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They belonged to the Kenites, who accompanied the children of Israel into Palestine, and dwelt among them. Moses married a Kenite wife (Judg. 1:16), and Jael was the wife of “Heber the Kenite” (4:17). Saul also showed kindness to the Kenites (1 Sam. 15:6). The main body of the Kenites dwelt in cities, and adopted settled habits of life (30:29); but Jehonadab forbade his descendants to drink wine or to live in cities. They were commanded to lead always a nomad life.
They adhered to the law laid down by Jonadab, and were noted for their fidelity to the old-established custom of their family in the days of Jeremiah (35); and this feature of their character is referred to by the prophet for the purpose of giving point to his own exhortation. They are referred to in Neh. 3:14 and 1 Chr. 2:55. Dr. Wolff (1839) found in Arabia, near Mecca, a tribe claiming to be descendants of Jehonadab; and later a Bedouin tribe has been found near the Dead Sea who also profess to be descendants of the same Kenite chief.