Judges 1:16 MEANING

Judges 1:16
(16) The children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law.--It is difficult to disentangle the names Jethro, Reuel, or Raguel, and Hobab (Judges 4:11); but in my article on Jethro in Kitto's Bible Cyclop?dia I have shown that Jethro and Reuel are identical, the latter name ("friend of God") being his local title as a priest of Midian; and that he was the father of Zipporah and Hobab. When Jethro refused to stay with the Israelites (Exodus 18:27), Hobab consented to accompany them as their hybeer or caravan-guide. He is well known in the Mohammedan legends as Schocib, but is confounded with Jethro.

The Kenites were the elder branch of the tribe of Midianites. They lived in the rocky district on the shores of the gulf of Akabah (Numbers 21:1; Numbers 24:21; 1 Samuel 15:6). They seem to have been named from a chieftain Kain (Genesis 15:19; Numbers 24:22; Heb., where there is a play on Kenite and Kinneka, "thy rest"). They were originally a race of troglodytes or cave-dwellers. The Targum constantly reads Salmaa for Kenite, because the Kenites were identified with the Kinim of 1 Chronicles 2:55. Jethro, they say. was a Kenite, who gave to Moses a house (Beth) and bread (lehem) (Exodus 2:20-21). They identify Jethro with Salmaa, because in 1 Chronicles 2:5 Salma is the father of Bethlehem. They also identify Rechab, the ancestor of the Rechabites--who were a branch of the Kenites--with Rechabiah, the son of Moses.

Went up.--Probably, in the first instance, in a warlike expedition.

The city of palm trees.--Probably Jericho (see Judges 3:13; Deuteronomy 34:3; 2 Chronicles 28:15). When Jericho was destroyed and laid under a curse, it would be quite in accordance with the Jewish feeling, which attached such "fatal force and fascination" to words, to avoid even the mention of the name. The Kenites would naturally attach less importance to the curse, or at any rate would not consider that they were braving it when they pitched their nomad tents among those beautiful groves of palms and balsams, which once made the soil "a divine country" (Jos. B. J. i. 6. ?6; iv. 8, ? 3; Antt. v. 1, ? 22), though they have now entirely disappeared. Rabbinic tradition says that Jericho was assigned to Hobab. From the omission of the name Jericho, some have needlessly supposed that the reference is to Phaenico (a name which means "palm-grove"), an Arabian town mentioned by Diod Sic. iii. 41 (Le Clerc, Bertheau, Ewald); but there is no difficulty about the Kenites leaving Jericho when Judah left it.

The wilderness of Judah.--The Midbar--not a waste desert, but a plain with pasture--was a name applied to the lower Jordan valley and the southern hills of Judea (Genesis 21:14; Matthew 3:1; Matthew 4:1; Luke 15:4). The Kenites, like all Bedouins, hated the life of cities, and never lived in them except under absolute necessity (Jeremiah 35:6-7).

In the south of Arad.--Our E.V. has, in Numbers 21:1, King Arad; but more correctly, in Joshua 15:14, "the king of Arad." It was a city twenty miles from Hebron, on the road to Petra, and the site is still called Tell-Arad (Wilton, Negeb, p. 198). They may have been attracted by the caves in the neighbourhood, and, although they left it at the bidding of Saul (1 Samuel 15:6), they seem to have returned to it in the days of David (1 Samuel 30:29).

Among the people.--It seems most natural to interpret this of the Israelites of the tribe of Judah; hut it may mean "the people to which he belonged," i.e., the Amalekites (Numbers 21:21), and this accords with 1 Samuel 15:21. For the only subsequent notices of this interesting people, see Judges 4:11; 1 Samuel 15:6; 1 Chronicles 2:55; Jeremiah 35. They formed a useful frontier-guard to the Holy Land.

Verse 16. - The children of the Kenite, etc. It appears from this verse that the invitation given by Moses to his "father-in-law," or rather "brother-in-law," Hobab, to accompany him and the Israelites to the land of promise, though at first rejected (Numbers 10:29, 30), was eventually accepted. Hobab and his tribe, a branch of the Midianites, called Kenites, from an unknown ancestor, Kain, at first settled in the city of palm trees, i.e. Jericho (Deuteronomy 34:3); but it seems that when Judah started on his expedition with Simeon to conquer the south laud, the Kenites went with him. A subsequent migration of a portion of this nomadic tribe is mentioned (Judges 4:11). Dwelt among the people, i.e. the people of Judah. For Arad see Numbers 21:1.

1:9-20 The Canaanites had iron chariots; but Israel had God on their side, whose chariots are thousands of angels, Ps 68:17. Yet they suffered their fears to prevail against their faith. About Caleb we read in Jos 15:16-19. The Kenites had settled in the land. Israel let them fix where they pleased, being a quiet, contented people. They that molested none, were molested by none. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law,.... The posterity of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses; for though Jethro returned to his own country, after he had paid a visit to Moses in the wilderness, yet Hobab his son, at the persuasion of Moses, travelled with him and Israel through the wilderness, and went with them into Canaan, at least some of his descendants, and settled there, some in one part of the land, and some in another, of whom we read in several places of Scripture; they continued to the days of Jeremiah, and then went by the name of Rechabites, so called from Rechab, a descendant of Jethro: these

went up out of the city of palm trees; from the city of Jericho, as the Targum, so called from the great number of palm trees which grew near it, see Deuteronomy 34:3. This is to be understood not of the city itself, that was utterly destroyed by Joshua, and the rebuilding of it was forbidden under a curse, but the country adjacent, the valley in which it stood, which was set with palm trees; here was a grove of palm trees (m), and the garden of balsam, which grew nowhere else, as Strabo (n) says; and who also observes, that here was a royal palace in his time; this belonged to Herod king of Judea in the times of Augustus Caesar, to whose palm tree groves there Horace (o) refers. Here the Kenites first settled when they came first over Jordan with Joshua, being a most pleasant and delightful place, and suitable to such persons who dwelt in tents, as they did, and answered to the promise of Moses to Hobab, Numbers 10:29; and here it seems they had remained to this time: and now they left it, and came

with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah; which was also a convenient place for the habitation of such persons, who loved a solitary life. Perhaps the Canaanites about Jericho might be troublesome to them, and therefore chose to stay no longer, there; or, having a peculiar affection for the tribe of Judah, they chose to be within their lot; and the rather, as they were a warlike and valiant tribe, they might expect the greater safety and protection among them:

which lieth, in the south of Arad; that is, which wilderness of Judah lay there, of which name there was a country or city, see Numbers 21:1; and here some of them dwelt to the times of Saul, the Amalekites then having got possession of the southern parts, which they infested and were troublesome to, see 1 Samuel 15:6,

and they went and dwelt among the people; of the tribe of Judah, near some of the cities which were in the wilderness; of which see Joshua 15:63.

(m) Justin. e Trogo, l. 36. c. 3.((n) Geograph. l. 16. p. 525. (o) Praeferat Herodis. Palmetis Pinguibus----De Arte Poet. ver. 184.

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