Hezekiah's Cleansing of the Temple

From The Lunar Sabbath Encyclopedia

Hezekiah's Cleansing of the Temple is often cited as a Pinpointed Lunar Sabbath because they rested on the 8th of the month and ended the 16th of the month.

This page presents the rationale for considering it as a Pinpointed Lunar Sabbath, and discusses several objections.


The priests began to sanctify the temple on the New Moon Day of the first month, and went to the temple on the eighth day of the month. They then "made an end" on the sixteenth of the month, which was the first working day of the week. This proves that the Sabbaths fell on the eighth and fifteenth days of the month.


It's necessary to understand the context of what is happening in this chapter in order to fully understand the timeline of events. King Hezekiah ordered the priests and Levites to sanctify themselves and the temple (2Ch 29:5). They started from inside the Temple itself, in the Holy of Holies, carrying out everything that was unclean:

And the priests went into the inner part of the house of YHVH, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of YHVH into the court of the house of YHVH. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron. (2Ch 29:16)

The priests and Levites then proceeded to work from the inside out for eight days until they reached the "porch" or vestibule on the outside of the temple:

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 YHVH: so they sanctified the house of YHVH in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end. (2Ch 29:17)

This passage implies that they worked through the eighth day in order to clean up to the porch, and then began to clean the courtyard and outward structures for the following eight days. This took some time because, according to Jarchi, Ahaz had installed framed pictures of idols on the walls of the temple.[1]

It's not noted upon which day(s) the Sabbath fell and the work had to stop, but it was not likely the eighth of the month. This is because either they would have reached the porch on the seventh and then rested on the eighth, or they would have rested on the eighth and then reached the porch on the ninth. In the former case it would have taken them seven days to clean, and in the latter case it would have taken nine. It's clear from verse 17 that the work took eight days, and so we can only conclude that the Sabbath fell somewhere in the middle of that effort.

It should also be understood that the priests and Levites did not "make an end" on the sixteenth because it was the first working day of the week. Instead, they finished on the sixteenth and then went to King Hezekiah to report that the work of cleansing the temple was now finished.

Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of YHVH, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread table, with all the vessels thereof. Moreover all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are before the altar of YHVH. (2Ch 29:18-19)

The following day (the seventeenth) was a day of sacrifice and worship:

Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of YHVH. And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of YHVH. (2Ch 29:20-21)

And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. (2Ch 29:28)

The seventeenth of the Lunar Sabbath Calendar is not a Sabbath or worship day, yet the king and all the people participated in a huge day of worship and sacrifice:

And the number of the burnt offerings, which the congregation brought, was threescore and ten bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to YHVH. And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep. But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests. And also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings, and the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of YHVH was set in order. (2Ch 29:32-35)


  1. John Gil's Exposition of the Entire Bible, 2 Chronicles 29:17

Pinpointed Lunar Sabbaths
Abib 15 in Egypt The First Week of Manna The Last Day in Rephidim
The Law of the Leper The Consecration of Aaron and his Sons Esther 9
The Feast of Tabernacles The Wave Sheaf Offering Passover in Gilgal
Marching Around Jericho The Dedication of Solomon's Temple Hezekiah's Cleansing of the Temple
The Healing at the Pool Healing of the Blind Man Paul's Journey to Troas
The Crucifixion Week Siege of Jerusalem Christ the Firstfruits