Jeremiah 35:6
But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:
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(6-8) We will drink no wine . . .—We have here, as it were, the rule of the tribe or order which looked to Jonadab as its founder. Like Samson (Judges 13:4-5), Samuel (inferentially from 1Samuel 1:11; 1Samuel 1:15), and the Baptist (Luke 1:15), they were life-long Nazarites (Numbers 6:1-6). Jonadab’s intention was obviously to keep them as a separate people, retaining their nomadic form of life, free from the contamination of cities, or the temptations of acquired property, or the risks of attack which such property brought with it. They are now invited, and it must have seemed to them a strange invitation to come from a prophet’s lips, to break that rule, and they answer almost in the tone of a calm but indignant protest. They have been faithful hitherto, and they will continue faithful still. In the words “that your days may be long in the land” we may, perhaps, trace an echo of the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12), viewed as extending to the relations which connect the members of an order with its head. The rule has descended to the followers of Islam, and the law of abstinence has been extended by Abdul-Wahab to tobacco. Diodoras Siculus (xix. 94) relates that the Nabathæans adopted the Rechabite rule in its completeness. Possibly they were Rechabites.

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.Wine is the symbol of a settled life, because the vine requires time for its growth and care in its cultivation, while the preparation of the wine itself requires buildings, and it then has to be stored up before it is ready for use. The drink of nomads consists of the milk of their herds.6. Jonadab … our father—that is, forefather and director, three hundred years before (2Ki 10:15). They were called Rechabites, not Jonadabites, having received their name from Rechab the father, previously to their adopting the injunctions of Jonadab his son. This case affords no justification for slavish deference to the religious opinions of the Christian fathers: for Jonadab's injunction only affected matters of the present life; moreover, it was not binding on their consciences, for they deemed it not unlawful to go to Jerusalem in the invasion (Jer 35:11). What is praised here is not the father's injunction, but the obedience of the sons [Calvin]. It is uncertain whether father here signifies their immediate parent, or (which is more probable) their progenitor; it is most likely it referreth to that Jonadab of whom we read 2 Kings 10:15, who was the father (that is, the progenitor) of this family of the Rechabites, at three hundred years distance. The reason why he left his posterity this charge is uncertain, probably to warn them against the luxury which he saw began to abound in Israel, and being desirous that they should inure themselves to a more hard and laborious life; being originally Kenites, and used to husbandry, and keeping of sheep and other cattle, he desired they should live according to their quality.

But they said, we will drink no wine,.... Or "we do not drink wine" (e); we are not used to it; we never do drink any; it is not lawful for us to do it; nor will we, let who will solicit us:

for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father; not their immediate father, but their progenitor; perhaps the same Jonadab is meant who lived in the times of Jehu, and rode with him in his chariot; by which it appears he was a man of note and figure, and who lived near three hundred years before this time, 2 Kings 10:15; which is more likely than that he should be a descendant of his, and the proper father of the present Rechabites, which is the opinion of Scaliger (f):

commanded us, saying, ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons, for ever; as long as any of them were in the world. What was the reason of this command, and of what follows, is not easy to say; whether it was to prevent quarrels and contentions, luxury and sensuality; or to inure them to hardships; or to put them in remembrance that they were but strangers in the land in which they lived; or to retain them in the original course of life their ancestors had lived in, feeding cattle; be it what it will, these his sons thought themselves under obligations to observe it; and perhaps finding, by experience, it was for their good so to do.

(e) "non hibimus vinum", Vatablus, Schmidt. (f) Elench. Trihaeres. Serrar. c. 24.

But they said, We will drink no wine: for {e} Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:

(e) Whom the king of Israel favoured for his zeal, 2Ki 10:15.

(f) Teaching them by this to flee all opportunity for intemperancy, ambition and greed and that they might know that they were strangers in the earth, and be ready to depart at all opportunity.

Verse 6. - Jonadab the son of Rechab our father. Jonadab (the contemporary of King Jehu) is here called the "father" of the Rechabites (comp. vers. 14, 16), in the same sense in which the disciples of the prophets are called the "sons of the prophets;" he was a teacher, if not (in some sense) a prophet. This illustrates the uncompromising zeal of Jonadab in 2 Kings 10:23; the religion of Baal was probably at the opposite pole in the matter of luxury to that of Jehovah as practised by Jonadab.

"Not for you the life
Of sloth and ease within the city's gates,
Where idol feasts are held, and incense smokes
To Baalim and Ashtaroth; where man
Loses his manhood, and the scoffers sit
Perverting judgment, selfish, soft, impure."

(Plumptre.) Ye shall drink no wine, etc. The Rechabites were, in fact, typical Arabs. The Wahhabee movement, in our own century, may be taken as partly parallel, though, of course, a settled life is not one of the abominations of the neo-orthodox Islam. A still more complete parallel is given by Diodorus Siculus (19:94), who states it to be the law of the Nabataeans, "neither to sow corn, nor to plant any fruit-bearing herb, nor to drink wine, nor to prepare houses," and gives as the motive of this the preservation of their independence. Jeremiah 35:6There, Jeremiah caused bowls filled with wine to be set before the Rechabites, and commanded them to drink. (גּביעים are large goblets, bowls, out of which drinking-cups [כּסות] were filled.) But they explained that they did not drink wine, because their father, i.e., their ancestor, Jonadab had forbidden them and their posterity to drink wine for ever, as also to build houses, to sow seed, and to plant vineyards, i.e., to settle themselves down in permanent dwellings and to pursue agriculture. ולא יהיה לכם, "And there shall not be to you," sc. what has just been named, i.e., ye must not possess houses, growing-crops, or vineyards (cf. Jeremiah 35:9),

(Note: These injunctions, given by Jonadab to his posterity, that he might make them always lead a nomad life, are quoted by Diodorus Siculus, xix. 94, as a law among the Nabateans: Νόμος ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς μήτε σίτον σπείρειν, μήτε φυτεύειν μηδὲν φυτὸν καρποφόρον, μήτε οἴνῳ χρῆσθαι, μήτε οἰκίαν κατασεκυάζειν; while the object of the law is stated to have been the maintenance of their freedom against the more powerful who sought to bring them into subjection. And even at the present day the Bedouins imagine that they are prevented, by the nobility of their descent from Ishmael, from engaging in agriculture, handicraft, or the arts; cf. Arvieux, Sitten der Beduinen-Araber, 5f.)

but ye are to dwell in tents all your life, that ye may live long, etc. This promise is an imitation of that found in Exodus 20:12.

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