1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
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.
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;
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:
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.
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:
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.
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;
9 Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed:
10 But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.
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.
12 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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The 35th chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible presents a unique and profound narrative that stands out in the prophetic literature. This chapter, although seemingly straightforward in its narrative, offers deep insights into the themes of obedience, faithfulness, and the consequences of disobedience. It provides a historical account of the prophet Jeremiah's interaction with the Rechabites, a nomadic tribe known for their strict adherence to the commands of their forefather, Jonadab. These interactions, their outcomes, and the lessons derived from them form the crux of this chapter.
To understand the full implications of Jeremiah 35, it is crucial to appreciate the historical context in which it is set. The chapter opens in the reign of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, the king of Judah (Jeremiah 35:1). This period was marked by widespread apostasy and disobedience to God's laws among the people of Judah. Jeremiah had been called by God to prophesy against this disobedience and warn the people of impending judgment if they did not repent. The narrative of Jeremiah 35 unfolds within this broader context of widespread disobedience and impending judgment.
The Rechabites, descendants of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, are introduced in Jeremiah 35:2-11. They are portrayed as a nomadic tribe living in tents and abstaining from wine, as per the commands of their forefather. When Jeremiah invites them into the temple and offers them wine to drink, they refuse, citing the command of Jonadab as their reason. This incident provides a stark contrast to the disobedience of Judah. The Rechabites' obedience to the command of their human forefather serves as a rebuke to Judah's disobedience to the commands of their divine Father, God.
God's response to the Rechabites' obedience is one of commendation and blessing. In Jeremiah 35:18-19, God tells Jeremiah to proclaim to the Rechabites that because they have obeyed the command of Jonadab, they will always have descendants to serve Him. This promise of continuous lineage was a significant blessing in the ancient Near East and served as a reward for their obedience. It is a clear demonstration of the principle that obedience leads to blessing.
In contrast to the blessing promised to the obedient Rechabites, Jeremiah 35 also depicts the consequences of disobedience. In verses 12-17, God, through Jeremiah, rebukes Judah for their disobedience and warns them of impending judgment. Despite God's repeated warnings and calls to repentance, Judah had continued in their disobedience, leading to God's decision to bring disaster upon them. This narrative underscores the principle that disobedience leads to judgment.
Several key lessons can be drawn from Jeremiah 35. Firstly, the chapter provides a powerful illustration of the principle of obedience leading to blessing, as seen in the Rechabites' obedience to Jonadab's commands. This obedience is contrasted with Judah's disobedience to God's commands, leading to impending judgment. The chapter thereby underscores the importance of obedience in the life of a believer.
Secondly, Jeremiah 35 presents a profound lesson about faithfulness. The Rechabites' adherence to the commands of Jonadab, even when faced with a seemingly legitimate opportunity to break them, demonstrates a high level of faithfulness. This faithfulness serves as a challenge to believers to remain steadfast in their obedience to God, even in the face of temptation or pressure to compromise.
Thirdly, the chapter illustrates the consequences of disobedience. The impending judgment upon Judah, as a result of their continued disobedience, serves as a sobering warning about the serious consequences of disregarding God's commands.
In conclusion, Jeremiah 35 presents a powerful narrative that underscores the importance of obedience and faithfulness, and the serious consequences of disobedience. The Rechabites' obedience and faithfulness serve as a model for believers, while Judah's disobedience serves as a warning. The chapter thereby provides a profound lesson for believers about the importance of obedience to God's commands and the blessings that result from it. At the same time, it serves as a stark reminder of the serious consequences that can result from disobedience.
The narrative of Jeremiah 35 continues to resonate today, challenging believers to examine their own obedience to God's commands and to strive for faithfulness even in the face of temptation. As such, the chapter provides a timeless message that continues to be relevant for believers in every generation.