Jeremiah 35:2
Go to the house of the Rechabites, and speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Go unto the house of the Rechabites . . .—The word “house” is used throughout the chapter in the sense of “family.” Among those who had thus taken refuge were the tribe, or sect, or even fraternity known by this name. Their founder was the Jonadab, or Jehonadab, who appears as the ally of Jehu in the overthrow of the house of Ahab (2Kings 10:15). It is clear from that history that he exercised an influence over the people which Jehu was glad to secure, and that he welcomed “the zeal for the Lord” which led Jehu to the massacre of the worshippers of Baal. He is described as the “son of Rechab,” but seeing that that name, which means “chariot,” was applied to the great Tishbite prophet, as in “the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof” (2Kings 2:12), it has been thought, with some probability, that the name “son of Rechab” means “Son of the chariot” (so in later Jewish history we have Bar-cochba = son of the star), i.e., “disciple of the great prophet.” Anyhow, the life which Jonadab enforced on his followers presented all the characteristic features of that of Elijah. It was a protest against the Baal-worship that had flowed into Israel from Phoenicia, against the corruption of the life of cities, against the intemperance which was tainting the life of Israel (Amos 6:4-6). It reminds us in this respect of the more ascetic sects, such as the Wahabees of Arabia in the eighteenth century (see Burckhardt’s Bedouins and Wahabys, p. 283; Palgrave’s Arabia), that have at times arisen among the followers of Mahomet. It has some points of resemblance to the Mendicant Orders of mediaeval Christendom. From 1Chronicles 2:55 it appears that “the house of Rechab” belonged to the Kenites who had joined the Israelites on their exodus from Egypt, and had settled in their lands, retaining their old habits (Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11; Numbers 10:29-32; 1Samuel 15:6; 1Samuel 27:10). Such a people naturally retained many of the habits of patriarchal life, and it is not improbable that Elijah himself issued from their tents.

Jeremiah 35:2-4. Go to the house of the Rechabites — “The Rechabites, as may be collected from Jeremiah 35:7, were not of the children of Israel, but strangers of another race that dwelt among them. From 1 Chronicles 2:55, they appear to have been Kenites, a people originally settled in that part of Arabia Petræa which was called the land of Midian. At what time Rechab lived, who gave his name to the family, is not certain, nor whether he was the immediate father, or remote ancestor of Jonadab; for the word Song of Solomon often denotes nothing more than a lineal descendant. But it is most likely that the Jonadab here spoken of, as having dictated a rule of living to the Rechabites, was the same person of whom mention is made 2 Kings 10:15. For that this latter was a man of considerable eminence is manifest from the respect shown him by Jehu; and his being taken along with that prince to witness his zeal for the honour of the true God, shows him to have been a man of right and religious principles. The institutions he left with his posterity bespeak a principal concern for the purity of their morals, which he might rightly suppose would be less liable to be corrupted whilst they adhered to the simplicity of their ancient usages, than if they adopted the refinements of modern luxury. He, therefore, enjoined them not only to abstain from the use of wine, but to live as the patriarchs did of old, and as many of their countrymen, the Scenite Arabs, continue to do at this day, without any fixed habitations or possessions, far from the society of cities, in the open country, feeding their flocks, and maintaining themselves by the produce of them.” — Blaney. And bring them into the house of the Lord — Into one of the chambers adjoining to the temple. By this it appears that the Rechabites were not idolaters, for it was not lawful for such persons to come within the precincts of the temple. I brought them into the chamber of the sons of Hanan — The chambers adjoining to the temple, of which there were several, were for the use of the priests and Levites, during the time of their ministrations. They were also used as repositories for laying up the holy vestments, and vessels, and whatever stores were necessary for the daily sacrifices, and the other parts of the temple service. The son of Igdaliah, a man of God — That is, as this name usually imports, a prophet, or one who had been employed upon a divine commission. Which was by the chamber of the princes — The chamber where the princes, or the members of the sanhedrim, or great council, used to assemble. Above the chamber of Maaseiah, the keeper of the door — That is, one of the keepers; for there were several Levites appointed to that office, both to open and shut the gates of the temple in due time, and likewise to attend at them all day, for preventing any thing that might happen to the prejudice of the purity, or safety of that holy place. Some of these officers had likewise the custody of the holy vessels.35:1-11 Jonadab was famous for wisdom and piety. He lived nearly 300 years before, 2Ki 10:15. Jonadab charged his posterity not to drink wine. He also appointed them to dwell in tents, or movable dwelling: this would teach them not to think of settling any where in this world. To keep low, would be the way to continue long in the land where they were strangers. Humility and contentment are always the best policy, and men's surest protection. Also, that they might not run into unlawful pleasures, they were to deny themselves even lawful delights. The consideration that we are strangers and pilgrims should oblige us to abstain from all fleshly lusts. Let them have little to lose, and then losing times would be the less dreadful: let them sit loose to what they had, and then they might with less pain be stript of it. Those are in the best frame to meet sufferings who live a life of self-denial, and who despise the vanities of the world. Jonadab's posterity observed these rules strictly, only using proper means for their safety in a time of general suffering.The house - The family.

The Rechabites - The Rechabites were a nomadic tribe not of Jewish but of Kenite race, and connected with the Amalekites Numbers 24:21; 1 Samuel 15:6, from whom however they had separated themselves, and made a close alliance with the tribe of Judah Judges 1:16, on whose southern borders they took up their dwelling 1 Samuel 27:10. While, however, the main body of the Kenites gradually adopted settled habits, and dwelt in cities 1 Samuel 30:29, the Rechabites persisted in leading the free desert life, and in this determination they were finally confirmed by the influence and authority of Jonadab, who lived in Jehu's reign. He was a zealous adherent of Yahweh 2 Kings 10:15-17, and possibly a religious reformer; and as the names of the men mentioned in the present narrative are all compounded with Yah, it is plain that the tribe continued their allegiance to Him.

The object of Jonadab in endeavoring to preserve the nomad habits of his race was probably twofold. He wished first to maintain among them the purer morality and higher feeling of the desert contrasted with the laxity and effeminacy of the city life; and secondly he was anxious for the preservation of their freedom. Their punctilious obedience Jeremiah 35:14 to Jonadab's precepts is employed by Jeremiah to point a useful lesson for his own people.

The date of the prophecy is the interval between the battle of Carchemish and the appearance of Nebuchadnezzar at Jerusalem, Jeremiah 35:11 at the end of the same year. It is consequently 17 years earlier than the narrative in Jeremiah 34:8 ff

2. Rechabites—a nomadic tribe belonging to the Kenites of Hemath (1Ch 2:55), of the family of Jethro, or Hobab, Moses' father-in-law (Ex 18:9, &c.; Nu 10:29-32; Jud 1:16). They came into Canaan with the Israelites, but, in order to preserve their independence, chose a life in tents without a fixed habitation (1Sa 15:6). Besides the branch of them associated with Judah and extending to Amalek, there was another section at Kadesh, in Naphtali (Jud 4:11, 17). They seem to have been proselytes of the gate, Jonadab, son of Rechab, whose charge not to drink wine they so strictly obeyed, was zealous for God (2Ki 10:15-23). The Nabatheans of Arabia observed the same rules [Diodorus Siculus, 19.94].

bring … into … house of … Lord—because there were suitable witnesses at hand there from among the priests and chief men, as also because he had the power immediately to address the people assembled there (Jer 35:13). It may have been also as a reproof of the priests, who drank wine freely, though commanded to refrain from it when in the discharge of their duties [Calvin].

chambers—which were round about the temple, applied to various uses, for example, to contain the vestments, sacred vessels, &c.

These

Rechabites had their name from Rechab their father, who, as appears from 1 Chronicles 2:55, descended from Hemath, who was a Kenite, who is also called Hobab, Judges 4:11 (unless it may be Hameth who was the son of Hobab). This Hobab was Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, as appears from Judges 4:11. We read, Judges 1:16, that his children went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad, and they went and dwelt among the people. The Rechabites here mentioned descended from this stock. Jehonadab, mentioned 2 Kings 10:15, was of this family, a man of some note, as appeareth by Jehu’s taking him there into his chariot. God commandeth the prophet to bring some of this family into the temple, into some of the chambers; for in and about the temple were several chambers for the priests, and where they disposed of the holy garments and several oblations, 1 Kings 6:5,6,10 1 Chronicles 28:11,12. God commands Jeremiah to bring these Rechabites into some of these chambers, and to set wine before them. This was either for the more publicness of the thing, or, it may be, for the reproof of the priests who drank too much wine. Go unto the house of the Rechabites,.... Or "family" (c); these are the same with the Kenites, who descended from Hobab or Jethro, Moses's father in law, Judges 1:16; these, as their ancestors, became proselytes to Israel, and always continued with them, though a distinct people from them; these here had their name from Rechab, a famous man in his time among those people:

and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the Lord; into the temple; for they were worshippers of the true God, though foreigners and uncircumcised persons; and so might be admitted into places belonging to the temple:

into one of the chambers; of the temple, where there were many; some for the sanhedrim to sit in; others for the priests to lay up their garments and the vessels of the sanctuary in; and others for the prophets and their disciples to converse in together about religious matters:

and give them wine to drink; set it before them, and invite them to drink of it, and thereby try their steady obedience to their father's commands. Now this family was brought to the temple either in vision, as it seemed to the prophet; or really, which latter is most probable; and that for this reason, that this affair might be transacted publicly, and many might he witnesses of it, and take the rebuke given by it; and, as some think, to reproach the priests for their intemperance.

(c) "ad familiam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Go to the house of the {b} Rechabites, and speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.

(b) They came from Hobab, Moses father-in-law, who was no Israelite, but later joined with them in the service of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Go unto the house] The family (so in 3, 5, 18; Genesis 7:1, etc.) are meant, not the dwelling-houses. See Jeremiah 35:7. It was some years after the burning of the Roll (in Jehoiakim’s fourth year), and it appears that the prophet could again appear in public without risk (see Jeremiah 36:19; Jeremiah 36:26).

of the Rechabites] They were a wandering tribe of Kenite descent (1 Chronicles 2:55) and thus connected with Moses’ brother-in-law (Jdg 1:16). Some of that family had settled in the south of Judah (ib.), others near Kedesh in Naphtali (Jdg 4:11). This branch however were nomad.Verse 2. - The house of the Rechabites ("house" equivalent to "family"). From a notice in 1 Chronicles 2:55 it appears that the Rechabites were a subdivision of the Kenites, the nomad tribe so closely connected with the Israelites (Judges 1:16; Judges 4:18-22; comp. Numbers 10:29), especially with the tribe of Judah (1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29). The names of Jonadab and of Jaazaniah and his progenitors (which include the sacred Name), together with the zeal of Jonadab for the worship of Jehovah (2 Kings 10:15, 23), seem to indicate that the religion of the Rechabites approximated closely to that of the Israelites. There seem, in fact, to have been two branches of the Kenites - one having Edomitish, the other Israelitish, affinities. Records of the former still exist in the Sinaitic inscriptions, and in the Arabian histories; indeed, there is still a tribe called Benu-l-Qain (often contracted into Belqein) in the Belqa (the ancient land of Ammon); and it would seem that there is an Arab tribe in Arabia Petraea, eastward of Kerak, which traces itself to Heber the Kenite. and goes by the name of Yehud Chebr, though it now denies any connection with Jews. There were also Jews of Khaibar, near Mecca, who played an important part in the early history of Islam (see further 'Zeitschr. der deutschen morgenland. Gesellschaft,' 8:706; 14:438; 28:568, 571). Into one of the chambers. There were many "chambers" of different sizes attached to the temple, and employed partly for stores, partly for councils and assemblies, partly for guard chambers, and other official purposes (comp. 1 Chronicles 28:12; Ezekiel 40:17). In Jeremiah 36:10 we even find a private person occupying one of the "chambers." That into which Jeremiah conducted the Rechabites was, no doubt, one of the largest size; it was appropriated to the use of a single priestly family - the "sons of Hanan" (ver. 4). The announcement of punishment. Because ye have not hearkened, by proclaiming, every one, liberty to his bondman (this certainly had been done, but was again undone by annulling the decree), therefore I proclaim liberty for you; i.e., you, who have hitherto been my servants (Leviticus 25:55), I discharge from this relation, - deliver you up to your fate as regards the sword, etc., that the sword, famine, and pestilence may have power over you. For לזועה see Jeremiah 15:4. - In Jeremiah 34:18 the construction is disputed. Many, including Luther, take העגל as the second object to נתתּי: "I will make the men...the calf," i.e., like the calf. But, though נתן is frequently construed with a double accusative with the meaning of making some thing another thing (cf. e.g., Jeremiah 34:22, Genesis 17:5; Exodus 7:1), yet in such a case the predicative-object does not readily take the article. Moreover, נתן, in the sense required here, to make like equals treat as, is joined with כּ, as in Isaiah 41:2; Ezekiel 28:2, Ezekiel 28:6; Genesis 42:30; 1 Kings 10:27, etc. Finally, Rosenmller objects: continuata versu 19 personarum descriptio et repetitio verbi yṭitanfw̱ Jeremiah 34:20 vix permittunt, propositionem hoc versu absolvi. For these reasons, L. de Dieu, Rosenmller, Ewald, and Graf have taken העגל as being in apposition to הבּרית, and the enumeration "princes of Judah," etc., Jeremiah 34:19, as a continuation or exposition of האנשׁים, Jeremiah 34:18, and ונתתּי אותם, Jeremiah 34:20, as a resumption of the same words in Jeremiah 34:18. According to this view, Jeremiah 34:18-20 would form a series of appositions: "I will give the men...that have not kept the words of the covenant which they concluded before me...the princes of Judah who passed between the parts of the calf, - these will I give into the hands of their enemies." But, apart from the consideration that the enumeration of the covenant-breakers (viz., the princes of Judah, etc.), which is added by way of apposition in Jeremiah 34:19, ought not to come in till after the apposition to הבּרית, which would be a harsh and complicated arrangement of the members of the sentence, this construction seems untenable for the following reasons: (a) "The calf that they cut," etc., which forms the explanatory apposition to "the covenant," is separated from it by the intervening clause, "which they made before me." And (b), even though we might modify this harshness by repeating את־דּברי before העגל, yet the mode of expression, "they have not performed the words of the calf which they cut in two, and between whose parts they passed," would be a very stiff and unnatural one for "they have not performed what they vowed or sware in presence of the parts of the calf which they had halved, and when they passed through between these pieces." With Maurer and Hitzig, therefore, we abide by the older view, which takes העגל as the second object to ונתתּי: "I will make the men...the calf," or, better, "like the calf which they cut in two," etc. The article is used with עגל because this predicate is more exactly determined by relative clauses, and העגל stands for כּעגל, since, as often happens, the כּ of likeness is dropped to give more point to the idea. We make Jeremiah 34:19 begin a new sentence, and take the names of this verse as objects absolute, which, by אותם following ונתתּי, are subordinated to the verb: "As for the princes of Judah...them shall I give...." - From Jeremiah 34:18 we see that, when alliances were entered into, the contracting parties slaughtered an עגל, "calf," i.e., a young bullock, cut it in two halves, and went through between the pieces that were placed opposite one another. See on Genesis 15:10 for details regarding this most ancient custom and its meaning: according to the account of Ephraem Syrus, it is of Chaldean origin. Thus are explained the phrases used to signify the making of a covenant. כּרת בּרית, to cut a covenant, ὅρκια τέμνειν, faedus ferire, i.e., ferienda hostia faedus facere. We cannot with certainty infer, from the threatening pronounced in this passage, that this rite originally signified nothing more than that he who broke his promise would be treated like the animal that had been slaughtered. For the threatening is merely a conclusion drawn from the sacred act; but this does not exclude a deeper meaning of the rite.
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