Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 35

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-19

Chapter 35

The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim ( Jeremiah 35:1 )

So we're going back even further now, even before Zedekiah was the king. This prophecy came way back in the time of Jehoiakim.

the son of Josiah the king of Judah, saying, Go to the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and set before them wine to drink. Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brothers, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; And I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door ( Jeremiah 35:1-4 ):

So a lot of names that don't mean much to us. But what he's saying is that God said, "Go to the Rechabites and bring them into this particular chamber in the temple and set wine before them." So he did it.

And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups; and I said unto them, Drink some wine. But they said, We will not drink wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, You shall drink no wine, neither your sons for ever: Neither shall you build houses, nor are you to plant fields, or vineyards, nor have any: but all of your days you are to dwell in tents; that you may live many days in the land wherein you are strangers. So we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he charged us, not to drink wine all our days, we, nor our wives, nor our sons, nor our daughters; Nor have we built houses for us to dwell in: neither have we any vineyards, nor fields, nor seeds: But we have dwelt in tents, and obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has come into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem because we fear the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we are dwelling at Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 35:5-11 ).

So here is this Nomadic group of people. They are Bedouin types who are living in tents. They don't drink wine. And you'll find today around Jerusalem and around Israel still you'll find these Bedouins living in tents. Now the Israeli government tried to build houses for them and a housing settlement. But the people just don't like living in houses. And the houses that were built for them by the Israeli government are vacant. They won't... They prefer their tents still. These Bedouins are still around the area. They're interesting people to observe. They don't drink wine or they don't plant fields. They are, most of them, just shepherds. They don't have vineyards. They just move from place to place living in tents. And so they're interesting people indeed. The Bedouins are similar to these Rechabites who way back one of the fathers said, "Hey, don't drink wine, don't build houses, live in tents, don't plant vineyards," you know. And so here they're keeping it. They're obeying this guy of hundreds of years ago who gave the command to the family. So here they're still following it.

So the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD. The words of Jonadab ( Jeremiah 35:12-14 )

Just this ancestor of these people.

the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they don't drink any wine, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but you did not hearkened unto me ( Jeremiah 35:14 ).

Now God is showing the incongruency of this whole thing. "Look, here are these people. I'm offering them wine, they won't drink." Why? Because way back in their ancestry, one of their dads says, "Now don't drink wine, son, and don't let your children drink wine." And to this day they are obeying the voice of Jonadab. And God said, "I have spoken unto you but you haven't listened to My voice. You haven't hearkened to Me. Now here is a group of people hearkening unto one of their fathers. But here I have spoken and you won't hearken to Me."

I have also sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and you shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but you have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered ( Jeremiah 35:15-17 ).

So I'm going to bring upon them all of the evil.

And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and you have kept all of his precepts, and done all that he commanded you: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever ( Jeremiah 35:18-19 ).

So these people still exist. God says, "I won't let them get wiped out. They'll remain." They do. The Rechabites who still obey Jonadab their ancestor and follow after his orders and refuse to live in houses but dwell in tents and don't plant vineyards. An interesting class of people, and God says, "They'll remain. My people they're going to get wiped out. They'll be scattered and all. But these Rechabites they can stay."

Now these things were all written for our instruction. It's not that we are to look at the people of Israel and say, "Oh, isn't that horrible? The things that they did. How they refused to obey God and they turned their backs on God and not their face. Isn't that awful that they broke the covenant of God? Isn't that awful that they worshipped these false gods? Isn't that terrible that God had to bring judgment on them?" It's not so that we can criticize them. It's so that we will learn not to follow after false idols ourselves. That we will learn to hearken to the voice of God and to obey His voice. That we will seek the Lord with all of our hearts. That we will live a life that is pleasing unto Him. That we will not follow their example of turning away from God, but will live unto God a life of righteousness before Him.

So may God be with you and bless you and help you this week to live a life that is pleasing before the Lord. Doing the work of God. Obeying the commandment of His voice. Walking in fellowship with Him. God be with you and bless you and keep you and give you a beautiful week in Christ Jesus. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 35". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.