution of conservative approaches- which would've said "Let's plan to do this next year...".


2Ch 30:24 For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly for offerings one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the assembly a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep-
These huge numbers of sacrifices seem intended to imitate Solomon's dedication of the temple. But this was not a good example to follow. For God did not want rivers of blood and thousands of sacrifices, but rather, broken and contrite hearts. There were no bulls offered as part of the Passover, and yet 2000 were now offered. It all seems to have tended towards the pole of religious mania rather than spirituality. And again we note that offering bulls was not required for the Passover ritual.

And a great number of priests sanctified themselves-
As noted on :3,15, the priests were slow to sanctify themselves, to dedicate themselves slowly to Yahweh; although their servants the Levites were quicker to do so. It seems that now we have another group of priests who did this, swept along in the group psychology of the situation. But that is not to say that their sanctification to Yahweh alone was insincere or unacceptable. For this phrase is quoted in Acts 6:7 "a great number of priests were obedient to the faith" in Christ. They too were likely caught up in  group psychology, as are Sunday School students and others when they accept baptism as a group, seeing their friends and relations all doing it. But this doesn't make their conversion of itself invalid. But it is the long run which decides who is sincere, and that was to be the case with this fervour for Yahweh which was progressively engulfing the priests at this time.

Is. 10:9-11 speaks specifically of Rabshakeh's taunts: "Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus? As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?". It is clear that Hezekiah's reforms and the idol smashing of 2 Chron. 30, 14 years earlier, were all of a surface level. The Jerusalem under siege by Assyria in Hezekiah's time was full of idols. And Is. 2 lamented that the land of Judah was "full of idols".


2Ch 30:25 All the assembly of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the assembly who came out of Israel, and the foreigners who came out of the land of Israel, and who lived in Judah, rejoiced-
"Foreigners" could refer to Gentiles. The fact they are mentioned separately shows that they were not fully absorbed into Israelite society, and I see this as another example of where after the first Passover in Egypt, Gentiles were welcome to participate in the Passover. It was an open table, as it is in liberal Judaism today. Although it seems the majority of the ten tribes refused the invitation to come to Jerusalem and keep the Passover, maybe some of the other nations whom the Assyrians had transplanted to Israel now responded, as it were instead of Israel. This would be unsurprising, and would be looking ahead to the Gentiles accepting the crumbs of the Messianic feast which the Jews rejected at the Lord's time. But "foreigners" may also be a technical term which Judah had come to apply to the ten tribes.


2Ch 30:26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem; for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem-
There is no reference to Solomon keeping Passover, but rather to his offering huge numbers of animals at the dedication of the temple. This itself was not what God wanted; He wanted broken hearts rather than thousands of animals. But the religious verve caught up everybody, and they rejoiced together. Although given their later apostacy, we must enquire how well motivated was this "great joy", and whether it was not partly the result of a psychological reaction against the misery of Ahaz's reign. 


2Ch 30:27 Then the priests and the Levites arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to His holy habitation, even to heaven
-
"Their prayer came up..." suggests the idea of human words ascending all the way up to the very habitation of God. The words that ascended were seeking blessing, or forgiveness, upon others. And God is really sensitive to this.  The temple and ark are sometimes referred to as the heavens (2 Sam. 15:25 cp. 1 Kings 8:30; Ps. 20:2,6; 11:4; Heb. 7:26). The church is the new temple, and is therefore at times referred to as the heavenlies in the New Testament. However this continues the theme discussed on :18,20- that the prayer of one party can save and bring eternal blessing upon other parties. This is a wonderful feature of God's system of working with men; for it inspires us to true prayer and deep pastoral effort for others, knowing that we can make an eternal difference.