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During Bible History, the Kenites were a nomadic tribe, possibly of metal workers (in Aramaic, Kenite is related to the word for smith - a tinsmith worked with tin, an arrowsmith made arrowheads etc.) that inhabited the area south of the land of Israel and into Sinai. Moses' father-in-law Jethro, also known as Raguel, is referred to both as a Midianite and a Kenite, perhaps either due to the often melding of the identity of a people by their nation and their location, or that one was a sub-group of the other. The Kenites were one of only a few of the groups of people that were not hostile to the Israelites during their Wilderness Journey after the Exodus (for the reason that it took 40 years for them to travel a distance that could have been done in 40 days, see A Journey Without A Destination), almost certainly due to the relationship of Moses to Jethro and Zipporah. Some of the Kenites even travelled with and among the Israelites and entered the Promised Land with them.


The Wilderness Journey The Lord mentions the Kenites to Abraham as among the tribes that inhabited the land of Israel prior to the time that the Israelites were given to possess it (see also "Land On Which You Had Not Labored"):

"In the same day The Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, 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, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites" (Genesis 15:18-21 KJV)

The Kenites travelled with the Israelites to the Promised Land, an obvious foreshadow of how salvation would be open to all people who are not hostile to the Truth:

"And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which The Lord said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for The Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel." (Numbers 10:29 KJV)

"And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people" (Judges 1:16 KJV)

Many years later, the friendship of the Kenites was still not forgotten when Saul went to war against the Amalekites:

"And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites." (1 Samuel 15:5-6 KJV)

Fact Finder: As proven in the Scriptures above, the Kenites were an example of how salvation is open to everyone who repents. What is the ultimate meaning of "Israel"?
See Physical and Spiritual Israel

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