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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Rechab, Rechabites

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RECHAB, RECHABITES

1. Jehonadab , the son of Rechab, appears in 2 Kings 10:15-28 as a fervent supporter of Jehu’s attack on the house of Ahab and his endeavour to root out the idolatrous worship which that dynasty had allowed. That his influence was a matter of some importance is clear from the prominent place which the new ruler gave him ( 2 Kings 10:16; 2 Kings 10:23 ). The principles which actuated him are to be gathered from Jeremiah 35:1-19 , where his descendants refuse to drink wine because he had bidden them abstain from it, build no houses, sow no seed, plant no vineyard, but dwell in tents all their days. He evidently held that civilization and settled life inevitably led to apostasy from Jahweh, the ancestral Deity of his tribe. And the peril was a very real one, because of the inveterate popular belief that the local baals were the dispensers of all blessings pertaining to field and vineyard ( Hosea 2:5; Hosea 2:10-12 ). Hence it seemed to more than one of the prophets that the early, simple period of the nation’s life, ere it became immersed in the Canaanite civilization, was preferable to all later developments ( Judges 2:2 , Hosea 10:1 ). Again, the self-restraint of the Rechabites reminds us of the Nazirite vow (see Nazirite). But the latter did not include so many taboos. It permitted the cultivation of land and the building of houses. It was not binding on an entire clan. A genuine tradition is probably embodied in the Chronicler’s statement ( 1 Chronicles 2:55 ), that the clan of the Rechabites was connected with the Kenites , and this would square admirably with the view that the Jahweh-religion was communicated to Israel by Kenite influence. Subsequently to Jeremiah we do not find more than two Biblical allusions to the clan in question, and one of these is doubtful. Nehemiah 3:14 reports that Malchijah, the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem, assisted in re-fortifying Jerusalem. But if he was a Rechabite by descent, he must have abandoned their principles. The men whom Jeremiah approached were but temporary sojourners, driven into the city through dread of the invader. This Malchijah was doubly a townsman, living in a country town, and interested in the metropolis. The title of Psalms 71:1-24 in the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] is: ‘Belonging to David. Of the sons of Jehonadab and of the earliest captives,’ as though the exiles and the Rechabites agreed in appropriating this poem of sorrow and hope. Finally, it may be noted that later Rabbis found the fulfilment of Jeremiah 35:19 in those marriages of Rechabite maidens into priestly families, from which later priests sprang. Hegesippus relates that one of the Rechabite priests interceded in vain for the life of James the Just (Euseb. HE ii. 23).

2. Rechab and his brother Baanah, two guerilla captains, treacherously murdered Ishbosheth, their king, and met with the due reward of their deed at David’s hands ( 2 Samuel 4:1-12 ).

J. Taylor.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Rechab, Rechabites'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/r/rechab-rechabites.html. 1909.

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