Make them drink wine (Jer 35:5-35:6)

“Then I set

Before the Rechabites

Pitchers full of wine,

With cups.

I said to them.

‘Have some wine!’

But they answered.

‘We will drink no wine!

Our ancestor Jonadab

The son of Rechab,

Commanded us.

‘You shall never drink wine!

Neither you!

Not your children!”

Jeremiah personally continues this story by following the orders of Yahweh. He set full pitchers of wine with drinking cups beside them. He then invited the Rechabites to drink some wine. However, they answered that they would not drink any wine because their ancestor Jonadab, the son of Rechab, had commanded them to never drink wine. Thus, they, and their children, would never drink wine. This is like the old Irish pledge not to drink alcohol.

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.