Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
PROPHECY IN THE
JEHOIAKIM, WHEN THE
CONJUNCTION WITH THE
By the obedience of the Rechabites to their father, Jeremiah condemns
the disobedience of the Jews to God their Father. The Holy Spirit has
arranged Jeremiah's prophecies by the moral rather than the
chronological connection. From the history of an event fifteen years
before, the Jews, who had brought back their manumitted servants into
bondage, are taught how much God loves and rewards obedience, and hates
and punishes disobedience.
2. Rechabites--a nomadic tribe belonging to the Kenites of Hemath
of the family of Jethro, or Hobab, Moses' father-in-law
&c.; Nu 10:29-32;
They came into Canaan with the Israelites, but, in order to preserve
their independence, chose a life in tents without a fixed habitation
Besides the branch of them associated with Judah and extending to
Amalek, there was another section at Kadesh, in Naphtali
(Jud 4:11, 17).
They seem to have been proselytes of the gate, Jonadab, son of Rechab,
whose charge not to drink wine they so strictly obeyed, was zealous for
The Nabatheans of Arabia observed the same rules
[DIODORUS SICULUS, 19.94].
bring . . . into . . . house of . . .
Lord--because there were suitable witnesses at hand there from
among the priests and chief men, as also because he had the power
immediately to address the people assembled there
It may have been also as a reproof of the priests, who drank wine
freely, though commanded to refrain from it when in the discharge of
their duties [CALVIN].
chambers--which were round about the temple, applied to various uses,
for example, to contain the vestments, sacred vessels, &c.
3. Jaazaniah--the elder and chief of the clan.
4. man of God--a prophet
also "a servant of God" in general
one not his own, but God's; one who has parted with all right in
himself to give himself wholly to God
He was so reverenced that none would call in question what was
transacted in his chamber.
keeper of the door--Hebrew, "of the vessel." Probably the office
meant is that of the priest who kept in charge the capitation money paid
for the use of the temple and the votive offerings, such as silver
vessels, &c. There were seven such keepers
2Ki 12:9; 25:18;
1Ch 9:18, 19,
which support English Version.
I said . . . Drink--Jeremiah does not say, The Lord saith,
Drink: for then they would have been bound to obey. Contrast the case in
6. Jonadab . . . our father--that is, forefather and director, three
hundred years before
They were called Rechabites, not Jonadabites, having received their
name from Rechab the father, previously to their adopting the
injunctions of Jonadab his son. This case affords no
justification for slavish deference to the religious opinions of the
Christian fathers: for Jonadab's injunction only affected matters of
the present life; moreover, it was not binding on their consciences,
for they deemed it not unlawful to go to Jerusalem in the invasion
What is praised here is not the father's injunction, but the obedience
of the sons [CALVIN].
live many days--according to the promise connected with the fifth
Eph 6:2, 3).
strangers--They were not of the stock of Jacob, but sojourners in
Israel. Types of the children of God, pilgrims on earth, looking for
heaven as their home: having little to lose, so that losing times cost
them little alarm; sitting loose to what they have
(Heb 10:34; 11:9, 10, 13-16).
8. all that he . . . charged us . . . all our days, we . . .
wives . . . sons . . . daughters--unreserved obedience in all
particulars, at all times, and on the part of all, without exception: in
these respects Israel's obedience to God was wanting. Contrast
1Sa 15:20, 21;
Ps 78:34-37, 41, 56, 57.
11. Chaldeans . . . Syrians--when Jehoiakim revolted from
(2Ki 24:1, 2).
Necessity sets aside all other laws. This is the Rechabites' excuse
for their seeming disobedience to Jonadab in temporarily settling in a
city. Herein was seen the prescient wisdom of Jonadab's commands; they
could at a moment's notice migrate, having no land possessions to tie
14. obey . . . father's commandment: notwithstanding I--
rising early and speaking--God Himself speaking late and early
by His various ways of providence and grace.
a distinct mode of address is alluded to, namely, God sending His
(Jer 18:11; 25:5, 6).
I enjoined nothing unreasonable, but simply to serve Me, and I attached
to the command a gracious promise, but in vain. If Jonadab's commands,
which were arbitrary and not moral obligations in themselves, were
obeyed, much more ought Mine, which are in themselves right.
17. because I have spoken . . . not heard . . . I . . . called . . .
19. not want a man to stand before me--There shall always be left
representatives of the clan to worship Me
(Jer 15:1, 19);
or, "before Me" means simple existence, for all things in
existence are in God's sight
The Rechabites returned from the captivity. WOLFF
found traces of them in Arabia.