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CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES.—1. Chronology of the Chapter. Seventeen years earlier than the preceding narrative of the manumission of the slaves; about the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign. From Jeremiah 35:11 we find that these Rechabites were driven from the desert-scenes they inhabited into Jerusalem for shelter, consequent upon the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar. These conquests began with the victory at Charchemish; and at the end of the same year as that decisive battle against Egypt, he invaded Judea, in order to quell Jehoiakim’s revolt (comp. 2 Kings 24:1-2). Cf. Notes on chaps. 7 and 20.
2. National Affairs. The defeat of the Egyptians at Charchemish had produced on all surrounding nations a sense of insecurity. These Rechabites, apprehensive of peril, took refuge within Jerusalem, pitching their black tents on the open spaces inside the city’s walls,—a remarkable and admonitory sight!
3. Personal Allusions. Jeremiah 35:2. See infra on “Rechabites.” Jeremiah 35:3. “Jaazaniah:” unknown except from this reference. “Son of Jeremiah:” not the prophet Jeremiah; it was a frequent name. “Habaziniah:” apparently, from the form of this allusion to him, the chief of the Rechabites at this time. Jeremiah 35:4. “Hanan:” being called here “a man of God,” leads some to connect him with Hanani (2 Chronicles 16:7; 2 Chronicles 19:2). “Igdaliah:” the Hebrew form, Yigdalyahu, is more commonly contracted into Gedaliah. Jeremiah 35:6. “Jonadab, son of Rechab,” belonged to the Kenites (1 Chronicles 2:55), the Arabian tribe which entered Canaan with the Israelites. He was an Arab chief, and created a semi-Jewish religious sect, which we here find in existence nearly three hundred years after.
4. Manners and Customs. Jeremiah 35:6-7. “Drink no wine.” &c. See infra on “Rechabites.”
5. Literary Criticism. Jeremiah 35:2. “The house of the Rechabites:” not the dwelling house, for they had none, they lived in tents; but “house” in the sense of family.
TOPICAL SURVEY OF CHAPTER 35
THE RECHABITES’ VOW OF ABSTINENCE
“Give them wine to drink” (Jeremiah 35:2); “We will drink no wine” (Jeremiah 35:6).
For nearly three centuries these descendants of Jehonadab had abstained from intoxicants. God sent Jeremiah with a test of fidelity to their vow; not a command to violate it. They avowed their unfaltering purpose to stand faithful to their habit and pledge of abstinence.
Habitual abstinence from intoxicants may be urged therefore as—
I. Founded on precedent. Reverence for their ancestor kept them loyal for so long a period. Such an example has its influence; awakening respect for him who sets it; urging the duty of imitation upon others.
II. Approved by utility. Had drinking wine been permitted, it would have entailed the culture of the vine, and that would require settled residence. But Jonadab wished to maintain among his followers the purer morality and manlier habits of the desert, as contrasted with the laxity and effeminacy of city life. Abstinence would keep them independent of decoys to luxury, and out of the reach of city allurements and influences.
III. Desirable for safety. Character is safer if abstinence is practised. Simplicity of life is less open to contamination if the company of wine-drinkers is shunned. Mental perceptions and moral obligations are less likely to be obscured and obliterated in abstainers, as this chapter emphatically proves.
See Addenda: ABSTINENCE.
THE RECHABITES’ CONSTANCY
“Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us” (Jeremiah 35:6). “We have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us” (Jeremiah 35:10).
I. Obedience to man and disobedience to God contrasted (Jeremiah 35:12-15).
1. For three hundred years (cf. 2 Kings 10:15) the sons of Rechab implicitly obeyed the injunction of their father Jonadab.
(1.) Obedience to this injunction required great self-denial, singularity of conduct, and many privations.
(2.) Notwithstanding these requirements, the sons of Rechab are the most illustrious examples of filial obedience the world has ever known.
2. The Jewish nation, called the children of God, have never continued for one hundred consecutive years obedient to their Father in heaven.
(1.) Not because God had not given them plain and earnest injunctions (Jeremiah 35:15).
(2.) Not because they could not obey (Jeremiah 35:16, loc. cit.)
3. This contrast is a sad one, and is true in our day.
II. God sets His seal of approval on filial obedience (Jeremiah 35:16-19).
1. The surest and mightiest agency we have for the establishment of righteousness on the earth is filial obedience to that which is good.
2. The reflexive power of filial obedience is a mighty force in the establishment of true character.
III. The peculiar injunction of Jonadab in respect to total abstinence from intoxicants is worthy the careful study of parents and statesmen, as well as that of the Church of Christ (Jeremiah 35:6).
1. Can anything short of total abstinence ensure our youth and nation from drunkenness and all its fearful consequences?
2. Can there be any valid argument offered against this form of self-denial?
3. Would not the domestic, social, and national benefits accruing from total abstinence amply repay every Christian parent and patriot for its practice?
—REV. D. C. HUGHES.
See Addenda: PERMANENCE OF THE RECHABITES.
Jeremiah 35:18-19. OBEDIENCE TO TRADITIONS OF ANCESTORS
Rechabites originally Kenites (Judges 1:16; 1 Chronicles 2:55). Attached to Moses by a near and dear connection (Exodus 2:21); and, agreeing with Israelites in worship of Jehovah, the Kenites followed them to Canaan, where they dwelt peacefully. God cared for their safety (1 Samuel 15:6); and hundreds of years after we find them still a distinct people, held up by God as example to Jews for their attachment to customs of ancestors, and honoured by Him with gracious and remarkable promise of perpetual endurance of their family.
Told little of Jonadab, though in honour of him the Kenites changed their name to Rechabites (comp. this chapter with 2 Kings 10:0.) Evidently a man of high character and popularity, for Jehu paid him extraordinary respect and attention; and we may guess, from the manner in which Jehu commends his own zeal, that he had been remarkable, in those evil and irreligious times, for fidelity to God, notwithstanding the threats and enticements of Ahab and Jezebel, and the bad example of Israelitish nation. Great influence over his clan; for two hundred years after his death we find them here observing his injunctions. God contrasts this with Jews’ indifference to ordinances of Divine authority. We cannot fix on any clan of the Kenites in whom this promise has been fulfilled; yet doubtless, though having forgotten their own ancestry, they are divinely preserved among the wandering tribes of those wildernesses where Rechabites dwelt. From this example may be inferred—
I. How well-pleasing in God’s sight is obedience to parental authority, respectful attention to the discipline and traditions of former times, when these are recommended to us by the example and authority of good and honourable ancestors. (1.) Where the institutions of society are preserved, the permanence of the society is greatly secured. (2.) God here gives promise of perpetuity. (3.) The specific reason given (Jeremiah 35:18), because they adhered to the rules of their ancestors. Yet these rules were not divinely imperative; they related to things strictly indifferent, abstain from wine and live in tents. Hence, God regards with no common approbation adherence to customs and traditions of forefathers (Proverbs 21:24).
There are, however, limitations to this rule—
1. The precept or custom, if it be not good in itself, must at least be a matter of indifference. What at first was evil cannot become good by lapse of time. No precedent can make lawful what God has forbidden.
2. If this ordinance, though in itself harmless, should produce any breach of God’s laws; if it should, in time, become so applied as to become mischievous, the commandment of God must not be made of none effect by our tradition. Where two authors are at variance, God must be heard, not man (Matthew 15:5-6; Mark 7:11-13). The custom, in order to be binding, must be lawful.
3. It must proceed from competent and authoritative persons. Jonadab was probably a chieftain, but his regulations had continued for two hundred years; this origin and antiquity gave force to his rules. But the rules of human wisdom, and those absolutely and universally binding, given by God Himself, must be distinguished. Must not “teach as doctrines the commandments of men.” Thus the Rechabites did not violate God’s moral code, as though inferior in importance to the laws of their society; and, though a breach of those laws in their community could be punished with expulsion, they did not count others accursed who enjoyed moderately indulgences they forbade. Jeremiah drank wine before them yet they treated him with respect and deference.
4. There may be cases of necessity for the repeal or suspension of such human and ceremonial customs or laws. Thus here they fled to houses for protection from Assyrian invaders (Jeremiah 35:11). So our Saviour “profaned” the ceremonial rules about the Sabbath (Matthew 12:7). But for no ends must God’s laws be violated, however good we deem them. The Ruler of heaven and earth has no need of our insolent and impious interference.
II. With these restrictions, obedience to existing laws and institutions is pleasing to God, and here received a very marked approbation. Hence—
1. The falsehood of their opinion who think that laws merely human have no sanction except in the punishments they inflict.
2. A caution in times of change, when novelties are sought with frantic eagerness. Taught reverence for ancient precedent.
Fondness for change is displeasing to God; for—(1.) It is a symptom and stimulus to a lightness of mind unfriendly both to happiness and piety. (2.) New customs, or systematic departure from ancient habits, arise almost always from vanity, or something worse. (3.) Where a rule is harmless, it is almost always advantageous; increases our habits of obedience, and therefore not without inherent grace.
Hence it is necessary to obey, not only for wrath but also for conscience’ sake; the wisest of men exhorts us not to meddle with those who are given to change. Jeremiah commands us not to exchange old ways for new ones; and a Divine blessing rests on those who reverence ancestral institutions.
III. If human regulations are observed, though burdensome, can we reflect without shame on our continued disobedience to Divine commands? (Jeremiah 35:13-14.) Deep contrition and alarm shall awake within us. We need God’s forgiveness for former provocations; and that He may not call on us in vain hereafter, we need hearts subdued by the searching graces of His Holy Spirit, through the merits and mediation of our Saviour.—Condensed and arranged from Bishop Reginald Heber, A.D. 1838.
See Addenda: OBEDIENCE TO ANCESTORS.
THE REWARDS OF OBEDIENCE
“The words of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, 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” (Jeremiah 35:14).
The historical circumstances first demand attention.
The family of the Rechabites were descendants of Jethro, father-in-law of Moses; came into Canaan with the Israelites, and settled in southern part of Judea; were worshippers of the true God, but did not conform to Jewish rites. It has ever been deemed a great difficulty in political economy to maintain “an empire within an empire;” but this little tribe solved the problem; for it preserved an independent existence among the Israelites for nearly one thousand years, and, though neither acknowledging their worship nor their laws, was suffered to remain undisturbed by ambition or religious persecution.
They accomplished this result thus:—About five hundred years after their settlement in Canaan, lived that Jonadab, a very distinguished man among his people; is said to have assisted Jehu in rooting out idolatry from Israel. He saw that his people were but a handful among a more powerful people, and likely soon to be swallowed up by their neighbours, and he hit upon a happy method of preserving their independent existence. 1. He enjoined them “not to drink wine;” this was to save them from luxury and intemperance, which would prey upon them from within, and make them ripe for destruction. 2. Also commanded them “not to till the ground, nor to have any houses, nor to dwell in cities;” this was in order that they might have no riches to tempt others to make war upon them; and thus, to use his own words, “they might live many days in the land wherein they were strangers.” Luxury and wealth are the bane of nations, and by keeping his tribe a simple, pastoral people, pure in their habits, and destitute of property, he accomplished his wishes for them.
I. Notice the obedience of the Rechabites, contrasted with the disobedience of Israel to God. An ancestor of that family, dead nearly three hundred years, had issued his commands, and they were still obeyed; but the living God had spoken repeatedly to Israel, by His prophets, yet they would not hear. The commands of Jonadab, too, were very arbitrary. There could be no sin in cultivating the fields, or in living in houses, whatever moral worth there may have been in the precept to drink no wine; but still, because Jonadab commanded it, they obeyed. Compelled by necessity to disobey him on this occasion; for when the Chaldeans invaded the land, they were obliged to go and dwell in Jerusalem for protection. And here occurred the trial of their obedience by Jeremiah. He called the family together, and set wine before them, inviting them to drink, not tempting them to break their pledge, but knowing that they would keep it, and meaning thereby to reprove the Israelites. They refused the wine, and pleaded the command of Jonadab as their excuse. How pointed was then the rebuke of the prophet! Jonadab was obeyed. But the Israelites—who had reasonable, not arbitrary, laws from God, not from a frail mortal; from the living God, who had loaded them with benefits, and could still reward them; not from a dead ancestor who had done little for them, and could do nothing more—had rebelled against their Maker, and would not hearken unto Him.
The complaint of God has still an application.
It is a fact, that among sinners, any and every law, precept, or tradition, of mere human authority, is better obeyed than the laws of God Himself. No matter who speaks, if he has gained credit among his fellowmen; no matter how absurd the law or usage, if it has been sanctioned by custom or a good name, there is obedience such as God cannot win. “I am come in My Father’s name,” said our Lord, “and ye receive Me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”
See, in a few instances, how this has been verified. Mahomet arose, a sensualist, an adulterer, a breaker of treaties, and a robber, and issued his commands, which for centuries have been religiously obeyed. At the cry of the muezzin, and the hour of prayer, every follower of his, whether in the desert, on board the ship, in the city, or the field, suspends his labour, his pleasures, and even his griefs, and casts himself upon his knees in prayer. No scoffing looks of those of another creed can make him forego this, no distance from home leads him to forget it; but whether he be in gay Paris or his own Stamboul, he omits not his ablutions or devotions. But the blessed Jesus, pure, peaceful, and glorious, speaks, and even those who acknowledge Him as Lord over all, and own the goodness of His commands, can listen to such words as, “This do in remembrance of Me,” and obey them not.
The founder of some monkish order, again, has enjoined upon all his fraternity certain rules and austerities, and he is obeyed. Day after day, and year after year, the same tedious round of ceremonies is gone through with, as though salvation depended upon it, and the deluded ones will rise at the midnight hour to inflict stripes upon themselves or to offer prayer. But Christ may enjoin the reasonable duty of praying to our Father in spirit and in truth, and multitudes can suffer days and years to pass, and pray not.
The commander of the order of Jesuits can place his inferior priests in any country of the world, and whether the mandate be to act as father-confessor in some palace, or to penetrate to China or Paraguay, there is no more resistance nor apparent regard for the sacrifices to be made than in the machinery which is moved by mechanic power. Christ commands His disciples to “go preach the Gospel to every creature,” but only here and there one goes forth. The Rechabites of modern times, and Sons of Temperance, may institute a vow of temperance, and it is kept; or command one of their number to minister to the sick, and it is done; or provide well for their poor; but Christ says that “no drunkard shall enter heaven,” and enjoins charity to the sick and the destitute, while many heed Him not.
Caution:—1. Because religion is less powerful than something else to enforce obedience, we are not to think less of its truth. Said an infidel, “Temperance societies are better than Christianity, because they can produce reforms which your boasted religion has failed to achieve.” But temperance societies were originated by Christians, and have achieved the good they have done through Christian influence.
2. The lack of power to compel obedience does not prove the lack of right to claim it. Heathenism is not better than Christianity, because it can speak and be so literally obeyed; nor Popery than Protestantism, because the commands of pope or priest are received with a more implicit deference; nor Mahometanism better than our faith, because its followers so strictly heed the false prophet’s precepts. When God speaks there is always a reason why His commands are disobeyed—Men speak and are obeyed, because they do not command an utter renunciation of sin, they only enjoin some external duty or moral obedience which may leave the heart to sin in other matters as it pleases; while God demands holiness in everything, and, therefore, fails of receiving obedience. What a proof have we hence of the necessity of a new heart! What a motive to pray for such a change!
II. The rewards of obedience. That family of Rechabites remained an independent community for about one thousand years, that is, during all the time that the Israelites continued in their land. God promised, as reward for their filial piety, temperance, and contempt of luxury, “that Jonadab, the son of Rechab, should not want a man to stand before him for ever.”
Modern travellers, moreover, state that the Rechabites are still in existence. Mr. Wolf, the famous Jewish missionary, asserts this as his belief. “And another traveller who visited a tract to the south of Judea, which has been unexplored for centuries, met there a native who claimed to be a Rechabite, and when an Arabic Bible was shown to him, turned to this chapter and read from it the description of his people, and said that it was still true of them, and that they still kept the precepts of Jonadab their father. Over three thousand years have passed away since that family of the Kenites came with Israel into Canaan, and for two thousand years no traces of them were preserved; but now, after so long a lapse of time, recent discoveries have brought them to light, retaining their name, and glorying in their independence. Though surrounded by Mahometan Arabs, they conform to the law of Moses, yet maintaining that they are not Israelites; and are much hated by the Mussulman.” This account was given by a traveller so late as 1832, and is confirmed by English residents at Mocha, and from other sources.
Note.—We have here one of the most extraordinary accomplishments of prophecy on record. A little handful of people, not larger than one of our Indian tribes, has kept upon the same spot for about one hundred generations, while all the neighbouring nations have undergone change and dissolution.
No doubt every promise of God’s Word is as abundantly fulfilled. We may not always be able to trace out their literal accomplishment as strikingly as in this case, but we never could prove one promise in all the Bible false; and the more light we have the more abundantly do we see that all have been “yea and amen.” Let us rest upon God’s Word. Exceeding great and precious promises are given to us in the sacred book. They are like good notes from a prompt paymaster, falling due at different times.
And all the precious promises of eternity shall yet be realised by God’s people: about “the golden city,” and “the harpers with their harps,” and “the innumerable company of saints and angels,” and “the glory of God filling the temple.” The unchangeable faithfulness of God to His declarations is a most delightful theme to a Christian. It is the rock on which he rests. God has promised; he believes.
Happy the man who has these precious promises for his own, and can use them and rely upon them!—Rev. W. H. Lewis, D.D., Brooklyn, 1871.
OUTLINES ON VERSES OF CHAPTER 35
Jeremiah 35:4. Theme: “A MAN OF GOD.”
Between a man of God in the Old Testament and a Christian in the New, no difference; convertible terms: alike in all that relates to moral character and religious faith. Called “a man of God” because he is God’s workmanship: He made him what he is. “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
He is the noblest of God’s works; the highest type of man.
I. He is the holiest of men.
1. Every holy thing under heaven he admires: holy Bible, holy Sabbath, Sanctuary, Supper, &c.
2. Every holy duty he loves: prayer, praise, &c.
3. His love of holy men is noticeable: the “holy brethren” of whatever Church.
II. He is the wisest of men.
1. His wisdom is seen in the provision he makes for his everlasting future.
2. He is prepared for all the contingencies of time: for storms, he has anchorage; for temptations, “the whole armour of God,” &c.
III. He is the best of men.
1. He has been “created after the image of Him who created him.” And he is the best who is most Godlike.
2. He is best adapted to promote the glory of God.
IV. He is the richest of men.
1. His wealth is of the highest kind: spiritual riches.
2. His wealth he can never lose: durable riches.
V. He is the most honoured of men.
1. To him belongs the honour of sonship.
2. Of priesthood.
3. Of daily converse with God.
4. Of being clothed with the garments of salvation.
VI. He has the fairest prospects of all men.
1. Of an “abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2. Of a deathless, felicitous existence.
3. Of association with the purest, noblest, highest of beings.
4. Of “an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled,” &c.
Who would not wish to be “a man of God”?—Rev. D. Pledge, “Walks with the Prophet Jeremiah.”
Note.—Trapp observes that this “man of God” was a priest and prophet, or teacher of the people. So in the New Testament others are called God’s children, His servants, and His people; but ministers only are called “God’s men” (1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 3:17).
Jeremiah 35:15. Theme: GOD’S EARNESTNESS IN DEALING WITH SINNERS. “Rising up early,” &c.
See Homily on chap. Jeremiah 7:13.
Jeremiah 35:15. Theme: SINNERS ADMONISHED TO RETURN TO GOD. “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.”
The Israelites were a rebellious people; but He “sent His servants the prophets, rising up early,” &c. God desires not the death of a sinner. To save men from present and eternal ruin, He appointed Christ as the Mediator. He has sent His servants to proclaim this mercy, and to invite sinners to return to the enjoyment of His favour. And what is the design of the Gospel ministry now? It is “to turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God,” &c. (Acts 26:18).
I. What the exhortation presupposes.
1. That there has been a departure from God. “Return ye.”
2. This departure is universal. “Every man.” “For all have sinned,” &c. (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:19-23).
3. This departure is flagrantly wicked. “Evil way.” (a) Evil in its nature; (b) evil in its influence; (c) evil in its consequences.
II. To what reforms the exhortation points. “Return ye,” &c.
1. Deep conviction of the evil and dangerous nature of a wicked career.
2. Contrition of heart, and confession of sin to God.
3. The renunciation of every evil way.
4. Supreme love and loyalty to God.
III. Compliance with this request
is urgent. “Return ye now,” because—
1. Life is short and uncertain.
2. Sin is hardening and deceitful.
3. You will escape the greatest evils and realise the most exalted pleasures.
4. The longer you delay the less probability there is that you will ever return.
5. The present is the only time in which we are authorised to tell you you can be saved.
IV. The happy result of returning to God. “Ye shall dwell in the land.”
1. The land. The Israelites entered Canaan. But Canaan a faint type of heaven to which believers are called.
2. It will be the residence of God’s people. “Ye shall dwell” there in fulness of joy, and at God’s right hand. Your “sun shall no more go down.”
—Helps for the Pulpit.
Jeremiah 35:15. Theme: SINNERS SUMMONED TO SELF-IMPROVEMENT. “Amend your doings.”
See Homily on chap. Jeremiah 7:3.
Jeremiah 35:16. Theme: TRUE OBEDIENCE SHOWN IN THE CONTRASTED CONDUCT of Israel and the Rechabites. “But this people hath not hearkened unto Me.”
The Rechabites’ obedience to their ancestor’s command is in itself praise-worthy and exemplary. It is perfectly accordant with the Fourth Commandment.
Were the Rechabites equally conscientious in their observance of the DIVINE commands? Would not a custom contrary to the Divine command have been retained with equal tenacity on the authority of their chief?
I. The Rechabites put Israel to shame, in so far as they obey the command of their earthly ancestor, while the latter does not obey the Lord’s command.
II. The obedience of the Rechabites to the command of their earthly ancestor is, however, no pledge of their obedience to the commands of God.
III. Obedience to God’s commands is guaranteed only among the spiritual Israel, i.e., among those who by the Holy Spirit have become members of a higher order of nature, in which the will of God is written in the hearts of all, and has consequently become the innermost principle of life.
I. In respect to legal obedience, the
Jews are surpassed by the Rechabites. Note the difference between Israel and the Rechabites in this respect.
II. The obedience of the Rechabites to their ancestor does not guarantee obedience to God. Note the equality of Israel and the Rechabites in this respect.
III. Only spiritual Israel bears in itself the guarantee of obedience to God. Note the higher status of the spiritual Israel over the Rechabites.—Comp. Naegelsbach in Lange.
Jeremiah 35:19. Theme: PERMANENCE OF THE RECHABITES. “Of so great a price in the sight of God is the virtue of filial duty and obedience, that it seldom fails of its reward even in this world. The law which enjoined it had a promise of long life attached to it (Exodus 20:12); and it is distinguished by the Apostle as ‘the first commandment with promise’ (Ephesians 6:2).
“And by this history of the Rechabites we may learn that the surest way to entail a blessing on our children, and to perpetuate our names and families in a numerous and virtuous issue, is to reverence and obey our own parents.”—Wogan.
See Addenda: PERMANENCE OF THE RECHABITES.
ADDENDA TO CHAP. 35: ILLUSTRATIONS AND SUGGESTIVE EXTRACTS
OBEDIENCE TO ANCESTORS. Μὴ καλὸν κρίνειν εναντία τοῖς θεοῖς, πατρι καὶ διδασκάλῳ.—Aris. Rhe. “It is not good for a man to dissent from the gods, from his father, and from his teacher.”
We read of a king of Poland who carried the picture of his father in a plate of gold about his neck; and when he was entering upon any great business he would kiss the picture and say, “God grant I may observe my father’s charge, and do nothing unworthy of him.”—Trapp.
Absalom’s pillar (2 Samuel 18:18) is still standing, according to Sandys; and the Turks, whenever they pass, throw a stone at it, in token of their horror at his unnatural conduct against his father.
“Against diseases here the strongest fence
Is the defensive virtue Abstinence.”
“Though I look old, yet I am young and lusty;
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood.”
“Thou sparkling bowl! thou sparkling bowl!
Though lips of bards thy brim may press,
And eyes of beauty o’er thee roll,
And songs and dance thy power confess—
I will not touch thee; for there clings
A scorpion to thy side that stings.”
Diodorus tells us that the Nabathæans, for the preservation of their wandering habits and therefore of their liberty, forbade any one “either to sow corn, or plant fruit-trees, or drink wine, or build a house.”
PERMANENCE OF THE RECHABITES. Information on this remarkable fact may be obtained from Dr. Wolff’s “Journal of his Travels in Yemen and Mesopotamia,” pp. 388, 389; and “Travels,” ii. pp. 298–300; and Pusey on “Daniel,” p. 268. In Kitto’s Daily Bible Illustrations, Evening Series, “Isaiah and the Prophets,” will be found most helpful information on the “Modern Rechabites.”
Dr. Wolff’s account is this:—At Jalovha, in Mesopotamia, a Rechabite was pointed out to him. “I saw one standing before me dressed and wild like an Arab, the bridle of his horse holding in his hand. I showed him the Bible in Hebrew and Arabic: he read both languages, and was rejoiced to see the Bible; he was not acquainted with the New Testament. After having proclaimed to him the tidings of salvation, and made him a present of the Hebrew and Arabic Bibles and Testaments, I asked him—
“ ‘Whose descendant are you?’
“Mousa (that was his name), with a loud voice, ‘Come, I show to you;’ and then he began to read Jeremiah 35:5-11.
“Wolff. ‘Where do you reside?’
“Mousa (recurring to Genesis 10:27).
‘At Hadoram, now called Samar by the Arab; at Usal, now called Sanaa by the Arabs; and (Genesis 10:30) at Mesha, now called Mecca, in the deserts around those places. We drink no wine and plant no vineyard, and sow no seed, and live in tents, as Jonadab our father commanded us. Hobab was our father too. Come to us: you will find still 60,000 in number; and you see thus prophecy has been fulfilled. ‘Therefore, thus saith the Lord, Jonadab, the son of Rechab, shall not want a man to stand before Me for ever.’ ”
“And saying this, Mousa mounted his horse, and fled away, and left behind him a host of evidence of Sacred Writ.”
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Jeremiah 35". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19