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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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The Rechabites, though they dwelt among the Israelites, did not belong to any of their tribes; for they were Kenites, as appears from 1 Chronicles 2:55 , where the Kenites are said to have come of "Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab." These Kenites, afterward styled Rechabites, were of the family of Jethro, otherwise called Hobab, whose daughter Moses married; for "the children of the Kenite, Moses's father-in-law," it is said, "went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah, and dwelt among the people," Judges 1:16 ; and we read of "Heber the Kenite, who was of the children of Hobab, the father-in- law of Moses, who had severed himself from the Kenites," or from the bulk of them who settled in the tribe of Judah, "and pitched his tent in the plain of Zaanaim," Judges 4:11 . They appear to have sprung from Midian, the son of Abraham by Keturah, Genesis 25:2 ; for Jethro, from whom they are descended, is called a Midianite, Numbers 10:23 . Of this family was Jehonadab, the son of Rechab, a man of eminent zeal for the pure worship of God against idolatry, who assisted King Jehu in destroying the house of Ahab, and the worshippers of Baal, 2 Kings 10:15-16 ; 2 Kings 10:23 , &c. It was he who gave that rule of life to his children and posterity which we read of in Jeremiah 35:6-7 . It consisted of these three articles: that they should drink no wine; that they should neither possess nor occupy any houses, fields, or vineyards; that they should dwell in tents. This was the institution of the children of Rechab; and this they continued to observe for upward of three hundred years, from the time of Jehu to that of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar coming to besiege Jerusalem, the Rechabites were obliged to leave the country and take refuge in the city. In Jeremiah 35, there is a promise made to this people, that Jonadab, the son of Rechab, should not want a man to stand before the Lord; that is, that his posterity should not fail: and to this day this tribe is found among the Arabians of the desert, distinct, free, and practising exactly the institutions of Jonadab, whose name they bear, and of whose institutions they boast. This is a remarkable instance of the exact fulfilment of a minute and isolated prophecy. See BENI KHAIBIR .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Rechabites'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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