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Jer 35:1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
Ver. 1. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord. ] The eighteenth sermon, ordine tamen arbitario non naturali, delivered various years before the former, and here placed, not in its proper order, but as it pleased him that collected them into this book.
Jer 35:2 Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.
Ver. 2. Go unto the house of the Rechabites. ] So called of one Rechab, the father of, Jonadab, who was famous for his piety in Jehu’s days, 2Ki 10:15 three hundred years at least before this prophecy of Jeremiah. They were of the posterity of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, and lived up and down in the land upon their employments, weaned from the world, and exercising themselves in the law of God. See 1 Chronicles 2:55 , where they are called the "families of the scribes that dwelt at Jabez," as being men learned in the laws of God. Of them came the Essenes, a studious and abstemious sect among the Jews; and they might better than those Donatists have taken to themselves the title of Apotactici, so called from their renouncing the world.
And give them wine to drink. ] Heb., Make them drink wine - i.e., set it before them, and then leave them to their own liberty.
Jer 35:3 Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites;
Ver. 3. Then I took Jaazaniah. ] Whether actually or in vision only it skilleth not; but the former way probably.
Jer 35:4 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:
Ver. 4. And I brought them into the house of the Lord. ] That it might be made a public business, and so the better work upon all that should hear of it.
The son of Igdaliah, a man of God. ] 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 2Ti 3:17
Which was by the chamber of the princes. ] Or, Of the prefects of the temple, that were next under the high priests.
Jer 35:5 And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine.
Ver. 5. Drink ye wine. ] It was a double temptation unto them: 1. To have pots and cups of wine set before them; 2. To be bid drink it by a prophet, and at prophet’s chamber. But they were resolved, in obedience to their father Jonadab, to forbear. Yet if Jeremiah had said, Thus saith the Lord, Drink wine, they ought to have done it; but this he did not.
Jer 35:6 But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, [neither ye], nor your sons for ever:
Ver. 6. We will not drink wine. ] This they were resolved on, not because they were persuaded, as Mohammed’s followers are, that in every grape there dwelt a devil, but because Jonadab, the son of Rechab, their progenitor, 2Ki 10:15 had two or three hundred years before charged them to forbear; not thereby to establish any new arbitrary service, or any rule of greater perfection of life a (as the Papists misallege it in favour of monkery and other will worships and superstitious observances), but only as a civil ordinance about things external, the foundation whereof is laid in the Word, which commandeth modesty, humility, sobriety, heavenly mindedness, &c.
a Haec leges vitae potius eram honestatis quam salutis animae.
Jer 35:7 Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have [any]: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye [be] strangers.
Ver. 7. Neither shall ye build house. ] But be content and dwell in tents, as the ancient patriarchs were, and as your ancestors in Midian, removing from place to place, after the manner of the old nomades; so shall ye be the better prepared for a change in the state, which this good old man might foresee and foresignify to his nephews, enjoining them therefore to follow their shepherdy only, as men less addicted to the world, and bent for heaven.
That ye may live many days in the land. ] While ye obey my charge. Long life is promised to children that obey their parents.
Where ye be strangers ] The Rechabites were originally Midianites; but Jethro, of whom they came, was a famous proselyte in the Church; his son Hobab a guide to God’s people in the wilderness; and his posterity imped and incorporated into the body of God’s people. Jdg 1:16 Nevertheless they counted and called themselves "strangers," alienigenae, as those that looked for a better country above. See Hebrews 11:9 .
Jer 35:8 Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters;
Ver. 8. Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab. ] Obedience to parents, in things not unlawful, is very commendable. Aristotle saith, a 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 going about any great business, he would kiss that picture and say, God grant I may observe my father’s charge, and do nothing unworthy of him, &c.
We, our wives, our sons, and our daughters. ] As themselves were obedient to their father, so had they their children obedient to them, whereas ill children are punished in their posterity. One complained that never father had so undutiful a child as he had. Yes, said his son, with less grace than truth, my grandfather had. b
a Mη καλον κρινειν εναντια τοις θεοις, πατρι και διδασκαλω . - Ar. Rhet.
b Fuller’s Holy State.
Jer 35:9 Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed:
Ver. 9. Nor to build houses, &c. ] Jonadab, being a prudent and withal a mortified man, might foresee that the Israelites, being so wicked a people, could not long continue. He knew also that wine was oft an occasion of drunkenness, trading in the world, of earthly mindedness; fair houses, of loathness to leave the world. Haec sunt quae nos invitos faciunt mori, as that emperor once said of stately buildings. He, therefore, for a quiet life, and for their souls’ health, forbade them the use of these lawful things, and they accordingly forbare them.
Jer 35:10 But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.
Ver. 10. But we have dwelt in tents. ] And fed much upon dairy produce, as did Heber the Kenite, who was one of them, Jdg 4:19 living in abstinence and bodily labour, that we might be free to divine contemplations.
Jer 35:11 But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem.
Ver. 11. Come, and let us go to Jerusalem. ] So then it was lawful for them to dispense with those their observances, in that inevitable necessity; like as also they might have drunk wine rather than have perished. But what can be reasonably pleaded for that man of sin, who taketh upon him to dispense with God’s holy law, and de iniustitia facere iustitiam, ex nihilo aliquid, ex virtute vitium, a to make righteousness of unrighteousness, vice of virtue, something of nothing?
So we dwell at Jerusalem. ] But better they had kept out, and held to their old course; for so they might have escaped some way.
a Bellarm., De Pontif. Rom, lib. iv.
Jer 35:12 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
Ver. 12. Then came the word of the Lord. ] Then, after this famous example of obedience thus proposed, an excellent way of teaching surely. Reason should rule, and therefore lodgeth in the brain; but when reason cannot persuade, example will.
Jer 35:13 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.
Ver. 13. Will ye not receive instruction, to hearken to my words? ] Quae est illa portentosa pertinacia? What a strange stiffness and obstinace in you is this! Am not I to be better esteemed and obeyed by you than Jonadab is by the Rechabites?
Jer 35:14 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.
Ver. 14. The words of Jonadab, … not to drink wine, are performed.] So are the words of Mohammed to like purpose, to this day, by the Turks; so are the commands of the Popish padres to their young novices, though it be to make a voyage to China or Peru,
“ Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum. ”
For unto this day they drink none. ] Neither dwell in houses, as you do and may do, eating of the fat and drinking of the sweet without restraint, so that you keep within the bounds of sobriety. I command you nothing but what in reason should be done for a worldly good, as well as for a spiritual.
Rising early and speaking. ] I began early with you, my law I gave you in Horeb, eight or nine hundred years since, and from that time to this I have constantly and instantly called upon you by my messengers for obedience, whereas it is not yet full three hundred years since Jonadab left this charge with his Rechabites, and, dying, left none to see it fulfilled, or to reprove them for their neglects.
Jer 35:15 I have sent also 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 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: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.
Ver. 15. I have sent unto you all my servants the prophets. ] But all to no purpose. See on Jeremiah 35:14 .
Saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way. ] And was this so great a matter, to part with that which profiteth you nothing, yea, which undoubtedly will undo you?
And go not after other gods. ] For wherein can they bestead you?
And ye shall dwell in the land. ] This was more thau ever Jonadab could promise, or promising perform, to his nephews.
But ye have not inclined your ear. ] See Jeremiah 7:24 ; Jeremiah 7:26 ; Jeremiah 11:8 ; Jeremiah 17:23 ; Jeremiah 34:14 .
Jer 35:16 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:
Ver. 16. Because the sons of Jonadab. ] This was a lively way of confuting their contumacy, far more convincing than that of the heathens not changing their gods, or the beasts knowing their owners, the birds their seasons.
But this people have not hearkened unto me. ] Whereas, "if I be a father, where is mine honour? and if a master, where is mine obedience?" Mal 1:6 See Trapp on " Mal 1:6 "
Jer 35:17 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.
Ver. 17. Behold, I will bring upon Judah. ] Aut poenitendum aut pereundum. Men must either repent, or perish; obey God’s law, or bear the penalty; no remedy. Hebrews 2:2 2Th 1:8
Jer 35:18 And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:
Ver. 18. Because ye have obeyed the commandment. ] Obedience to parents hath an ample recompense of reward, as that which is good and acceptable before God and men. 1Ti 5:4
Jer 35:19 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.
Ver. 19. Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever, ] i.e., To be beloved by me, and to be in special favour with me, lifting up pure hands in all places of their abode. Captive they were carried among the Jews; but they returned also again with them (as appears 1Ch 2:55 ), erantque Deo cordi et curae and they were dear to God.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 35". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany