Kenites: Smiths, the name of a tribe inhabiting the desert lying between
southern Palestine and the mountains of Sinai. Jethro was of this
(Judges 1:16) He is called a "Midianite"
(Numbers 10:29) and hence it is
concluded that the Midianites and the Kenites were the same tribe.
They were wandering smiths, "the gipsies and travelling tinkers of
the old Oriental world. They formed an important guild in an age when
the art of metallurgy was confined to a few" (Sayce's Races, etc.).
They showed kindness to Israel in their journey through the
wilderness. They accompanied them in their march as far as Jericho
(Judges 1:16) and then returned to their old haunts among the Amalekites,
in the desert to the south of Judah. They sustained afterwards
friendly relations with the Israelites when settled in Canaan
(Judges 4:11,17-21; 1 Samuel 27:10; 30:29) The Rechabites belonged to this
(1 Chronicles 2:55) and in the days of Jeremiah
(Jeremiah 35:7-10) are
referred to as following their nomad habits. Saul bade them depart
from the Amalekites
(1 Samuel 15:6) when, in obedience to the divine
commission, he was about to "smite Amalek." And his reason is, "for ye
showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of
Egypt." Thus "God is not unrighteous to forget the kindnesses shown to
his people; but they shall be remembered another day, at the farthest
in the great day, and recompensed in the resurrection of the just" (M.
Henry's Commentary). They are mentioned for the last time in Scripture
(1 Samuel 27:10) comp.
(1 Samuel 30:20)