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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834], at

Jeremiah Chapter 35

Jeremiah 35:2

jer 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 Num 24:21; Sa1 15:6, from whom however they had separated themselves, and made a close alliance with the tribe of Judah Jdg 1:16, on whose southern borders they took up their dwelling Sa1 27:10. While, however, the main body of the Kenites gradually adopted settled habits, and dwelt in cities Sa1 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 Kg2 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 Jer 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, Jer 35:11 at the end of the same year. It is consequently 17 years earlier than the narrative in Jer 34:8 ff

Jeremiah 35:3

jer 35:3

Jaazaniah was the chief of that portion of the tribe which had taken refuge in Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 35:4

jer 35:4

The title man of God, i. e., prophet, belongs to Hanan, identified by many with Hanani Ch2 16:7. The sons of Hanan were probably his disciples. If so, we find a religious school or sect, regularly established in the precincts of the temple, of whose views and modes of interpretation we know nothing. Plainly however, the Hananites were friendly to Jeremiah, and lent him their hall for his purpose.

The chamber of the princes - Probably the council-chamber in which the great officers of state met for the despatch of business.

The keeper of the door - There were three of these keepers, answering to the outer and inner courts of the temple, and the entrance to the temple itself. They were officers of high rank, having precedence next to the high priest and his deputy.

Jeremiah 35:5

jer 35:5

Pots - "Bowls," to fill the cups.

Jeremiah 35:6

jer 35:6

Wine is the symbol of a settled life, because the vine requires time for its growth and care in its cultivation, while the preparation of the wine itself requires buildings, and it then has to be stored up before it is ready for use. The drink of nomads consists of the milk of their herds.

Jer 35:7

Strangers - Because not of Jewish blood, though wandering in their territory.

Jeremiah 35:8

jer 35:8

Our father - Not merely our ancestor, but the founder of our institutions.

Jeremiah 35:11

jer 35:11

The Syrians - The Septuagint substitutes Assyrians for Syrians, but marauding bands of the Aramaeans are probably meant.

Jeremiah 35:13

jer 35:13

Jeremiah, accompanied by the main body of the Rechabites, went into one of the courts of the temple, and there addressed to the people the rebuke following.

Jeremiah 35:14

jer 35:14

Are performed - Are established, i. e., are maintained in full force.

Unto this day - i. e., for more than 200 years.

Jeremiah 35:15

jer 35:15

All ... the prophets - The Rechabites had had but one lawgiver: the Jews had had a succession of messengers from God.

Jeremiah 35:19

jer 35:19

Travelers bear witness to the existence of a large tribe who represent themselves as the descendants of the Rechabites. The prediction was also literally fulfilled in the Rechabites being in some way incorporated into the tribe of Levi, whose office especially it was to "stand before" Yahweh Deu 10:8.

Next: Jeremiah Chapter 36