After devoting several chapters to King Zedekiah, Jeremiah skips back 10 years earlier to the time of Jehoiakim son of Josiah.
Verse 1 – The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying,
Verse 2 – “Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.”
The Rechabites code of conduct resembled that of the Nazirites, who took a special vow of dedication to God. For 200 years, they had obeyed their ancestor’s vow to abstain from wine. While the rest of the nation was breaking their covenant with God, these people remained steadfast in their commitment to God. The Rechabites were not Jews, they were connected with the Amalekites.
By offering them wine, Jeremiah would show the people how dedicated and committed they were when they refused it. They were being tested, not tempted.
Verse 3 – Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, his brothers and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites,
Jaazaniah, must have been the head of the Rechabites at the time and this Jeremiah mentioned is not the prophet.
Verse 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, above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door.
Verse 5 – Then I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, “Drink wine.”
Verse 6 – But they said, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father commanded us saying, ‘You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever.
Jonadab son of Rechab, had joined Jehu in purging the northern kingdom of Baal worship (2 Kings 10:15-28). This illustration was what Jeremiah needed to show obedience to the Lords command.
Verse 7 – ‘You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.’
Jonadab cautions his sons to be sober, to keep flocks, to avoid anything which might expose them to envy or hatred of the people among whom they lived. They were nomads who lived among the Jews, but weren’t Hebrew.
Verse 8 – “Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters,
Verse 9 – “nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field or seed.
Verse 10 – “But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.
Verse 11 – “But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, ‘Come, 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.”
Verse 12 – Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah saying,
Verse 13 – “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction to obey My words?” says the Lord.
Verse 14 – “The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for to this day they drink none, and obey their father’s commandment. But although I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, you did not obey Me.
Verse 15 – “I have also sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way, amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them, then you will dwell in the land I have given you and your fathers.’ But you have not inclined your ear, nor obeyed Me.
Verse 16 – “Surely the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them, but this people has not obeyed Me.” ‘
Verse 17 – “Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the doom that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered.’ ”
Jeremiah shows the contrast between the Recabites and the Israelites. (1) The Rechabites kept the commands of their father, but Israel did not keep the commandments of their Father. (2) Jonadab told his family one time not to drink wine and they obeyed. Israel had been warned and told by many prophets for years not to sin. (3) The Recabites obeyed laws that dealt with temporal issues; Israel refused to obey God’s laws that dealt with eternal issues. (4) The Recabites had obeyed for hundreds of years; Israel had disobeyed for hundreds of years. (5) The Rechabites would be rewarded; Israel would be punished
We often will observe customs merely for the sake of tradition, how much more should we obey God’s Word because it’s eternal.
Verse 18 – And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you,
Verse 19 – ‘therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever.” ‘ ”
For an interesting read, look up the Rechabites, what happened to them and their origin.
Someone with a foundation of faithfulness is the example God holds up. Like believers, the Rechabites were called out of the old life to a new one based on faith. New believes are a constant reminder to seasoned believes of what they might be missing or taking for granted, remember your “First Love.” Revelation 2:4