Holman Bible Dictionary
The Kenites lived among the Amalekites during the time of Saul. The Kenites “showed kindness” to Israel during the time of the Exodus (1 Samuel 15:6 ). The chronicler includes the Kenite, Hemath, the father of the Rechabites, as one of the ancestors of the tribe of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:55 ). No mention is made of the Kenites in the late history of Israel suggesting to many scholars that they disappeared or lost their identity shortly after 1000 B.C.
The word Kenite is probably related to an Aramaic word that means “smith.” Some scholars think the traveling blacksmiths of the Middle Ages resembled the Kenites. This would account for their relations with different peoples. In addition to their nomadic character, the biblical evidence also indicates that the Kenites were never completely absorbed by another people but maintained a separate existence throughout their history. See Moses , Jethro ; Cain ; Amalekites; Midianites.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Kenites'. Holman Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/k/kenites.html. 1991.