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Kenite The

Ken’ite, 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 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, Num. 24:21, 22; Judges 1:16; comp. 2 Chron. 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.