“For if you return to the LORD, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”
King Hezekiah of Judah had watched as the powerful Assyrian empire conquered the Jews’ relatives in the northern kingdom, who have become known as the 10 lost tribes. After restoring temple worship in Jerusalem, Hezekiah sent messengers to the remnant of Israel that hadn’t yet been taken captive. He invited them to a belated Passover service in the second month, as allowed in the law of Moses (Numbers 9:10-11).
Hezekiah’s call for repentance and renewal was mocked by many (2 Chronicles 30:10), but some from the northern tribes of Israel humbled themselves and joined with the people of Judah in celebrating God’s festivals and turning to God (verse 11).
God heard and was pleased by the people’s observance of this important festival. “So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem” (verse 26).