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35:1-45:5 EVENTS IN JUDAH AND EGYPT
A lesson from the Rechabites (35:1-19)
Events recorded in the book of Jeremiah are not in chronological order, and Jeremiah now takes the readers back to the reign of Jehoiakim. He recounts a story concerning the Rechabites, a community of local tribal people who lived peaceably among the Israelites (1 Chronicles 2:55). The Rechabites were forbidden by their long-standing customs to drink wine. They were true worshippers of Yahweh and were fiercely anti-Baal (cf. 2 Kings 10:15-16,2 Kings 10:23-27). God told Jeremiah to test their loyalty to their ideals by offering them wine to drink (35:1-2). Jeremiah carried out the test in the temple, where officials could witness the event (3-5).
The Rechabites refused to touch the wine. They pointed out that their ancestors had forbidden them to drink wine or to carry on agricultural occupations of any sort (apparently because of the temptations to Baal worship that such occupations provided). They had always lived a simple nomadic life, living in tents rather than building houses (6-9). This nomadic life also enabled them to avoid the corrupting influences of city life; though when the Babylonian armies invaded Judah, they had been forced to flee to Jerusalem for temporary refuge (10-11).
Jeremiah now uses this as a lesson to the people of Judah. The Rechabites remain faithful to the laws of their ancestors, but the Judeans are not faithful to the law of God (12-16). God therefore will preserve the Rechabites through the bloodshed that will come upon Jerusalem (17-19).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 35". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany