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Rechabites /ˈrkəbts/ are a biblical clan, the descendants of Rechab through Jonadab or Jehonadab. They belonged to the Kenites, who accompanied the children of Israel into the holy land, and dwelt among them. Moses married a Kenite wife,[1] and Jael was the wife of "Heber the Kenite."[2] Saul also showed kindness to the Kenites.[3] The main body of the Kenites dwelt in cities, and adopted settled habits of life;[4] but Jehonadab forbade his descendants to drink wine or to live in cities.[5] They were commanded to always lead a nomad life. They adhered to the law laid down by Jonadab, and were noted for their fidelity to the old-established custom of their family in the days of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 35); and this feature of their character is referred to by God for the purpose of giving point to his message to Judah.[6][7]

Modern history[edit]

In 1839 the Reverend Joseph Wolff, who later went to Bokhara to attempt to save Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stoddart and Captain Arthur Conolly, found in Yemen, near Sana'a, a tribe claiming to be descendants of Jehonadab; and in the late nineteenth century a Bedouin tribe was found near the Dead Sea who also professed to be descendants of Jehonadab.[8]

The term Rechabites also refers to a religious order, similar in some ways to the Nazarites, and they are mentioned by Eusebius of Emesa.[9]

In more recent times, the name has been used by Christian groups keen to promote total abstinence from alcohol, such as the Independent Order of Rechabites. Many Muslims still claim descent from Rechab, among the nearly-universal claim of Arabs to descend from Abraham through Ishmael (Ismail).


  1. ^ Judges 1:16
  2. ^ Judges 4:17
  3. ^ 1 Sam 15:6
  4. ^ 1 Sam 30:29
  5. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Rechab and the Rechabites". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  6. ^ Jer 35:14
  7. ^ They are referred to in Neh 3:14 and 1 Chr 2:55
  8. ^ Rechabites - Easton's Bible Dictionary
  9. ^ Eusebius; H. E. ii. 23

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEaston, Matthew George (1897). "article name needed". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.