Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant
nor have [any]
That is, they were not to build houses, sow seed, or plant vineyards, for themselves, for their own profit and advantage; nor possess either of these through purchase or gift: all this was enjoined them, partly because they were strangers in the land of Israel, as is suggested in the latter part of the verse, and so were to have no inheritance in it; and partly because the pastoral life was what their ancestors had lived; and therefore Jonadab was desirous it should be continued in his posterity; as well as because by this means they would live not envied by the Israelites, among whom they were; since they did not covet to get any part of their possessions into their hands; as also these being their circumstances, upon any public calamity, as sword, famine, or pestilence, they could more easily remove to other places; and likewise, by observing these rules, would not be liable to some sins, as drunkenness, worldly mindedness which are often the cause of great calamities. The Essenes, a sect among the Jews afterwards, seem in some things to have copied after these Rechabites: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents;
which they could move from place to place, for the convenience of pasture for the cattle, the business they were brought up in, and were always to exercise: that ye may live many days in the land where ye [be] strangers;
for they were not Israelites, as before observed, but Kenites, the descendants of Jethro; they were proselytes of the gate only; and now, partly on account of their obedience to parents, which had annexed to it the promise of long life in the land in which they lived; and partly because they would, by such a course of life, give no umbrage to, nor raise any jealousy in, the minds of the inhabitants of it, they might expect a continuance in it.