The Bible – Old Testament
This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah:
1 Approach the Rechabites and speak to them; bring them into the house of the LORD, to one of the rooms, and give them wine to drink.
So I went and brought Jaazaniah, son of Jeremiah, son of Habazziniah, his brothers and all his sons, the whole company of the Rechabites,
2 into the house of the LORD, to the room of the sons of Hanan, son of Igdaliah, the man of God, next to the princes’ room, above the room of Maaseiah, son of Shallum, keeper of the doorway.
I set before these Rechabite men bowls full of wine and offered them cups to drink the wine.
3 “We do not drink wine,” they said to me: “Jonadab, Rechab’s son, our father, forbade us in these words: ‘Neither you nor your children shall ever drink wine.
Build no house and sow no seed; neither plant nor own a vineyard. You shall dwell in tents all your life, so that you may live long on the earth where you are wayfarers.’
Now we have heeded Jonadab, Rechab’s son, our father, in all his prohibitions. All our lives we have not drunk wine, neither we, nor our wives, nor our sons, nor our daughters.
We build no houses to live in; we own no vineyards or fields or crops,
and we live in tents; we obediently do everything our father Jonadab commanded us.
4 But when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, invaded this land, we decided to come into Jerusalem to escape the army of the Chaldeans and the army of Aram; that is why we are now living in Jerusalem.”
Then this word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Go, say to the men of Judah and to the citizens of Jerusalem: Will you not take correction and obey my words? says the LORD.
The advice of Jonadab, Rechab’s son, by which he forbade his children to drink wine, has been followed: to this day they have not drunk it; they obeyed their father’s command. Me, however, you have not obeyed, although I spoke to you untiringly and insistently.
I kept sending you all my servants the prophets, telling you to turn back, all of you, from your evil way; to reform your conduct, and not follow strange gods or serve them, if you would remain on the land which I gave you and your fathers; but you did not heed me or obey me.
Yes, the children of Jonadab, Rechab’s son, observed the command which their father laid on them; but this people does not obey me!
Now, therefore, says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel: I will bring upon Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem every evil that I threatened; because when I spoke they did not obey, when I called they did not answer.
But to the company of the Rechabites Jeremiah said: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Since you have obeyed the command of Jonadab, your father, kept all his commands and done everything he commanded you,
thus therefore says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Never shall there fail to be a descendant of Jonadab, Rechab’s son, standing in my service.
1  The Rechabites: reactionaries who believed that the Lord could not be well served except by maintaining the original nomadic conditions of Israel’s life. Without sharing their convictions, the prophet holds up their fidelity to their ideals as an example to put to shame his faithless countrymen. In the days of Jehoiakim: probably in 599 or 598 B.C.
2  The sons of Hanan: probably the disciples of this man of God or prophet. Maaseiah: possibly the father of the priest Zephaniah (⇒ Jeremiah 29:25; ⇒ 37:3). Keeper of the doorway: a priestly function of responsibility; cf ⇒ Jeremiah 52:24.
3  Jonadab: a contemporary of King Jehu; cf ⇒ 2 Kings 10:15-17.
4  The army of Aram: Nebuchadnezzar enlisted the help of Judah’s foreign neighbors in his assault on Jerusalem.