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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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("Jehovah makes freely willing"): JEHONADAB or JONADAB. 2 Kings 10:15; 2 Kings 10:23; Jeremiah 35:8; Jeremiah 35:14; Jeremiah 35:16; Jeremiah 35:18; 1 Chronicles 2:55; "the (four) families of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez ... the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab" ("the rider".) (See JABEZ.) Rechab, father of Jehonadab, belonged to the Kenites connected with Israel through Moses' marriage; these (Heber and Jael) with Israel entered Canaan, and shared their inheritance, though remaining nomads in tents, some in the far N. (Judges 4:11), others made their "nest" in the rocks of Engedi (Judges 1:16; Numbers 24:21), others near their native desert in southern Judah (1 Samuel 15:6). (See HEBER; JAEL; ENGEDI.)

Jehonadab, the tribe father of the Rechabites, enjoined the rule of the clan on his children the more strictly because these were brought into close contact with the settled community, which would tempt them to neglect it, namely, to dwell in tents and not build houses, not to sow seed or plant vineyards. This rule they observed with such filial obedience as to secure the promise "that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," fifth commandment. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 35) argues, a fortiori, if earthly sons so honour their father how much more ought Judah, to whom God hath commanded "Return ye now every man from his evil way" by His prophets, "rising early and speaking," hearken to the heavenly Father; yet Judah has not done so. Both therefore shall fare accordingly: Judah shall suffer all the evil pronounced against her; "Jehonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before Jehovah for ever." Compare Malachi 1:6.

Jehonadab by his strict asceticism was held in high repute in Israel, as well as in his own tribe; Jehu desired his countenance, that so he might without any opposition carry out the slaughter of the Baal worshippers. Jehu "blessed" Jehonadab (margin 2 Kings 10:15) on meeting him, and asked, Is thy heart right (true) as my heart is with thy heart? Jehonadab gave his hand in token of pledged fellowship (Ezra 10:19). Then Jehu took him up to him in his chariot and imparted his secret plan. Jehonadab's followers by his strict rule on the one hand avoided possible collision with the settled Israelites among whom they were; and Diodorus Siculus (19:94) gives a like picture of the Nabathaean Arabs, "it is a law with them neither to sow grain, nor to plant fruit-bearing plants, nor to use wine, nor to provide a house."

On the other hand, as a half religious sect, indirectly originating from Elijah's and Elisha's reforming efforts, and copying the Nazarite rule in part (compare Amos 2:11), they maintained the true religion as far as they knew it by avoiding needless association with the degenerate people around. Such a sincere zealot as Jehonadab was just the ally whom the fiery self seeking (See JEHU wanted. The name Rechab, "rider," may also imply their unsettled pilgrim state, from which they deviated only when in fear of Nebuchadnezzar they took refuge within Jerusalem; but even there they would not for any consideration violate the law of their forefather. (See RECHAB.) Jehonadab is last mentioned in accompanying Jehu into Baal's temple, to remove all Jehovah's secret worshippers (2 Kings 10:23), whom probably his previous knowledge of them in the desert would enable him to discern.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Jehonadab'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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