|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
35:12-19 The trial of the Rechabites' constancy was for a sign; it made the disobedience of the Jews to God the more marked. The Rechabites were obedient to one who was but a man like themselves, and Jonadab never did for his seed what God has done for his people. Mercy is promised to the Rechabites. We are not told respecting the performance of this promise; but doubtless it was performed, and travellers say the Rechabites may be found a separate people to this day. Let us follow the counsels of our pious forefathers, and we shall find good in so doing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,.... Who has enjoined children obedience to their parents, and has promised to reward it, and does:
Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever; which may be understood of a long time, of ages to come; or as long as the people of the Jews were a people, or the world should stand, the posterity of this man should continue: or, "a man shall not be cut off from Jonadab &c." (h); his offspring shall never fail. It is certain that some of this family returned from the captivity, 1 Chronicles 2:55; and, according to Scaliger (i), the Hasidaeans sprung from them. And, if any credit could be given to Benjamin Tudelensis, there were Rechabites in the twelfth century, since the times of Christ; for he tells (k) us, that in his travels he found a place where Jews dwelt, who were called Rechabites. The phrase, "to stand before me", is by the Targum paraphrased,
"ministering before me;''
serving and worshipping God, for they were religious people; that is, in their own families, carrying on religious worship among themselves, and not in the temple, where they had no office, and did no service; though some think they had, because called scribes, 1 Chronicles 2:55. Kimchi says that some of their Rabbins asserted that the daughters of these people married priests, and so some of their children's children offered sacrifice on the altar. And if what Eusebius reports from Hegesippus is true, there were priests of this family after the times of Christ; for he says (l), that when the Jews were stoning James the just, a priest of the sons of Rechab cried out, saying, stop, what are ye doing? but these testimonies are not to be depended on; however, we may be sure of this, that the promise of God shall not fail, but be certainly accomplished. Very appropriate are the words of the learned Alting (m) upon this subject:
"not only the Lord promises length of life to the obedient, which proselytes, equally with Israelites, have the promise of; but, particularly, that the posterity of Jonadab should not perish, should have a place in the church of God, and an admission to the gracious enjoyment of God; not as priests and Levites, but as other Israelites and strangers, Isaiah 56:4; so that the posterity of Jonadab must still continue, and hope of restoration of them with the Israelites remains; as in Jeremiah 31:36; but in the same way and manner; so that being equally sharers in exile, they are to be restored after a long interruption. Indeed, the family is not at this day known; but from the ignorance of men, to the denial of a thing, there is no available argument. Families cannot be confounded, since they descend by the fathers; mothers do not belong to them; and as is the father as to tribe, so also is the son and grandson, and so on. A genealogical series may perish from the knowledge of men, but not from the nature of things, and the knowledge of God. Though the seeds of wheat, barley, and other things, may be mixed together, that men cannot distinguish them, yet their distinction does not perish; and God not only knows it, but also discovers it, when he makes every seed to rise in its own body, 1 Corinthians 15:37; so must we judge concerning families.''
Perhaps, since these Rechabites were proselytes, and not Israelites, the conversion of the Gentiles may be respected; who are priests in a spiritual sense, and minister before the Lord, offering up, through Christ, the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise; and such a generation to serve the Lord will never be wanting.
(h) "non exidetur vir Jonadabo", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt, &c. (i) Elench. Trihaeres. c. 24, (k) Itinerarium, p. 82. (l) Eccles. Hist. l. 2. c. 23. (m) Apud Witsii Exercitat. 9. de Rechabitis in Miscell. Sacr. tom. 2. p. 235, 236.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. not want a man to stand before me—There shall always be left representatives of the clan to worship Me (Jer 15:1, 19); or, "before Me" means simple existence, for all things in existence are in God's sight (Ps 89:36). The Rechabites returned from the captivity. Wolff found traces of them in Arabia.
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