Jeremiah 35

 

הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ מֵאֵת יְהוָה בִּימֵי יְהֹויָקִים בֶּן־יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה לֵאמֹר׃   35:1

Jere. 35:1   The word that occurred to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying,

This chapter is out of time sequence with the preceding chapters.  It relates back to a time near the time of Chapter 27, which occurred soon after Jehoiakim had become king.  Here we are some time after that within the approximately ten years of Jehoiakim’s reign.

הָלֹוךְ אֶל־בֵּית הָרֵכָבִים וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֹותָם וַהֲבִאֹותָם בֵּית יְהוָה אֶל־אַחַת הַלְּשָׁכֹות וְהִשְׁקִיתָ אֹותָם יָיִן׃   35:2

Jere. 35:2   “Go to the house of the Rechabites and you shall command them and have them enter the house of the Lord, to one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.”

וָאֶקַּח אֶת־יַאֲזַנְיָה בֶן־יִרְמְיָהוּ בֶּן־חֲבַצִּנְיָה וְאֶת־אֶחָיו וְאֶת־כָּל־בָּנָיו וְאֵת כָּל־בֵּית הָרֵכָבִים׃   35:3

Jere. 35:3   So I took Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah son of Habazziniah and his relatives and all his sons and the whole house of the Rechabites,

וָאָבִא אֹתָם בֵּית יְהוָה אֶל־לִשְׁכַּת בְּנֵי חָןָן בֶּן־יִגְדַּלְיָהוּ אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר־אֵצֶל לִשְׁכַּת הַשָּׂרִים   35:4        אֲשֶׁר מִמַּעַל לְלִשְׁכַּת מַעֲשֵׂיָהוּ בֶן־שַׁלֻּם שֹׁמֵר הַסַּף׃

Jere. 35:4   and I brought them in to the house of the Lord, to the chamber of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which was near the chamber of the princes that was above the chamber of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the keeper of the door,

וָאֶתֵּן לִפְנֵי בְּנֵי בֵית־הָרֵכָבִים גְּבִעִים מְלֵאִים יַיִן וְכֹסֹות וָאֹמַר אֲלֵיהֶם שְׁתוּ־יָיִן׃   35:5

Jere. 35:5   and I set goblets and cups full of wine before the sons of the house of the Rechabites and I said to them, “Drink wine.”

וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹא נִשְׁתֶּה־יָּיִן כִּי יֹונָדָב בֶּן־רֵכָב אָבִינוּ צִוָּה עָלֵינוּ לֵאמֹר לֹא תִשְׁתּוּ־יַיִן אַתֶּם וּבְנֵיכֶם   35:6               עַד־עֹולָם׃

Jere. 35:6   But they said, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab son of Rechab, our father, laid a charge upon us saying, ‘You and your sons shall drink no wine forever,

וּבַיִת לֹא־תִבְנוּ וְזֶרַע לֹא־תִזְרָעוּ וְכֶרֶם לֹא־תִטָּעוּ וְלֹא יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כִּי בָּאֳהָלִים תֵּשְׁבוּ כָּל־יְמֵיכֶם   35:7       לְמַעַן תִּחְיוּ יָמִים רַבִּים עַל־פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם גָּרִים שָׁם׃

Jere. 35:7   and you shall build no house and you shall sow no seed and you shall plant no vineyard, and none shall be for you, but you shall dwell in tents all your days so that you may live many days on the surface of the land where you are sojourners.’”

The name Jonadab appears 7 more times in this chapter.  The name appears

וַנִּשְׁמַע בְּקֹול יְהֹונָדָב בֶּן־רֵכָב אָבִינוּ לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּנוּ לְבִלְתִּי שְׁתֹות־יַיִן כָּל־יָמֵינוּ אֲנַחְנוּ נָשֵׁינוּ   35:8          בָּנֵינוּ וּבְנֹתֵינוּ׃

Jere. 35:8   “And we have listened to the voice of J[eh]onadab son of Rechab, our father, to all that he commanded us, not to drink wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, and our daughters,

The name of Jonadab son of Rechab appears six times in this chapter, and it appears no where else in the Hebrew Scriptures.  The name Jonadab itself appears in only one other place, that is in 2Samuel Chapter 13.  There it refers to someone else. Strangely this name, which first appeared in v. 35:6 above, is spelled differently here than in that verse.  In this verse his name is spelled with an additional heh as the second letter (which changes the name to Jehonadab).  In the remaining five appearances, his name is spelled without the heh three times and with the heh two times.  So all in all we have four names with a heh and two without a heh.

I believe the additional heh gives the name a legible meaning, whereas the name without the heh has little if any meaning.  However Jehonadab can have any of four meanings, the Lord incites or the Lord is bounteous, the Lord gives, or the Lord is noble.  The first possible meaning can apply to the first Jonadab (in 2Sam), Any of the other three may apply to this Jonadab’s name.

וּלְבִלְתִּי בְּנֹות בָּתִּים לְשִׁבְתֵּנוּ וְכֶרֶם וְשָׂדֶה וָזֶרַע לֹא יִהְיֶה־לָּנוּ׃   35:9

Jere. 35:9   and to not build houses for our dwellings, and there would be no vineyard or field or seed for us,                                                                                                        [Return to 1Chr. 6:17]

וַנֵּשֶׁב בָּאֳהָלִים וַנִּשְׁמַע וַנַּעַשׂ כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּנוּ יֹונָדָב אָבִינוּ׃   35:10

Jere. 35:10   and we have dwelled in tents and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab, our father, had commanded us.”

וַיְהִי בַּעֲלֹות נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל אֶל־הָאָרֶץ וַנֹּאמֶר בֹּאוּ וְנָבֹוא יְרוּשָׁלִַם מִפְּנֵי חֵיל הַכַּשְׂדִּים   35:11      וּמִפְּנֵי חֵיל אֲרָם וַנֵּשֶׁב בִּירוּשָׁלִָם׃

Jere. 35:11   “Then it was at the uprising of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, against the land, that we said, ‘Come and we will enter Jerusalem because of the army of the Chaldeans and because of the army of the Arameans.’  Now we dwell in Jerusalem.”

וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהוָה אֶל־יִרְמְיָהוּ לֵאמֹר׃   35:12

Jere. 35:12   Then the word of the Lord occurred to Jeremiah saying,

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָלֹךְ וְאָמַרְתָּ לְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה וּלְיֹושְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם הֲלֹוא תִקְחוּ   35:13   מוּסָר לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶל־דְּבָרַי נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Jere. 35:13   “Thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel:  Go and you shall say to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘Will you not accept correction to listen to My words, says the Lord?’”

הוּקַם אֶת־דִּבְרֵי יְהֹונָדָב בֶּן־רֵכָב אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה אֶת־בָּנָיו לְבִלְתִּי שְׁתֹות־יַיִן וְלֹא שָׁתוּ עַד־הַיֹּום הַזֶּה כִּי   35:14 שָׁמְעוּ אֵת מִצְוַת אֲבִיהֶם וְאָנֹכִי דִּבַּרְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם הַשְׁכֵּם וְדַבֵּר וְלֹא שְׁמַעְתֶּם אֵלָי׃

Jere. 35:14   He raised up the words of J[eh]onadab son of Rechab that he commanded his sons to not drink wine, and they do not drink until this day, for they heard the commandment of their fathers, “Yet I have spoken to you early and often and you do not listen to Me.”

Some of the odd grammar at the start of this verse is overlooked in all the other translations I’ve examined.  The second word, et, signifying that the word following it is the object of a verb, has been totally ignored.  The word following the et, which is translated as words, has been made the subject of the verse, and the first word in the verse, which should be an active verb of which words is the object, is made a passive verb, usually translated as were performed.  I firmly believe that that translation and interpretation are not correct.  The other translators have assumed that God is still instructing Jeremiah in this entire verse.  According to the Hebrew, this is not the case.

Here’s why I translated the verse as I did and what it means.  The first word of the verse, translated by me as He raised up, hinted to me that Jeremiah has interjected some of his own words to narrate what God told him to say to the men of Judah (in the previous verse).  So this is how I saw the verse unfolding in its context.  Jeremiah is saying that God (the He in my translation) repeated to him what the Rechabites had exhibited by their obedience to their father.  Then God’s instructions to Jeremiah (that began in the preceding verse) continue near the end of this verse in the passage enclosed in quotes.

The significance of the verse may now be clearly recognized.  God is comparing the Rechabites loyal and strict obedience of their father’s commandments, with the men of Judah’s total disobedience to their Father’s commandments.  That is the thrust of this chapter.

וָאֶשְׁלַח אֲלֵיכֶם אֶת־כָּל־עֲבָדַי הַנְּבִאִים הַשְׁכֵּים וְשָׁלֹחַ לֵאמֹר שֻׁבוּ־נָא אִישׁ מִדַּרְכֹּו הָרָעָה וְהֵיטִיבוּ   35:15 מַעַלְלֵיכֶם וְאַל־תֵּלְכוּ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים לְעָבְדָם וּשְׁבוּ אֶל־הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר־נָתַתִּי לָכֶם וְלַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם      וְלֹא הִטִּיתֶם אֶת־אָזְנְכֶם וְלֹא שְׁמַעְתֶּם אֵלָי׃

Jere. 35:15   “Also I have sent all My servants, the prophets, to you early and often, saying, ‘Turn back now every one from his path of evil, and amend your practices and do not follow after other gods to serve them, that you may dwell on the soil that I gave to you and to your fathers,’ but you have not inclined your ear and you have not listened to Me.”

כִּי הֵקִימוּ בְּנֵי יְהֹונָדָב בֶּן־רֵכָב אֶת־מִצְוַת אֲבִיהֶם אֲשֶׁר צִוָּם וְהָעָם הַזֶּה לֹא שָׁמְעוּ אֵלָי׃   35:16

Jere. 35:16   “Because the sons of J[eh]onadab son of Rechab uphold the commandment of their father that he had commanded them and this people do not listen to Me,

לָכֵן כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הִנְנִי מֵבִיא אֶל־יְהוּדָה וְאֶל כָּל־יֹושְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם אֵת   35:17 כָּל־הָרָעָה אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם יַעַן דִּבַּרְתִּי אֲלֵיהֶם וְלֹא שָׁמֵעוּ וָאֶקְרָא לָהֶם וְלֹא עָנוּ׃

Jere. 35:17   therefore thus says the Lord, God of hosts, God of Israel:  Behold, I am bringing to Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them, because I speak to them and they do not hear, and I call to them and they do not answer.”

וּלְבֵית הָרֵכָבִים אָמַר יִרְמְיָהוּ כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל יַעַן אֲשֶׁר שְׁמַעְתֶּם עַל־מִצְוַת   35:18 יְהֹונָדָב אֲבִיכֶם וַתִּשְׁמְרוּ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֹתָיו וַתַּעֲשׂוּ כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה אֶתְכֶם׃

Jere. 35:18   And to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel: ‘For the reason that you have listened concerning the commandment of J[eh]onadab, your father, and observed all his commandments and acted according to all he commanded you,

לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא־יִכָּרֵת אִישׁ לְיֹונָדָב בֶּן־רֵכָב עֹמֵד לְפָנַי כָּל־הַיָּמִים׃   35:19

Jere. 35:19   therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, God of Israel:  ‘No son of Rechab shall be cut off, to stand before Me forever.’”

So the Lord now rewards the Rechabites for their loyal obedience to their father and for their role in this lesson to the men of Judah.

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