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The Example of the Rechabites

35 This is the message that came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the reign[a] of Josiah’s son Jehoiakim, king of Judah: “Go to the house of the Rechabites and speak to them. Bring them into the Lord’s Temple, to one of the offices, and offer them wine to drink.” So I took Jeremiah’s son Jaazaniah (a descendant of Habazziniah), his brothers, all his sons, and the whole family of the Rechabites. I brought them to the Lord’s Temple to the office of the descendants of Igdaliah’s son Hanan, the man of God, which was next to the office of the officials, and which was above the office of Shallum’s son Maaseiah, the keeper of the threshold.

I put containers full of wine and cups in front of the members of the Rechabite clan[b] and told them, “Drink the wine!”

But they said, “We won’t drink wine, because our ancestor, Rechab’s son Jonadab commanded us: ‘You and your descendants are never to drink wine! You aren’t to build houses, you aren’t to sow seeds, and you aren’t to plant vineyards, or own them. Instead, you are to live in tents all your lives,[c] so you will enjoy a long life in the land where you reside.’[d] We have obeyed everything that our ancestor, Rechab’s son Jonadab, commanded us. So we, our wives, our sons, and our daughters have drunk no wine all our lives,[e] and have built no houses to live in. We don’t have vineyards, fields, or seed. 10 We have lived in tents. We have obeyed and have done everything that our ancestor Jonadab commanded us. 11 Now when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come on! Let’s go to Jerusalem because of the army of the Chaldeans and the army of Aram. And now we’re living in Jerusalem.’”

12 This message from the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel says: ‘Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not accept correction by listening to what I say?” declares the Lord. 14 “But what Rechab’s son Jonadab commanded his sons about not drinking wine is observed, and they haven’t drunk wine until this day. Indeed, they obey the commands of their ancestor. But I’ve spoken to you again and again,[f] and you haven’t obeyed me. 15 I’ve sent you all my servants, the prophets, sending them again and again.[g] I’ve said, ‘Each of you turn from his evil behavior[h] and make your deeds right. Don’t follow other gods to serve them. Then you will remain in the land that I gave to you and to your ancestors.’ But you haven’t paid attention[i] and you haven’t obeyed me. 16 Indeed the descendants of Rechab’s son Jonadab have carried out the command of their ancestor that he gave them, but this people has not obeyed me.” 17 Therefore, this is what the Lord God of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel says: “Look, I’m bringing on Judah and all the residents of Jerusalem all the disaster that I pronounced against them, because I spoke to them, but they didn’t listen, and I called out to them, but they didn’t answer.”’”

18 Then Jeremiah told the house of the Rechabites, “This is what the Lord God of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel says: ‘Because you obeyed the commandment of your ancestor Jonadab, have observed all his commandments, and have done everything that he commanded you,’ 19 therefore, this is what the Lord God of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel says: ‘Rechab’s son Jonadab won’t lack a descendant[j] who serves me[k] always.’”


  1. Jeremiah 35:1 Lit. days
  2. Jeremiah 35:5 Lit. the sons of the house of the Rechabites
  3. Jeremiah 35:7 Lit. your days
  4. Jeremiah 35:7 I.e. living as resident aliens
  5. Jeremiah 35:8 Lit. all our days
  6. Jeremiah 35:14 Lit. getting up early and speaking
  7. Jeremiah 35:15 Lit. getting up early and sending
  8. Jeremiah 35:15 Lit. way
  9. Jeremiah 35:15 Lit. inclined your ear
  10. Jeremiah 35:19 Cf. Neh 3:14
  11. Jeremiah 35:19 Lit. there won’t be cut off from Rechab’s son Jonadab one standing before me