Chapter thirty-five contains an account set up as a contrary example of chapter thirty-four. It is possible that “Jonadab son of Rechab” is the same as “Jehonadab, son of Rekab” in 2 Kings 10. Jehonadab was a godly man who helped Jehu eliminate Baal worship in Israel. The Rechabite community was a tribe of nomads who followed the laws established by Jonadab. If this is the same man from 2 Kings 10, these families had been following his laws for about 240 years. When Jeremiah offered them wine in the Temple, they refused, citing Jonadab.
God used this situation to set up a message to the covenant-breakers of chapter thirty-four. “You must learn a lesson from this about obeying what I say!” (Jeremiah 35:13) God pointed to the Rechabites as an example of two centuries of obedience to a man who gave laws about not building homes, planting vineyards, or drinking wine. All of these were nothing compared to the laws God gave his people, yet they violated them consistently. Because of their disobedience, God promised that they would suffer at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. However, because of the Rechabites’ faithfulness, God promised that someone from their family would always “stand before” him. This could refer to a specific ministry in the Temple. 1
- “According to the Mishnah ‘the children of Jonadab son of Rechab’’had a fixed day in the year for bringing wood for the altar of the temple. Other traditions refer to ‘waterdrinking’ sacrificers whose descent is traced to Jonadab.” (Thompson quoted in Constable, 183). ↩