on Jeremiah 35 :2
The house of the Rechabites - The Rechabites were not descendants of Jacob; they were Kenites, 1 Chronicles 2:55, a people originally settled in that part of Arabia Petroea, called the land of Midian; and most probably the descendants of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. Compare Numbers 10:29-32, with Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11.
Those mentioned here seem to have been a tribe of Nomades or Scenite Arabs, who fed their flocks in the deserts of Judea; they preserved the simple manners of their ancestors, considering the life of the inhabitants of cities and large towns as the death of liberty; believing that they would dishonor themselves by using that sort of food that would oblige them to live a sedentary life. Jonadab, one of their ancestors, had required his children and descendants to abide faithful to the customs of their forefathers; to continue to live in tents, and to nourish themselves on the produce of their flocks; to abstain from the cultivation of the ground, and from that particularly of the vine and its produce. His descendants religiously observed this rule, till the time when the armies of the Chaldeans had entered Judea; when, to preserve their lives, they retired within the walls of Jerusalem. But even there we find, from the account in this chapter, they did not quit their frugal manner of life: but most scrupulously observed the law of Jonadab their ancestor, and probably of this family.
When the children of Hobab, or Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, were invited by him to accompany them in their journeying to the Promised Land, it is very likely that they continued their ancient usages, and lived a patriarchal life. Their property, consisting in nothing but their cattle and tents, was easily removable from place to place; and their manner of living was not likely to excite the envy or jealousy of those who had learnt to relish the luxuries of life; and therefore we may naturally conclude that as they were enemies to none, so they had no enemies themselves. Nature has few wants. Most of those which we feel are factitious; and howsoever what we call civilization may furnish us with the conveniences and comforts of life, let us not deceive ourselves by supposing that these very things do not create the very wants which they are called in to supply; and most certainly do not contribute to the comfort of life, when the term of life is considerably abridged by their use. But it is time to return to the case of the Rechabites before us.
on Jeremiah 35 :2
The house - The family.
The Rechabites - The Rechabites were a nomadic tribe not of Jewish but of Kenite race, and connected with the Amalekites Numbers 24:21; 1 Samuel 15:6, from whom however they had separated themselves, and made a close alliance with the tribe of Judah Judges 1:16, on whose southern borders they took up their dwelling 1 Samuel 27:10. While, however, the main body of the Kenites gradually adopted settled habits, and dwelt in cities 1 Samuel 30:29, the Rechabites persisted in leading the free desert life, and in this determination they were finally confirmed by the influence and authority of Jonadab, who lived in Jehu's reign. He was a zealous adherent of Yahweh 2 Kings 10:15-17, and possibly a religious reformer; and as the names of the men mentioned in the present narrative are all compounded with Yah, it is plain that the tribe continued their allegiance to Him.
The object of Jonadab in endeavoring to preserve the nomad habits of his race was probably twofold. He wished first to maintain among them the purer morality and higher feeling of the desert contrasted with the laxity and effeminacy of the city life; and secondly he was anxious for the preservation of their freedom. Their punctilious obedience Jeremiah 35:14 to Jonadab's precepts is employed by Jeremiah to point a useful lesson for his own people.
The date of the prophecy is the interval between the battle of Carchemish and the appearance of Nebuchadnezzar at Jerusalem, Jeremiah 35:11 at the end of the same year. It is consequently 17 years earlier than the narrative in Jeremiah 34:8 ff
on Jeremiah 35 :2
35:2 Rechabites - These Rechabites had their name from Rechab their father, descended from Hemath, a Kenite, who is also called Hobab, Judg 4:11, or Jethro the father in law of Moses.