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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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people who dwelt westward of the Dead Sea, and extended themselves pretty far into Arabia Petraea: for Jethro, the priest of Midian, and father-in-law to Moses, was a Kenite, Judges 1:16 ; 1 Chronicles 2:55 ; 1 Samuel 15:6 . When Saul was sent to destroy the Amalekites, the Kenites, who had joined them, perhaps by compulsion, were ordered to depart from them, that they might not share in their fate; and the reason assigned was, that they "showed kindness to the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt," 1 Samuel 15:6 . Which, according to the margin of our Bible, is to be understood of the father-in- law of Moses and his family. From the story of Jethro, who is expressly said to be a Midianite, they appear to have retained the worship of the true God among them; for which, and their kindness to the Israelites when passing their country, they were spared in the general destruction of the nations bordering on Canaan. Of these Kenites were the Rechabites, the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and the Suchathites, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:55 , whose chief office was that of scribes. ( See RECHABITES. ) Balaam, when invited by Balak, king of Moab, to curse Israel, stood upon a mountain, whence he addressed the Kenites, and said, "Strong is thy dwelling place, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock; nevertheless, the Kenite shall be wasted until Asher shall carry thee away captive," Numbers 24:21-22 . The Kenites dwelt in mountains and rocks almost inaccessible. They were conquered and carried into captivity, by Nebuchadnezzar. After Saul the Kenites are not mentioned; but they subsisted, being mingled among the Edomites and other nations of Arabia Petraea.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Kenites'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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