Neither shall you build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days you shall dwell in tents; that you may live many days in the land where you be strangers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
live many days—according to the promise connected with the fifth commandment (Ex 20:12; Eph 6:2, 3).
strangers—They were not of the stock of Jacob, but sojourners in Israel. Types of the children of God, pilgrims on earth, looking for heaven as their home: having little to lose, so that losing times cost them little alarm; sitting loose to what they have (Heb 10:34; 11:9, 10, 13-16).
nor have any,.... That is, they were not to build houses, sow seed, or plant vineyards, for themselves, for their own profit and advantage; nor possess either of these through purchase or gift: all this was enjoined them, partly because they were strangers in the land of Israel, as is suggested in the latter part of the verse, and so were to have no inheritance in it; and partly because the pastoral life was what their ancestors had lived; and therefore Jonadab was desirous it should be continued in his posterity; as well as because by this means they would live not envied by the Israelites, among whom they were; since they did not covet to get any part of their possessions into their hands; as also these being their circumstances, upon any public calamity, as sword, famine, or pestilence, they could more easily remove to other places; and likewise, by observing these rules, would not be liable to some sins, as drunkenness, worldly mindedness, &c. which are often the cause of great calamities. The Essenes, a sect among the Jews afterwards, seem in some things to have copied after these Rechabites:
but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; which they could move from place to place, for the convenience of pasture for the cattle, the business they were brought up in, and were always to exercise:
that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers; for they were not Israelites, as before observed, but Kenites, the descendants of Jethro; they were proselytes of the gate only; and now, partly on account of their obedience to parents, which had annexed to it the promise of long life in the land in which they lived; and partly because they would, by such a course of life, give no umbrage to, nor raise any jealousy in, the minds of the inhabitants of it, they might expect a continuance in it.Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. neither shall ye build house, etc.] Cp. the description of the Nabataeans by Diodorus Siculus who says (19:94) that they neither sow seed, nor plant fruit-tree, nor use wine, nor build a house. In their case, however, it was not from religious motives, but to avoid risk at the hands of powerful neighbours.Jeremiah 35:2. Jeremiah is to go to the house, i.e., the family, of the Rechabites, speak with them, and bring them into tone of the chambers of the temple, and set before them wine to drink. בּית , Jeremiah 35:2, Jeremiah 35:3, Jeremiah 35:18, is exchanged for בּני בית־הרכבים, Jeremiah 35:5, from which it is apparent that "the house of the Rechabites" does not mean their dwelling-place, but the family, called in 1 Chronicles 2:55 בּית־רכב. According to this passage, the Rechabites were a branch of the Kenites, i.e., descendants of the Kenite, the father-in-law of Moses (Judges 1:16), who had gone to Canaan with the Israelites, and welt among them, partly in the wilderness on the southern frontier of the tribe of Judah (1 Samuel 15:6; 1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29), partly at Kadesh in Naphtali (Judges 4:11, Judges 4:17; Judges 5:24). Their ancestor, or father of the tribe, was Rechab, the father of Jonadab, with whom Jehu made a friendly alliance (2 Kings 10:15, 2 Kings 10:23). Jonadab had laid on them the obligation to live in the special manner mentioned below, in order to keep them in the simplicity of nomad life observed by their fathers, and to preserve them from the corrupting influences connected with a settled life. לשׁכות, "cells of the temple," were additional buildings in the temple fore-courts, used partly for keeping the stores of the temple (1 Chronicles 28:12), partly as dwellings for those who served in it, and as places of meeting for those who came to visit it; see Ezekiel 40:17.
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