2 Chronicles 30:18-19 – For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover otherwise than it is written. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, The good Yahweh pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, Yahweh, the God of his fathers, though not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
King Hezekiah had invited all of Israel to a re-institution of the feast of unleavened bread. His invitation was turned down by many in Israel – and those who came would have endured scorn and mockery from their families and communities.
Now that they had arrived in Jerusalem, it was found that many of those who had come were not cleansed according to the law – so from a legal point of view, they should not have been participating in the feast.
Yet Hezekiah prayed for them – asking that the ‘good Lord’ would pardon all who set his heart to seek God. The next verse shows us that God answered that prayer, and healed them.
This passage is not given to show us that God’s commands don’t matter. He has reasons and ways that are far beyond ours, and it is in our best interest to apply all diligence to observing what He commands us.
Instead what we see in this passage is a people who are trying to return to God, a man of faith who is working with them, and a God of mercy.
True faith seeks to love and obey God and what He has commanded, but it also has an understanding of the mercy of God – how He is one who justifies the unrighteous and pardons the ungodly. Hezekiah knew this God, and knew that in this situation, that the Lord would not hold their impurity against them.