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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Kenath', קְנָת , possession; Sept. Κανάθ), a city of Gilead, captured, with its environs, from the Canaanites by Nobah (apparently an associate or relative of Jair), and afterwards called by his name (Numbers 33:42; compare Judges 8:11); although in the parallel passage (1 Chronicles 2:23) the capture seems not to be distinguished from' the exploits of Jair himself, a circumstance that may aid to explain the apparent discrepancy in the number of villages ascribed to the latter. (See JAIR). Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v.) call it Kanatha (Καναθά), and reckon it as a part of Arabia (Trachonitis). -It is probably the Canatha (Κάναθα) mentioned by Ptolemy (v, 15, and 23) as a city of the Decapolis (v, 16), and also by Josephus (War, i, 19, 2) as being situated in Coele-Syria. In the time of the latter it was inhabited by Arabians, who defeated the troops led against them by Herod the Great. In the Peutinger Tables it is placed on the road leading from Damascus to Bostra, twenty miles from the latter (Reland, Pal. p. 421). It became the seat of a bishopric in the 5th century (id. p. 682). All these notices indicate some locality in the Hauran (Auranitis) (Reland, Palest. p. 681), where Burckhardt found, two miles northeast of Suweidah, the ruins of a place called Kunawat (Trav. in Syria, p. 83-6), doubtless the same mentioned by Rev. E. Smith (Robinson's Researches, 3 Append. p. 157) in the Jebel Hauran (see also Schwarz, Palest. p. 223). This situation, it is true, is rather distant north-easterly for Kenath, which lay not far beyond Jogbehah (Judges 8:11), and within the territory of Manasseh (Numbers 33:39-42), but the boundaries of the tribe in this direction seem to have been quite indefinite. (See MANASSEH, EAST).

The suggestion that Kenawat was Kenath seems, however, to have been first made by Gesenius in his notes to Burckhardt (A.D. 1823, p, 505). Another Kenawat is marked on Van de Velde's map about ten miles farther to the west. The former place was visited by Porter (Damascus, ii, '87-115), who describes it as "beautifully situated in the midst of oak forests, on the western declivities of the mountains of Bashan, twenty miles north of Bozrah. The ruins, which cover a space a mile long and half a mile wide, are among the finest and most interesting east of the Jordan. They consist of temples, palaces, theatres, towers, and a hippodrome of the Roman age; one or two churches of early Christian times, and a great number of massive private houses, with stone roofs and stone doors, which were probably built by the ancient Rephaim. The city walls are in some places nearly perfect, In front of one of the most beautiful of the temples is a colossal head of Ashteroth, a deity which seems to have been worshipped here before the time of Abraham, as one of the chief cities of Bashan was then called Ashterotli-Karnaim (Genesis 14:5). Kunaw't is now occupied by a few families of Druses, who find a home in the old houses" (Handbook for Palest. p. 512 sq.; comp. Ritter, Pal. and Syr. ii, 931-939; Buckingham, Travels among the Arab Tribes, p. 240).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Kenath'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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