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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Kenizzite

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(Heb. קְנַזַּי Kenizzi', patronymic from KENAZ), the appellation of two races or families.

1. (Sept. Κενεζαῖοι,Vulg. Cenezcei, Auth.Vers. "Kenizzites.") Dr. Wells suggests that they were the descendants of Kenaz (Geogr. i, 169). Mr. Forster adopts this view (Geography of Arabia, ii, 43), but it is clearly at variance with the scope of the Mosaic narrative. The words of the covenant made with Abraham were: "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates, the Kenites, and the Kenizzites," etc., plainly implying that these tribes then occupied the land, whereas Kenaz, the grandson of Esau, was not born for a century and a half after the Kenizzites were thus noticed. Forster's idea that the promise to Abraham was prophetical cannot be entertained. Nothing further is known' of their origin, which was probably kindred with that of the other tribes enumerated in the same connection. As the name signifies hunter, it may possibly be a general designation of some nomade tribe. The sacred writer gives no information as to what part of the country they inhabited, but, as they are not mentioned among the tribes of Canaan who were actually dispossessed by the Israelites (Exodus 3:8; Joshua 3:10; Judges 3:5), we may infer that the Kenizzites dwelt beyond the borders of those tribes. The whole country from Egypt to the Euphrates was promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18); the country divided by lot among the twelve tribes extended only from Dan to Beersheba, and consequently by far the larger portion of the " land of promise" did not then become " the land of possession," and, indeed, never was occupied by the Israelites, though the conquests of David probably extended over it. Bochart supposes that the Kenizzites had become extinct between the times of Abraham and Joshua. It is more probable that they inhabited some part of the. Arabian desert on the confines of Syria to which the expeditions of Joshua did not reach (see Bochart, Opera, i, 307). This is the view of the Talmudists, as may be seen in the quotation from their writings given by Lightfoot. (Opera, ii, 429).

2. (Sept. Κενεζαῖος, but διακεχωρισμένος in Numbers; Vulg. Cenezeus, Auth. Vers. "Kenezite.") An epithet applied to Caleb, the son of Jephunneh (Numbers 32:12; Joshua 14:6; Joshua 14:14); probably designating 'his twofold relationship with KENAZ, 2 (see further in Ritter's Erdkunde, 15:138). " Ewald maintains that Caleb really belonged to the tribe of the Kenizzites, and was an adopted Israelite (Isr. Gesch. i, 298). Prof. Stanley (Lectures on Jewsish Church, 1, 26t) holds the same view, and regards Caleb as of Idumean origin, and descended from Kenaz, Esau's grandson. But a careful study of sacred history proves that the Edomites and Israelites had many names in common; and the patronymic Kenizzite is derived from an ancestor called Kenaz, whose name is mentioned in Judges i, 13, and who was perhaps Caleb's grandfather." (See CALEB).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Kenizzite'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/k/kenizzite.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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