Chapter 38. The Kenizzim and Kenim

The most famous of biblical Kennizites likely descended from Kenaz was Caleb, and Caleb’s younger brother Kenaz, who was the father of Othaniel. Caleb fought alongside Israel in the Promised Land conquest, and inherited Hebron/Kiriatharba controlled by Anakim. What is not clear with Caleb, though, is whether he was a descendant of Kenaz or Kenizzim Rephaim, and we do not know who Kenaz’s mother was. Caleb was likely an Edomite, based on the fact that Caleb’s brother was patronymically named Kenaz.

Very little is known about the Kenizzim in or outside the Bible. Strong’s Cyclopaedia suggests the Kenizzim were a nomadic tribe that dwelled beyond the land Israel. Kenizzim likely were eastern giants based on the geography presented in the land awarded to Abraham’s descendants, from the Nile to the Euphrates. Not only were the bn Qdm listed as a people of the east, but qdm was also translated as “ancient” in the Ugartic Texts. There are no Egyptian records recording Kenizzim, but Knz does surface as personal Berber name, indicating an ancient patronymic tradition by that name. The Kenizzim were not listed in the Bible among any of the nations in the time of the conquest of the Covenant Land, nor was their patriarch tallied in the table of nations, with the latter indicating Kenizzim were Rephaim.

Kenizzites, according to Nelson’s and Unger’s dictionaries, were very skilled in the arts of metalworking, like Cain and Tubal-Cain, and were closely related to Kenites. One deduces the metalworking crafts were devoted mostly to weapons of war, yet another characteristic of Rephaim nations. The close Kenizzim kinship with the Kenim shines light on the obscure Kennizzim and the peoples of the east and the west. Duke Kenaz/Qnaz, son of Eliphaz of Edom, seems to have been named in the same tradition as Amalek, to honor a giant race, as the patriarch for the hybrid Kenizzites/Qnizziy of the Edom region.

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