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lence and to famine, and make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18. And I make the men, who trample upon my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made in my presence, into the calf, which they hewed in two, passing between its pieces, 19. the princes of Judah and the princes of Jerusalem, the courtiers and the priests and the whole people of the land, which passed between the pieces of the calf. 20. And I deliver them into the hand of their foes and into the hand of those who lie in wait for their life, and their corpses shall be food for the birds of heaven and the beasts of the earth. 21. And Zedekiah, the king of Judah, and his princes I deliver into the hand of their enemies and their waylayers, and into the hand of the king of Babylon, who have departed from you. 22. Behold, I command, is Yahveh's oracle, and bring them back to this city, that they may fight against it, and conquer it, and burn it with fire, and I make the cities of Judah a desert and without inhabitant.
xxv. 42), and declare you free as air. njm, see on xv. 4. Ver. 18. Explained by the old custom of hewing a sacrificial animal in two at the making of a covenant and passing between its parts (Gen. xv. 10), whence also perhaps the phrase m3 m3, o>xia rifuin, fasdus icere = Whoever keeps not the covenant shall be cut in two in the same way. Ver. 19. The courtiers, see on xxix. 2. Ver. 20. See on vii. 33. Ver. 21. See the occasion of this departure of the Chaldaeans in xxxvii. 5. Ver. 22. See on ii. 15.
Contents of xxxiv. 8-22. Rebuke on account of a disgraceful breach of faith with dependants.
This rebuke belongs to the interval between the retirement of the Babylonians towards Egypt and their reappearance before Jerusalem. Its subject is an incident which, like few events known to us, show us the prevailing spirit in Jerusalem, and explains the futility of the attempts at reformation, such as those by Josiah. We see that it was not impossible in a time of distress to rouse the people's conscience and bring about a general acknowledgment of the divine law which had fallen into neglect and disesteem, but that as soon as the pressure from without relaxed, the fear of God professed for a time gave place to the basest selfishness. While the city was besieged by an overpowering army of Babylonians, there plainly arose, under the impression made by the earnest testimony of the prophet, a conviction of the need of acknowledging by an act of free surrender the God from whom help was yet expected. Had not the humane precepts of the law, securing freedom to Israelitish slaves at certain periods, been no longer obeyed for time beyond memory? Could they rely on the divine assistance, if they selfishly neglected so essential a part of the Sinaitic legislation? The king himself seems to have taken a conspicuous share in the decision to be made, and to have guarded it by his authority. In a general assembly in the temple (ver. 15), perhaps a day of humiliation, on which God's help was sought, a formal and solemn covenant was made, in which all bound themselves to set free all Hebrew slaves, who had lost their freedom mostly by poverty and debt. This was done on the part of the princes and priests as well as of the people. But scarcely had the danger, at which they trembled, been lessened by the temporary withdrawal of the besieging army, than excuses and pretexts enough were found to bring those who had been set free again under the yoke. So little shame was felt at breaking the faith solemnly pledged to God! Jeremiah's discourse announces the approaching punishment for this base violation of faith and covenant. Only too quickly will the enemies, from whom they thought themselves free, return, and then as God's avengers complete their destroying work.
A Humbling Example, Ch. Xxxv.
XXXV. 1. The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahveh in the days of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, thus: 2. Go to the house of the Eechabites, and speak to them, and bring them into the house of Yahveh into one of
Ver. 1. In the days of Jehoiakim, in his fourth year, since, according to ver. 11, Nebuchadnezzar and the Syrians had already invaded the land, cf. xxv. 1; 2 Kings xxiv. 1 f. Ver. 2. To the house of the Bechabites = to their family, since they could not possess a dwelling of their own. This, of course, does not preclude their dwelling at that time in houses at Jerusalem, which was excused by the necessity of the times (ver. 11). According to 1 Chron. ii. 55, these Eechabites were a branch of the tribe of the Kenites who had been friends of the Israelites since the days of Moses; they had been received into the Israelitish community and religion, while preserving special customs and traditions. Their father Jonadab had taken part, as an influential chieftain, in Jehu's days in rooting out Baalworship in the northern kingdom (2 Kings x. 15 ff., 23). The regulations, which the tribe had faithfully observed for almost 300 years, are traced back to this ancestor (ver. 6 f.); but plainly he merely enforced anew the old tribal custom. It is the nomadic mode of life, by whose observance these children of the desert were to be preserved from the effeminacy, subjection, and degenerate morals which are the accompaniments of culture. So Diodorus Sic. xix. 94 says of the Nabata?ans: No/toj itsrh airoT;, /ttqn <r?ro> aTilpciv
xarattxtuiZtiv. The modern history of Islam presents similar features. Cf. Herzog x. 427.—Lead them into the house of Yahveh, into one of the chambers. There was a great number of such chambers in the forecourt of the temple. They served partly as magazines, partly as official dwellings, and also, as the chambers, and give them wine to drink. 3. Then I fetched Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites, 4. and brought them into the house of Yahveh to the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah the man of God, which is beside the chamber of the princes, which is above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the threshold. 5. And I set cups full of wine, and goblets, before the sons of the house of the Rechabites, and said to them: Drink ye wine! 6. Then they said: We will drink no wine; for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us saying: You shall not drink wine, nor your sons, for ever. 7. And you shall not build a house, nor sow seed, nor plant a vineyard, nor shall you possess it; but you shall dwell in tents all your life, that you may live long on the soil of the land where you sojourn. 8. Thus then have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all which he commanded us, so that we drink no wine all our life, we, our wives, our sons, and our daughters, 9. and that we build no houses for our dwelling, and have no field, and vineyard, and sowing. 10. Thus then we dwell in tents, and obey and do all which Jonadab our father commanded. 11. But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar, king of
this passage shows, for social gatherings and feasts, etc. In the present case a larger hall of the latter kind is meant. Ver. 3. Jaazaniah was the head of the Rechabite family at the time. His name (= Yahveh attends, hearkens) is, like the obscure one of his father, combined with the name of the Israelitish covenant-God; in like manner Jonadab, i.e. Yahveh impels. Ver. 4. Hanan, called a "man of God," and so without doubt a prophet, is otherwise unknown. His "sons" may be also his disciples, who gathered together in this hall. Maaseiah was "keeper of the threshold," which, according to lii. 24, was not a menial office; he is perhaps identical with the one mentioned xxxvii. 3, whose son Zephaniah filled a still higher office. Ver. 6. Jonadab, as an honoured head of the family, having far-reaching moral influence on his posterity, is called "our father" (cf. ver. 10), not Rechab, who appears nowhere in person. Ver. 7. Cf. iv. 5. DiK agrees with 2 Kings xxiv. 2; LXX wrongly puts Assyria instead. This settlement in a city seems to be in contradiction to their regulations, but Babylon, came up to the land, we said: Come and let us go into Jerusalem for the army of the Chaldaeans and the army of the Aramaeans; thus we settled again in Jerusalem.
12. Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah as follows: 13. Thus says Yahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Will you not receive correction to hearken to my words ? is Yahveh's oracle. 14. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, to drink no wine, are in force; and they drink none unto this day, for they obey the command of their father. But I have spoken to you early and diligently, yet you have not hearkened to me. 15. And I sent to you early and diligently all my servants the prophets, with the message: Turn ye now, every one from his evil way, and be diligent in good deeds, and run not after foreign gods to serve them: then shall you dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; but you inclined not your ear, and hearkened not to me! 16. For the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab observed the precepts of their father, which he commanded them, but this people hearkened not to me! 17. Therefore thus says Yahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil which I have spoken respecting them, because I spoke to them, and they hearkened not, and I called to them, but they answered not. 18. And to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said: Thus says Yahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you obeyed the precept of Jonadab your father, and kept all his commands, and did throughout as he bade you: 19. therefore thus says Yahveh of ho3ts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Eechab shall not lack one to stand before me for all time.
was merely a temporary necessity which they did not regard as unfaithfulness to their traditions. Ver. 13. To receive correction, here rebuke by a humiliating example. Ver. 14. nK Dpin, accusative, as often in the passive, Ges. § 143. la; Eng. § 140: the law and covenant of Yahveh is maintained, kept in force, carried out. Ver. 15. Cf. vii. 3, etc. uBn, see on xxv. 5. Ver. 19. As to the form of the promise, cf. xxxiii. 17 f. The promise is not merely that the family will continue, but that its heads will be privileged to serve the Lord, standing in