Mysteries Of The Bible: Where Can The Sons Of Jonadab Be Found Today?

The family of Jonadab, part of the Kenites who were descended from the Midianite tribes related by marriage to Moses and descendants of Jethro, are a fairly obscure family in the Bible who show up a few times as important people in their own right [1]. This family, specifically, is referred to in 2 Kings 10 as being allies of Jehu in his attempts to wipe out Baal worship from Israel after the cosmopolitan decadence of the House of Omri, and later referred to in Jeremiah 35 for their filial duty in honoring the ascetic commandments of their fathers to avoid planting vineyards or settling in homes but to remain dwelling in tents all the days of their lives. For their obedience, in the midst of the massive disobedience of Judah as the Babylonian captivity neared, this family was promised the blessing that they would never lack a male to stand before God forever. Given the immense magnitutde of this blessing, the question naturally follows: how can we demonstrate that this blessing has been fulfilled to this day?

Within the last two years or so, my posts on the blessings of God promised to the Rechabites have been among the post popular posts that I have written, even though among the wider population the blessings promised to this family are a matter of considerable obscurity. Nevertheless, as the question: “Where are the Rechabites today?” is a common one that leads people from search engines to this blog, and is a question that has even been asked to me directly by readers of Edge Induced Cohesion, it is worthwhile to consider this question and figure out how it may be answered. I must admit that as of the time of this writing I do not know the answer to this obvious question, but having been asked and not knowing, my native instincts are to figure out the answer, as the answer would be a concrete demonstration of the blessings of God and of His faithfulness to promises throughout human history. Although the promises given to Rechab may seem a small thing, as Titus 1:2 says that as God cannot lie, therefore He will faithfully fulfill His promises, the ability to verify that this promise has been kept to the present day would be itself a strong argument as to the faithfulness of God in fulfilling specific promises, and that is a matter of importance even if the Rechabites themselves are far more obscure than most of the peoples discussed in scripture.

How would one go about demonstrating the survival of the Rechabites to the present day? For one, their status as allies of Jeremiah would indicate that after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587/586BC they were allowed to go where they wished, free of depredations, and they would likely have remained in the area of Judea or Samaria where they had spent the last several hundred years from the time of Moses and Joshua, given that the Rechabites were, far more than most people are, a people with a deep tie to their ancestral traditions even if they remained sojourners who dwelt in tents all of their days. Nomads are not generally most known for their literary culture [2], but if they remained as God-worshippers in alliance with the people of Judea, they would likely have remained not far from either the provincial capital of Mizpeh in the area of Benjamin or the area between Bethlehem and Ramat Rahel, both areas that remained settled by Judeans even after the Babylonian conquest, if not further south towards the areas where the Arabs and Iduemans invaded from this time. Although the history of the promised land has been particularly tumultuous, and there is no record of godly nomadic tribes during the time of the apostles and the early Church of God, at least none that I am aware of, how to trace the existence of this particular tribe of godly Bedouin to this day is not an easy matter, but the tribe of the Rechabites would most likely be found among the Bedouin loyal to the nation of Israel who dwell within its present borders, and investigating the oral traditions of these tribes would the most obvious place to look to see if the historical memory of Rechab and Jonadab has been kept alive among their own people.

There are at least a few aspects that may be investigated to determine the survival of the Rechabites. Oral history would be one obvious trail to follow. If it was possible to determine a DNA profile of the Rechabites, then their survival could be demonstrated using genetic genealogy techniques. Likewise, the survival of the traditions commanded by Jonadab for his descendants would be an indication that his example was still being followed nearly 3000 years after he commanded his descendants never to sow crops, grow vineyards, or build houses. Such a research technique would, at present, involve careful efforts at capturing the oral and written history of the Israelite Bedouin, and also engage in population studies that attempt to demonstrate the continuity of occupation of certain tribes within certain lands. This would be a fair amount of work, but if such a historical mystery was to be merely part of a larger desire to record the history and background of peoples whose nomadic ways tend to leave them in the shadows as far as historical records are concerned, except for their fleeting glimpses in the Bible and other texts, it is possible that a better understanding of the background of various Israeli Bedouin could help unravel the mystery of the survival of the Rechabites to this day. Such work, though, remains to be done.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/jonadab-the-son-of-rechab-shall-not-lack-a-man-to-stand-before-me-forever/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/jeremiah-354-the-sons-of-korah-help-stage-a-prophetic-test/

Looking Through My Window

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/the-accidental-traveling-librarian-or-the-material-culture-of-nomads/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Mysteries Of The Bible: Where Can The Sons Of Jonadab Be Found Today?

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  9. Gabriel Peixoto Franca says:

    Joseph Wolff found descendents of them living the same way, during his travels through Yemen; it is recorded in his missionary journals found online at archive.org

  10. Gabriel Peixoto Franca says:

    Hi! I’m so glad I found your comment! I did some research. In “Travels and adventures of the Rev. Joseph Wolff”, p. 508, it says that “Thus Wolff spent six days with the children of Rechab.
    They drink no wine, and plant no vineyards, and sow no seed, and live in tents, and remember good old Jonadab, the son of Rechab.”
    Link to the book: https://archive.org/details/travelsadventure00wolfuoft

  11. Anthony Mitchell says:

    Modern rekabites. I believe all your modern gypsies today. There’s no other people on the face of this Earth. That is spread around the world to the end of the lands. That still live in tent s. The modern motorhomes trailers . The gypsies don’t own homes. Lands. Vine yards Jeremiah chapter 35. Read it for yourself.Godbless.

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