The Rechabites belonged to the Kenites, who accompanied the Israelites into the Holy Land and dwelt among them. The main body of the Kenites dwelt in cities and adopted settled habits of life but Jehonadab forbade his descendants to drink wine or to live in cities. They were commanded to always lead a nomadic life.
The Rechabites 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; and this feature of their character is referred to by God for the purpose of giving point to his message to the King of Judah. As a reward for their fidelity, God proclaims that there will always be a descendant of Jonadab in his service.
The apocryphal History of the Rechabites, from late antiquity, details the journey of a monk named Zosimus to the "Land of the Rechabites."
In 1839 the Reverend Joseph Wolff, who later went to Bukhara 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.