The Rechabites’ Obedience

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: “Go to the house of the [a]Rechabites and speak to them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, into one of the [side] chambers; then give them [who are pledged not to drink wine] some wine to drink.” So I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons and the whole house of the Rechabites, and I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which was near the chamber of the princes, above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum the doorkeeper. Then I set before the men of the house of the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups, and I said to them, “Drink wine.” But they said, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us: ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons, forever. Nor shall you build a house or sow seed or plant a vineyard or own one; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners (temporary residents).’ We have obeyed the words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, in all our days we have never drunk wine, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor have we built ourselves houses to live in; nor do we have vineyards or fields or seed. 10 We have lived only in tents, and have obeyed and done [everything] according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11 But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans [who rule Babylon] and for fear of the army of the Arameans.’ So we have lived in Jerusalem.”

Judah Rebuked

12 Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, saying, 13 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words and honoring them?” says the Lord. 14 “The command which Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons not to drink wine has been observed [as a custom for more than two hundred years]. To this day they do not drink wine, for they have obeyed their father’s command. But I have repeatedly spoken to you, yet you have not listened to Me. 15 I have also sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them repeatedly, saying, ‘Let every one of you turn now from his evil way and alter your behavior, and do not follow other gods to worship and serve them; and then you will live in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers. But you have not submitted or listened to Me. 16 Indeed, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the command of their father which he gave them, but this people has not listened to Me.’”’ 17 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold (hear this), I am bringing on Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, because I have spoken to them, but they have not listened, and I have called to them, but they have not answered.’”

18 Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and have kept all his commands and have done according to all that he commanded you, 19 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never fail to have a man (descendant) to stand before Me always.”’”


  1. Jeremiah 35:2 A nomadic tribe that maintained an austere lifestyle. During Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion they were forced to settle in or near Jerusalem. They had an amicable relationship with the children of Israel.