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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Father or ancestor of Jehonadab. (See Jehonadab .) ( 2 Kings 10:15;  2 Kings 10:23;  1 Chronicles 2:55;  Jeremiah 35:6-19). RECHABITES, the dwellers in cities, are distinguished from the nomadic wanderers ( Genesis 4:20-22); and the distinction still exists in Persia and Arabia, where the two classes are found side by side. Rechab, meaning "rider," may be an epithet that became a proper name; a wild Bedouin-like nomadic rider, as the Rechab ( 2 Samuel 4:2): a fit companion for Jehu the furious driver ( 2 Kings 9:20). Boulduc (Ecclesiastes ante Leg., 3:10) infers from  2 Kings 2:12;  2 Kings 13:14, that Elijah and Elisha were "the chariot ( Recheb ) of Israel," i.e. its safeguard, and that their austere followers were "sells of the chariot," which phrase was subsequently, through ignorance of the original meaning, made "sons of Rechab."

John of Jerusalem says Jehonadab was Elisha's disciple (Instit. Monach. 25). The ascetic rule against wine, houses, sowing, and planting (Jeremiah 35), was a safeguard against the corrupting license of the Phoenician cities and their idolatries ( Amos 2:7-8;  Amos 6:3-6). They must rigidly adhere to the simplicity of their Arab tent life. Jehonadab's name, containing "Jehovah," and his abhorrence of Baal worship, imply that the Rechabites though not of Israel were included in the Abrahamic covenant; the Arab Wahabees , ascetics as to opium and tobacco, present a parallel. In Jeremiah's days they were still faithful to Jehovah. Their strict Nazarite vow was the ground of their admission into one of the temple chambers devoted to the sons of Hanak sprung from "Igdaliah a man of God," or prophet of special sanctity.

There they resisted the temptation to drink wine; and Jeremiah makes their faithfulness to their earthly father a reproof of Israel's unfaithfulness to their heavenly Father. God consequently promises, "Jehonadab son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before Me forever," i.e. to minister in the sanctuary before Jehovah so long as Israel's sanctuary and polity stand: so Levi ( Deuteronomy 10:8;  Deuteronomy 18:5-7;  Genesis 18:22;  Judges 20:28;  Psalms 134:1;  Jeremiah 15:19); so the targum of Jonathan translated "ministers before Me." It was an adoption of the Rechabites into Israel, by incorporation with Levi, on the ground of their Nazarite-like purity and consecration.

The Rechabites are spoken of as "scribes" ( 1 Chronicles 2:55); at the return from Babylon they took a profession, almost exclusively a Levite one. Kimchi (in Vatablus) cites the tradition recorded by Rechab. Judah that the Rechabites married Levites, and their children ministered in the temple. Their close juxtaposition with the sons of David ( 1 Chronicles 3:1) shows in what esteem the sacred writer held them. Hegesippus (Eusebius, H. E. ii. 23) mentions that a Rechabite priest protested against the martyrdom of James the Just. Hegesippus thus attests the existence of the Rechabites as sharing in the temple ritual down to its destruction by the Romans; fulfilling  Jeremiah 35:19.

Benjamin of Tudela (12th century) says that near El Jubar (Pumbeditha) he found 100,000 Rechabite Jews, who tilled, kept flocks and herds, abstained from wine and flesh, and gave tithes to teachers who devoted themselves to studying the law and weeping for Jerusalem; their prince Solomon han Nasi traced his descent to David and ruled over Thema and Telmas. Wolff found a tribe, the Beni Khaibr, near Senaa, who called themselves "sons of Jonadab," and said they numbered 60,000 (Journal, ii. 334,335). The Septuagint prefixes a title to Psalm 71, "a psalm by David, of the sons of Jonadab, and of those first carried captive": this implies, in the third century B.C., a Hebrew title existed declaring that the Rechabites shared the Babylonian captivity, and with the Levite psalmists expressed the nation's sorrows and aspirations.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [2]

Re'chab. (Rider).

1. One of the two "captains of bands," whom Ish-bosheth took into his service, and who conspired to murder him.  2 Samuel 4:2. (B.C. 1046).

2. The father of Malchiah, ruler of part of Beth-haccerem.  Nehemiah 3:14. (B.C. before 446).

3. The father, or ancestor of Jehonadab.  2 Kings 10:15;  2 Kings 10:33;  1 Chronicles 2:65;  Jeremiah 35:6-19. (B.C.before 882). It was from this Rechab, that the tribe of the Rechabites derived their name. In  1 Chronicles 2:55, the house of Rechab is identified with a section of the Kenites, a Midianitish tribe who came into Canaan with the Israelites, and retained their nomadic habits.

The real founder of the tribe was Jehonadab. See Jehonadab . He and his people had, all along, been worshippers of Jehovah , circumcised, though not looked upon as belonging to Israel, and probably, therefore, not considering themselves bound by the Mosaic law and ritual. The worship of Baal was offensive to them. Jonadab inaugurated a reformation, and compelled a more rigid adherence than ever to the old Arab life. They were neither to drink wine, nor build houses, nor sow seed, nor plant nor have any vineyard. All their days they were to dwell in tents.  Jeremiah 35:6-7 This was to be the condition of their retaining a distinct tribal existence.

For two centuries and a half, they adhered faithfully to this rule. The invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, in B.C. 607, drove the Rechabites from their tents to Jerusalem, where they stood proof against temptation, and were specially blessed.  Jeremiah 35:2-19 . There is much of interest in relation, to the present condition of these people.

Dr. Wolf reports that the Jews of Jerusalem and Yemen told him that he would find the Rechabites of Jeremiah 35 living near Mecca, in the mountainous country northeast of Medina. When he came near Senaa, he came in contact with a tribe, the Beni-Khabir , who identified themselves, with the sons of Jehonadab. They claimed to number 60,000, to adhere to the old rules, and to be a fulfillment of the promise made to Jehonadab.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [3]

1. Son of Rimmon: he and his brother Baanah assassinated Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, for which they were put to death by David.   2 Samuel 4:2-12 .

2. Father of Jehonadab, or Jonadab, founder of the RECHABITES.   2 Kings 10:15,23;  Jeremiah 35:6-19 .

3. Descendant of Hemath, a Kenite: perhaps the same as No. 2.   1 Chronicles 2:55 .

4. Father of Malchiah, who repaired the dung gate of Jerusalem.   Nehemiah 3:14 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [4]

  • The father of Jehonadab, who was the father of the Rechabites ( 2 Kings 10:15,23;  Jeremiah 35:6-19 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Rechab'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Holman Bible Dictionary [5]

     2 Samuel 4:1-12 2 2 Kings 10:23 3 Nehemiah 3:14

    Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [6]

    There are several of this name in Scrip ture; but he that is most recommended to our attention by the Holy Ghost, is he who by his rules to his family gave an honourable testimony to the house of the Rechabites; and which is handed down to us of this house.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

    (Heb. Recchab', רֵכָב , A Rider; Sept. ῾Ρηχάβ ) , the name of three men.

    1. The first named of the two "sons of Rimmon the Beerothite," "captains of bands," who murdered Ishbosheth in his bed in order to gain favor with David, but were put to death by him, with expressions of abhorrence for their crime ( 2 Samuel 4:5-12). B.C. 1046. Josephus calls him Thannus ( Θάννος , Ant. 7:2, 1). The other's name was Baanah (q.v.).

    2. The "father" of Jehonadab (or Jonadab,  Jeremiah 35:6), who was Jehu's companion in destroying the worshippers of Baal ( 2 Kings 10:15;  2 Kings 10:23 ). (See Jehonadab). B.C. ante 882. He was the ancestor of the Rechabites (q.v.).

    3. The father of Malchiah, which latter was ruler of part of Beth-haccerem, and is named as repairing the dung-gate in the fortifications of Jerusalem under Nehemiah ( Nehemiah 3:14). B.C. ante 446.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [8]

    Re´chab (rider), son of Hemath the Kenite, and probably a descendant of Jethro [KENITES]: he is only known as the father of Jonadab, the founder of the sect of Rechabites, which took from him its name (;; ).