The Rechabites (Jer 35:2-35:2)

“Go to the house

Of the Rechabites!

Speak with them!

Bring them

To the house of Yahweh,

Into one of the chambers!

Then offer them wine

To drink!’”

This short chapter is all about the Rechabites. They get their name from Rechab, who was mentioned in 1 Chronicles, chapter 2, listed under the descendants of Hur. They seem to be descendants of Hammath, a northern city, or Hemath, a Kenite, who was also called Hobab. The Rechabites were not descendants of Jacob, but Kenites, a people originally settled in that part of Arabia called the land of Midian. They may have been the descendants of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, who was a Kenite. Thus these Rechabites were not true Israelites, but were friendly to the Israelites. They were generally nomads in the desert, living in tents. The most prominent Rechabite may have been Jehonadab or Jonadab, the son of Rechab, in 2 Kings, chapter 10, where he joined with King Jehu of Israel (841-814 BCE) in helping wipe out the family of King Ahab of Israel (874-853 BCE). Yahweh told Jeremiah to go to their house, talk to them, and bring them back to the Temple in Jerusalem. There he was to find a chamber in the Temple and offer these Rechabites some wine. This seems like a simple task.

Hur (1 Chr 4:2-4:4)

“Reaiah son of Shobal became the father of Jahath. Jahath became the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These were the families of the Zorathites. These were the sons of Etam, Jezreel, Ishma, and Idbash. The name of their sister was Hazzelelponi. Penuel was the father of Gedor. Ezer was the father of Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the first-born of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem.”

Hur was the grandson of Hezron, via Caleb and Ephrath, although he is listed as a son of Judah in the preceding paragraph. Thus his family will become known as the Ephrathites, the area around Bethlehem. The original name of this ancient town may have been Ephrath. Shobal, son of Hur, had other sons as in chapter 2, but here the emphasis in on Reaiah, whose name refers to 2 different people. His son was called Jahath, a name that refers to 5 different people. Jahath had 2 sons Ahumai and Lahad, whose names only appear here. They became known as the Zorathites, a group that was mentioned in chapter 2. Etam was a town in Judah as was Jezreel. Perhaps they were named after the sons of Hur. This is the only mention of Ishma, Idbash, and Hazzelelponi, so I do not know what to make of it.   Penuel was definitely a place on the other side of the Jordan that Gideon the judge had some trouble with in Judges, chapter 8. Gedor was a place in the mountains also. Ezer appears refers to 5 different people, while this is the only mention of Hushah. Somehow these were all the sons of Hur as this section was very hap-hazard.

Judah (1 Chr 4:1-4:1)

“The sons of Judah were Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal.”

Now we look at the settled lands of the southern tribes or clans. This is not the strictly artificial 12 tribes of Israel only. This list that starts with the 5 sons of Judah is completely different from the list in chapter 2, of this book, where the 5 sons were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah based on Genesis, chapter 38. Only (1) Perez is left over from this early list. (2) Hezron was actually the son of Perez, or the grandson of Judah based on the preceding chapter. (3) Carmi was the son of Zerah, the lesser known twin brother of Perez, so that he is Perez’ nephew, and also a grandson of Judah. (4) Hur, on the other hand, was the grandson of Hezron, via Caleb, thus the great grandson of Judah. (5) Shobal was the son of Hur, thus the great–great grandson of Judah, quite a distance removed from Judah. Once again there is a little confusion on the part of the biblical author here compared to the preceding chapter.

The descendents of Caleb (1Chr 2:18-2:20)

“Caleb son of Hezron had children by his wife Azubah, and by Jerioth. These were her sons Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. Hur was the father of Uri. Uri was the father of Bezalel.”

Here Caleb is called a son of Hezron, indicating that the Chelubai above may be this Caleb. However, this Caleb is not the Caleb mentioned in Numbers and Joshua since he was the son of Jephunneh. However, this Caleb may have been the great grandfather of that Caleb since he was the father of Hur. Hur might have been the grandfather of Caleb in Numbers. There was another Azubah who was the mother of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. This is the only mention of Jerioth. As for the 3 sons, this is the only mention of Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. However, King David had a son with Beth-sheba that was also called Shobab. There was a place called Ephrath, the name of the 2nd wife of Caleb. This may have been the name of Bethlehem. The name Hur appeared as the brother-in-law of Aaron, Miriam’s husband, in Exodus. It also was the name of some defeated people in Numbers. Uri was also the name of one of Solomon’s officers. However, this Uri was the father of Bezalel, who was one of the chief architects with a divine spirit that worked on the sanctuary and the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus, chapter 35.