On 13 April 2002, David Suter made some interesting
comments about Boccaccini's "Sources of Rabbinic Judaism".

"This particular publication identifies the opposition between Zadokite
and Enochic Judaism as an intrapriestly dispute representing the
of the push for power of the sons of Zadok back in the early Restoration
period, pushing aside the Davidic line to establish the high priesthood
and the high priestly theocracy (this is the origin of the high priestly
office, he argues I think correctly, since prior to the exile the king
been the chief official in charge of the cultus)....There is reason on
part of the royal and non-Zadokite priests to object, since, if I follow
his analysis correctly, the Zadokites cooperated with the Babylonians
during the exile and are therefore perceived to have betrayed the nation.
...While I don't necessarily agree with Boccaccini's dating in every
case, the advantage that I see to the argument is that it traces the
fragmentation of Second Temple Judaism to a dispute within the
priesthood in the Persian and early Hellenistic periods...."

I found these comments more than enough encouragement to
look at where the "intra-priestly" factions might actually be best
seen in the O.T.

And I have to wonder if Jeremiah isn't the most obvious place!

We read:
Jer 35:16   "Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have
performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded
them; but his people hath not hearkened unto me....
Jer 35:18   And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus
saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed
the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts,
and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:  
Jer 35:19   Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;
Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me
for ever."  

I believe most will agree that the phrase "stand before me" is a 
standard phrase meaing, "perform priestly duties before me".
And so what we have here is a fairly explicit reference to a 
Rechabite priesthood, "standing before" the God of Israel.

This text is usually just passed over.  But there really isn't
a more dramatic indication of a RIVAL priesthood than this.
Some have suggested that Jeremiah himself was of Rechabite
extraction.  And I am sympathetic to these views.

But who were these Rechabites?  Do we see any other clues that
would suggest that the Rechabites were "part & parcel" of the
Yahwist community?  In fact, there are so many clues it makes
one wonder whether the identity of the Rechabites was intentionally
hidden?.... or in fact made quite easy to trace.

Conventionally speaking, the Rechabites are descended from
the Midianites who are, in turn, descended from the Kenites.

Does this offer us a clue?  

One possible clue is the identity of Enoch/Hanoch.

Strong's has the following:

02585 Chanowk {khan-oke'}  
from 02596;
AV - Enoch 9, Hanoch 5, Henoch 2; 16
n pr m
Enoch = "dedicated"
1) eldest son of Cain
2) son of Jared and father of Methuselah whom God
took home to heaven without dying
n pr loc
3) the city which Cain built and named after his
son Enoch
n pr m
Hanoch = "dedicated"
4) a son of Midian, the third child
5) the eldest son of Reuben

And here we see the following:
a) phonetic linkage between "Khan" of Hanoch and "Ken"
of Kenites -  with Cain being the first born of Adam;
b) the first born of Cain;
c) the name of the city Hanoch/Enoch;
d) a son of Midian, with the Kenite connection to Midian;
and finally...
e) the first born of Reuben.

There's an awful lot of "first born" aspect to this Enoch/Hanoch.
And this leads one to wonder more about the Reuben connection.
Reuben was the first born of Jacob/Israel.  And yet we know practically
nothing about this tribe.  We know that it had the first position in
of the ark.  And that it settled the first territory of the Transjordan
Moab region.

Certainly by the time of Meshe of Moab, there doesn't appear to
be a trace of Reuben left.  What has happened to this entire tribe?
Could it in fact be just another name for a tribe of "Rechob"?

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Reubenite is phonetically not
that distant from "Rechob-im":

07206 Reh'uwbeniy {reh-oob-ay-nee'}  
patronymic from 07205;; adj
AV - Reubenite 17, Reuben 1; 18
Reubenite = see Reuben "behold a son"
1) a descendant of Reuben the son of Jacob

And in the story of Exodus we hear Moses successfully
persuading the Midianites to lead his people into the lands
they are familiar with.  This would put the Midianites into the
"first" position.  Wouldn't this be ahead of Reuben?  Or was
it, in fact, Reuben that they came to represent.

I know that all of this is very speculative.  But the inescapable
"nugget" in this discussion is that Jeremiah says that there will
ALWAYS be a Rechabite priest serving the Lord of Israel.

These are incredibly strong words.  And if we look at the
links to the name Enoch/Hanoch, it seems clear that Enochian
"echoes" can be heard in the Rechabite/Kenite matrix.

So before responders rush to demolish this humble piece of
speculation, I think it is necessary to explain who the Rechabite
priests must have been during the time of Jeremiah.  And if they
were, indeed, a priesthood..... then have we not discovered the
roots of the Enochian priestly faction?

I look forward to an exploration of these issues.

George Brooks
Tampa, FL

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