Jer 35:1-19. Prophecy in the
Reign of Jehoiakim, when the Chaldeans, in Conjunction with the Syrians
and Moabites, Invaded Judea.
By the obedience of the Rechabites to their father,
Jeremiah condemns the disobedience of the Jews to God their Father. The
Holy Spirit has arranged Jeremiah's prophecies by the moral
rather than the chronological connection. From the history of an event
fifteen years before, the Jews, who had brought back their manumitted
servants into bondage, are taught how much God loves and rewards
obedience, and hates and punishes disobedience.
2. Rechabites—a nomadic tribe belonging
to the Kenites of Hemath (1Ch 2:55), of
the family of Jethro, or Hobab, Moses' father-in-law (Ex
18:9, &c.; Nu 10:29-32; Jud 1:16). They came into Canaan with the
Israelites, but, in order to preserve their independence, chose a life
in tents without a fixed habitation (1Sa 15:6). Besides the branch of them associated
with Judah and extending to Amalek, there was another section at
Kadesh, in Naphtali (Jud 4:11, 17). They seem to have been proselytes of
the gate, Jonadab, son of Rechab, whose charge not to drink wine they
so strictly obeyed, was zealous for God (2Ki 10:15-23). The Nabatheans of Arabia observed the
same rules [Diodorus Siculus,
bring … into … house of …
Lord—because there were suitable witnesses at hand there from
among the priests and chief men, as also because he had the power
immediately to address the people assembled there (Jer 35:13). It may have been also as a reproof of
the priests, who drank wine freely, though commanded to refrain from it
when in the discharge of their duties [Calvin].
chambers—which were round about the
temple, applied to various uses, for example, to contain the vestments,
sacred vessels, &c.
3. Jaazaniah—the elder and chief of the
4. man of God—a prophet (De 33:1; 1Sa 2:27; 1Ki 12:22; 2Ki 4:7), also "a servant of God" in general
6:11), one not his own, but
God's; one who has parted with all right in himself to give himself
wholly to God (2Ti 3:17). He
was so reverenced that none would call in question what was transacted
in his chamber.
keeper of the door—Hebrew, "of
the vessel." Probably the office meant is that of the priest who kept
in charge the capitation money paid for the use of the temple and the
votive offerings, such as silver vessels, &c. There were seven such
keepers [Grotius]. Compare 2Ki
12:9; 25:18; 1Ch 9:18, 19,
which support English Version.
I said … Drink—Jeremiah does not
say, The Lord saith, Drink: for then they would have been bound
to obey. Contrast the case in 1Ki 13:7-26.
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].
7. tents—(Jud 4:17).
live many days—according to the
promise connected with the fifth commandment (Ex 20:12; Eph
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).
8. all that he … charged us … all our
days, we … wives … sons …
daughters—unreserved obedience in all particulars, at all
times, and on the part of all, without exception: in these respects
Israel's obedience to God was wanting. Contrast 1Sa 15:20, 21; Ps 78:34-37, 41, 56,
11. Chaldeans … Syrians—when
Jehoiakim revolted from Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki 24:1, 2). Necessity sets aside all other laws.
This is the Rechabites' excuse for their seeming disobedience to
Jonadab in temporarily settling in a city. Herein was seen the
prescient wisdom of Jonadab's commands; they could at a moment's notice
migrate, having no land possessions to tie them.
14. obey … father's commandment:
notwithstanding I—(Mal 1:6).
rising early and speaking—God
Himself speaking late and early by His various ways of providence
15. In Jer 35:15 and in 2Ch 36:15, a distinct mode of address is alluded
to, namely, God sending His servants. (Jer 18:11;
25:5, 6). I enjoined nothing
unreasonable, but simply to serve Me, and I attached to the command a
gracious promise, but in vain. If Jonadab's commands, which were
arbitrary and not moral obligations in themselves, were obeyed, much
more ought Mine, which are in themselves right.
17. because I have spoken … not heard
… I … called … not answered—(Pr 1:24; Isa
19. not want a man to stand before
me—There shall always be left representatives of the clan
to worship Me (Jer 15:1, 19); or, "before Me" means simple
existence, for all things in existence are in God's sight
89:36). The Rechabites
returned from the captivity. Wolff found
traces of them in Arabia.