King Hezekiah invites the Children of Israel to a Solemn Passover Jerusalem
SAMARIA had fallen. The northern Kingdom of Israel, with its own sanctuaries harbouring images of the Golden Calf in Dan and Bethel, had been overthrown by the Assyrians, and the country largely depopulated and annexed. But Jerusalem still stood. There the young king Hezekiah reigned ( 720-692 B.C.E.) and aspired to elevate the Kingdom of Judah to a newborn glory. Zealously devoted to the service of the God of Israel, he ordered the removal of the idolatrous altars in the mountains and groves, erected under Ahaz his father, and made a great effort to regain for Solomon's Temple, which the northern kingdom had abandoned ever since the days of Jeroboam centuries before, its position as the one and only sanctuary in all Israel.
The King, according to the account in 2 Chronicles XXX, after cleansing and rededicating the Temple, proclaimed a solemn Passover. He sent a circular letter to the Children of Israel, both in Judah and beyond its frontiers, inviting the people to come to Jerusalem to keep the feast. 'So the posts went with the letters from the hand of the King and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandments of the King, saying:
'Yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into His sanctuary, which He has sanctified for ever'
[ Jerusalem, end of the 8th century B.C.E. ]
Ye Children of Israel, turn back unto the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to the remnant that are escaped of you out of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, who acted treacherously