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seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth. And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which are gone up from you. Behold, I will command, saith the Lord, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it; and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.
Chap. XXXV. 1—11. The incident of the Rechabites.
The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink. Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazi
21. which are gone up] The same verb is also used of raising the siege in xxxvii. 5 ("departed,") 11 ("was broken up").
Chap. XXXV. 1—11. The Incident Of The Rechabites.
1. The word which came...in the days of Jehoiakim] This and the following chapter form a remarkable break in the narrative of chaps, xxxii—xliv. They at once bring us back seventeen years, viz. from the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah to the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when the Babylonian army had entered Palestine and compelled many of its inhabitants to take refuge within Jerusalem. Among these were the Rechabites, and the unwonted presence of a nomadic tribe like theirs must have produced quite a sufficient interest and stir to cause Jeremiah's act and subsequent address to make a deep impression upon the people.
2. Go unto the house] The families (compare Gen. vii. 1, &c.) are meant, not the dwelling-houses. See ver. 7.
of the Rechabites] They were a wandering tribe of Kenite descent and thus connected with Moses' father-in-law (Jud. i. 16). Some of that family had settled in the south of Judah (ibid.) others near Kedesh in Naphtali (Jud. iv. 11). This branch however as we see were nomadic.
chambers] used as store-houses (1 Chron. xxviii. 12) or places of meeting for those whose duties lay about the Temple. It is the same word in the original as that which occurs three times in ver. 4.
3. Jaazaniah] apparently the leader of the tribe or of that part of it which had taken refuge in Jerusalem.
niah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; and I brought them into the 4 house of the Lord, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door: and 5 I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine. But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab 6 the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye
4. and I brought them into the house of the Lord] that so what was to follow might be made most prominent and be most widely known.
the sons of Hanan] meaning probably not the actual sons but the disciples, Hanan being the name of a prophet or teacher, who like many others founded a school of 'sons.' Of him however we know nothing further.
Igdaliah] the longer form of Gedaliah, a name which we meet so frequently in the later chapters of this historical portion as belonging to the son of Ahikam.
a man of God\ i.e. a prophet, viz. Hanan, not Igdaliah. See note on chap. i. 1.
Afaaseiah] probably father of the Zephaniah (xxi. I, xxix. 25, xxxvii. 3) who is mentioned as second priest in lii. 24.
keeper of the door] literally, keeper of the threshold. There were three of these officers (lii. 24; 2 Kings xxv. 18). They may have had charge respectively of the outer and inner courts of the Temple and of the entrance door itself. They seem to have stood next in rank after the high-priest and his deputy (ibid.), and were charged with the care of the money contributed for the restoration of the Temple (2 Kings xii. 9).
6. pots] bowls, large vessels, from which drinking cups were filled.
6. We will drink no wine: for Jouadab...commanded us] Jonadab is the same who assisted Jehu (2 Kings x. 15—28) in the overthrow of the worship of Baal, and for two or three hundred years his descendants had been faithful to the command which he had imposed on them. The reason for the command doubtless was the corruption and excess which he saw to be engendered and fostered by city-life. Thus the customs of towns were to be avoided, and an ascetic life to be followed, strongly resembling that practised within the limits of Israel by the Nazarites (Numb. vi.).
the son of Rechab] father or more likely perhaps an ancestor of Jonadab. The word means Rider, and hence it has been conjectured that it is rather an epithet (the bold Rider) than a proper name. If this be so, which however is but doubtful, it has been remarked as a strange coincidence that his son Jonadab should have been so closely allied (see ref. to 2 Kings x. above) with one who is noted as driving his chariot furiously (2 Kings ix. 20).
shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: 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. Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: but we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: go we dwell at Jerusalem.
12—17. Application of this incident to the Jews.
Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words?
7. neither shall ye build house...] A noteworthy instance of a body of persons in the same country but in later times, the description of whom coincides almost verbally with that of the Rechabites, is the case of the Nabathaeans of whom Diodorus Siculus (XiX. 94) says that they neither sow seed, nor plant fruit-tree, nor use wine, nor build a house, and if any one is found transgressing these rules, death is the penalty. "We find however nomads using wine, Gen. xxvii. 25, and even sowing corn, ib. xxvi. 12, as it was possible to buy the one, and to break up the encampment after reaping the other." Sf. Comm.
11. for fear of the army of the Chaldeans] It was necessary that they should justify themselves for thus taking up their quarters in a town in spite of the strictness of their nomadic rules. It was only for the sake of self-preservation.
Syrians] These were allies of the Chaldaeans at this period, as we learn also from 2 Kings xxiv. 2.
12—17. Application Of This Incident To The Jews.
12. Then came the word] Jeremiah is told to go and apply they lesson which the Rechabites taught. For this purpose he is to go forth/ from the chamber where his interview with them was held, and address! the people we must suppose in the adjacent Temple court. I saith the Lord. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, 1 that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. I have sent also unto you all my servants the 1 prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab 1 have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me: therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, the 1 God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.
18, 19. Tlie Rechabites' reward. And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, 1 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: therefore thus saith the Lord of ■ hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.
14. are performed] are established, they not only are carried out but are secure in their hold upon the minds of those who practise them. unto this day] for about three hundred years.
16. Because] This conjunction really belongs rather to the latter part of the verse, as it was not the obedience of the Rechabites but the disobedience of the Jews that involved punishment. Its place however makes the contrast between the two parties more marked.
18, 19. The Rechabites' Reward. 19. shall not want a man to stand before me for ever] Disobedience being followed by ruin, so shall obedience be by lasting prosperity, and that prosperity shall be of the purest kind, viz. ministering in the presence of God. Such seems to be the sense of the words to stand before me. Chap. XXXVI. 1—10. Jeremiah's Roll dictated to Baruch and read before the people. 36 And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the
See chaps. vii. 10, xv. 19, and in reference to the tribe of Levi Deut. x. 8, xviii. 5, 7. This also is the sense given to the words here in the Targum of Jonathan, a Hebrew commentary on the Prophets which reflects the views of pious Rabbis of our Lord's time. Traces of the fulfilment of this promise are (i) Ps. lxxi. (possibly however earlier than this time) the heading of which in the Septuagint makes it belong to "the sons of Jonadab and the first captives" and thus includes them among the Levites to whom it fell to conduct the sacred music and occasionally no doubt to compose the words to which it was set; (ii) omitting one or two other and more obscure references in the O. T., in the account of the martyrdom of James the Just (Eusebius, Ecchs. Hist. II. 23) "priests of the sons of Rechab" are spoken of; (hi) Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish traveller of the 12th century, mentions a body of Jews who were called Rechabites, and whose customs corresponded with those detailed in Jeremiah; (iv) Dr Wolff (Journal, 1829) describes a body of Rechabites near Mecca who claimed to be sons of Jonadab. See Sm. Bibl. Diet. Art. Rechabites.
Chap. XXXVI. 1—10. Jeremiah's Roll Dictated To Baruch
AND READ BEFORE THE PEOPLE. 1. And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim] Here we have the particulars of Jeremiah's record in a permanent form of the substance of those prophecies which he had been uttering against Judah and Jerusalem. This chapter like the last (where see note on ver. r) is a break in the historical section (chaps. xxxii.—xliv.), as they both go back to the fourth year of Jehoiakim. The attack on Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar's army, through fear of which the Rechabites had taken refuge, occurred in that year, and it is important to determine whether the command to prepare the Roll was prior or subsequent to this event. For the view that the attack had not yet taken place ver. 29 is quoted, where however see note. For the other view, which is much the more probable, we have the facts (a) that the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar took place (see xxv. 1 with note) in the thirty-fourth month of Jehoiakim's reign, and probably therefore early in the fourth (calendar) year, and (b) that the Roll was not read till the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim (ver. 9), and even allowing for the slow rate of writing in those days, nine months would be almost or quite enough for the completion of such a work. It is important to notice the order of these events. In chap. xxv. we have the announcement plainly made that the captivity shall be no trifling or passing matter, but shall last seventy years. Thereupon comes at a distance of at most but a few months the capture of the city. The indignation with which that first distinct prophecy of captivity was received must now have been qualified by a fear that the threatened punishment was but too evidently coming upon the nation. This is the state of people's minds, when on a fast