Jeremiah 35 – “The Lesson of the Rechabites”

wine bottles row glass Hebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Jeremiah tempts the Rechabites with wine but they abstain in accordance with their tradition. Yahweh promises to bring devastation to the people of Judah, who, unlike the Rechabites, do not keep their traditions.

II. Photo

Jeremiah tempts the Rechabites: “I set before the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, ‘Have some wine.’” (v. 5)

III. Select Verses

5-10:  Then I set before the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, “Have some wine.” But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab commanded us, ‘You shall never drink wine, neither you nor your children;  nor shall you ever build a house, or sow seed; nor shall you plant a vineyard, or even own one; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you reside.’ We have obeyed the charge of our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, and not to build houses to live in. We have no vineyard or field or seed; but we have lived in tents, and have obeyed and done all that our ancestor Jonadab commanded us.

11: But when King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and the army of the Arameans.’ That is why we are living in Jerusalem.”

13-15: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Can you not learn a lesson and obey my words? says the LORD. The command has been carried out that Jonadab son of Rechab gave to his descendants to drink no wine; and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their ancestor’s command. But I myself have spoken to you persistently, and you have not obeyed me.  I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now everyone of you from your evil way, and amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall live in the land that I gave to you and your ancestors.’ But you did not incline your ear or obey me.

18-19: But to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of your ancestor Jonadab, and kept all his precepts, and done all that he commanded you,  therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab son of Rechab shall not lack a descendant to stand before me for all time.

IV. Outline

1-11. The Rechabites keep their traditions

    1. Introduction: the time of Jehoiakim

    2. Jeremiah is told to offer wine to the Rechabites

    3-5. Jeremiah offers wine to the Rechabites

    6-10. The Rechabites decline, in accordance with their ancestor’s wish

    11. Why the Rechabites are in Jerusalem

12-19. The Rechabites compared to Judah

    12. Introduction

    13-14a. The Rechabites keep their tradition

    14b-16. The people have not kept the tradition of Yahweh

    17. Jerusalem and Judah will be punished

    18-19. The Rechabites will never be wiped out from Jerusalem


V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http:// saraceli .com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/bigstock-Row-of-vintage-wine-bottles-in-82632113.jpg