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(ree' kab) HEBREW: REKAB

Rechab was the father or ancestor of Jonadab (also called Jehonadab), an ardent supporter of Jehu's bloody revolt against the house of Omri. As the patriarch of a group of nomadic shepherds or itinerant chariot makers called the Rechabites, Jonadab fled to Jerusalem during Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Judah.

The Rechabites zealously worshipped God and maintained a disciplined life-style. When the prophet Jeremiah offered them wine to test their obedience, they refused, saying, "Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, 'You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons for ever; you shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn'" (Jeremiah 35:6-7).

Jeremiah commended the Rechabites for remaining true to their principles, in contrast to the people of Judah, who were faithless to God. As a reward, the Lord promised that "Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me" (Jeremiah 35:19). This prophecy turned out to be accurate, since the Rechabites are known to have thrived from at least the ninth to the sixth century B.C.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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