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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 729 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KENITES, in the Bible a tribe or clan of. the south of Palestine, closely associated with the Amalekites, whose hostility towards Israel, however, it did not share. On this account Saul spared them when bidden by Yahweh to destroy Amalek; David, too, whilst living in Judah, appears to have been on friendly terms with them (I Sam. xv. 6, xxx. 29). Moses himself married into a Kenite family (Judges i. 16), and the variant tradition would seem to show that the Kenites were only a branch of the Midianites (see JETHRO, MIDIAN). Jael, the slayer of Sisera (see DEBORAH), was the wife of Heber the Kenite, who lived near Kadesh in Naphtali; and the appearance of the clan in this locality may be explained from the nomadic habits of the tribe, or else as a result of the northward movement in which at least one other clan or tribe took part (see DAN). There is an obscure allusion to their destruction in an appendage to the oracles of Balaam (Num. xxiv. 21 seq., see G. B. Gray, Intern. Crit. Comm. p. 376); and with this, the only unfavourable reference to them, may perhaps be associated the curse of Cain. Although some connexion with the name of Cain is probable, it is difficult, however, to explain the curse (for one view, see LEVITES). More important is the prominent part played by the Kenite (or Midianite) father-in-law of Moses, whose help and counsel are related in Exod. xviii.; and if, as seems probable, the Rechabites (q.v.) were likewise of Kenite origin (1 Chron. ii. 55), this obscure tribe had evidently an important part in shaping the religion of Israel. 1901, giving a total of I9o,698. According to an estimate made by Mr G. C. Stirling, the political officer in charge of the state, in 1897-1898, of the various tribes of Shans, the Hkiin and Lii contribute about 36,000 each, the western Shans 32,000, the Lem and Lao Shans about 7000, and the Chinese Shans about 5000. Of the hill tribes, the Kaw or Aka are the most homogeneous with 22,000, but probably the Wa (or Vu), disguised under various tribal names, are at least equally numerous. Nominal Buddhists make up a total of 133,400, and the remainder are classed as animists. Spirit-worship is, how-ever, very conspicuously prevalent amongst all classes even of the Shans. The present sawbwa or chief received his patent from the British government on the 9th of February 1897. The early history of Keng Tung is very obscure, but Burmese influence seems to have been maintained since the latter half, at any rate, of the 16th century. The Chinese made several attempts to subdue the state, and appear to have taken the capital in 1765-66, but were driven out by the united Shan and Burmese troops. The same fate seems to have attended the first Siamese invasion of 1804. The second and third Siamese invasions, in 1852 and 1854, resulted in great disaster to the invaders, though the capital was invested for a time. Keng Tung, the capital, is situated towards the southern end of a valley about 12 m. long and with an average breadth of 7 m. The town is surrounded by a brick wall and moat about 5 m. round. Only the central and northern portions are much built over. Pop. (1901), 5695. It is the most considerable town in the British Shan States. In the dry season crowds attend the market held according to Shan custom every five days, and numerous caravans come from China. The military post formerly was 7 m. west of the town, at the foot of the watershed range. At first the headquarters of a regiment was stationed there; this was reduced to a wing, and recently to military police. The site was badly chosen and proved very unhealthy, and the headquarters both military and civil have been transferred to Loi Ngwe Long, a ridge 6500 ft. above sea-level 12 M. south of the capital. The rainfall probably averages between 5o and 6o in. for the year. The temperature seems to rise to nearly too° F. during the hot weather, falling 3o° or more during the night. In the cold weather a temperature of 4o° or a few degrees more or less appears to be the lowest experienced. The plain in which the capital stands has an altitude of 3000 ft. (J. G. Sc.)
End of Article: KENITES

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