Dear Geoff, Thanks for the questions. You write: "1. Jehonadab son of Recab (2 Kings 10.15) was around before the exile described in 2 Kings 17. So presumably the Rechabite lifestyle was already in evidence."
Yep, according to the biblical editors. This could either have some historicity to it, or be an "etiological" tale to explain where it comes from. The deity that is archaeologically attested to the Rechabite lifestyle is the Aramaean Shai al' Qaum, who is traditionally translated as "Companion/Protector of the Caravan". But it could also be a pun on the term "Qaum", and mean BOTH "Caravan" and "stone". In anycase, there seems to be close congruence between the Rechabites and the peoples that were devoted to Shai al Qaum. You also ask: "2. How do you reconcile the nomadic, tent dwelling, Maverick > Rechabites with settled, law-bound, controlled, agricultural Essenes?" This happens to dovetail quite nicely with the discussions of Shai al Qaum. While the Hellenized version of this anti-wine God would eventually become Lycurgus, there seems to be strong evidence (per Diodorus's famous texts about Nabataeans), that devotees of Shai settled in the land of Edom and were known as Nabataeans. And LONG before there was a people we would call Essenes, the Nabataeans themselves had undergone a transition from "tent dwelling mavericks" to agriculturally supported people living in urbanized centers. There are discussions as to whether even this development was "universal" - - in other words, perhaps a section of Nabataean peasantry CONTINUED to endorse the Rechabite ideals. In anycase, as far as the Essene phenomenon goes, it would appear that mentions of them being an agricultural people is emphasized by Josephus about the Jewish version of Essene-dom. And even here, the story about Banus/Bannus emphasizes that he only ate what grew wild, and did not cultivate his foodstuffs. And that Essenes also varied as to what trades they did pursue. So, in short, I would see Essene communes based on agriculture as part of the VARIED expression of Jewish Essene activity, rather than as the norm. And that, in any case, it seems likely that what was perceived as "ascetic" continued to evolve over time, so that controlling sexual behavior became more of a "hallmark" than avoiding agriculture. Best wishes, George For private reply, e-mail to George Brooks <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> ---------------------------------------------------------------- To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to [EMAIL PROTECTED] with the message: "unsubscribe Orion." Archives are on the Orion Web site, http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il. (PLEASE REMOVE THIS TRAILOR BEFORE REPLYING TO THE MESSAGE)