Kenite, The

Smith’s Bible Dictionary

“Kenite, The ” means

Kenite, The : and Ken'ites (smiths), The, inhabited the rocky and desert region between southern Palestine and the mountains of Sinai, east of the Gulf of Akabah. They were a branch of the larger nation of Midian, --from the fact that Jethro, who in Exodus (see (Exodus 2:15,16; 4:19) etc.) is represented as dwelling in the land of Midian, and as priest or prince of that nation, is in (Judges 1:16; 4:11) as distinctly said to have been a Kenite. The important services rendered by the sheikh of the Kenites to Moses during a time of great pressure and difficulty were rewarded by the latter with a promise of firm friendship between the two peoples. They seem to have accompanied the Hebrews during their wanderings, (Numbers 24:21,22; Judges 1:16) comp. 2Chr 28:15 but, the wanderings of Israel over, they forsook the neighborhood of the towns and betook themselves to freer air, --to "the wilderness of Judah, which is to the south of Arad." (Judges 1:16) But one of the sheikhs of the tribe, Heber by name, had wandered north instead of south. (Judges 4:11) The most remarkable development of this people is to be found in the sect or family of the Rechabites.