New American Standard Bible
And he looked at the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said, "Your dwelling place is enduring, And your nest is set in the cliff.
King James Bible
And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.
Darby Bible Translation
And he saw the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Firm is thy dwelling-place, and thy nest fixed in the rock;
World English Bible
He looked at the Kenite, and took up his parable, and said, "Your dwelling place is strong. Your nest is set in the rock.
Young's Literal Translation
And he seeth the Kenite, and taketh up his simile, and saith: 'Enduring is thy dwelling, And setting in a rock thy nest,
Numbers 24:21 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
The Kenites - First mentioned Genesis 15:19 as one of the tribes whose territory was promised to Abraham. In Judges 1:16, where we read of them as moving with the children of Judah, to establish themselves in the pastures south of Arad, Moses' father-in-law is spoken of as a Kenite (compare Judges 4:11). It appears therefore, since Moses' father-in-law was a prince or priest of Midian (Exodus 2:15 ff), that the Kenites must have been of Midianite extraction, and so descended from Abraham through Keturah Genesis 25:2.
But it seems unlikely that the Kenites of Genesis 15:19, who were to be dispossessed by the descendants of Abraham, were identical with those of whom Balaam speaks, and who were, because of good offices rendered at the time of the Exodus, always regarded as kinsmen and friends by Israel (compare 1 Samuel 15:6; 1 Samuel 27:10). Rather, is it probable that the Kenites of Genesis 15:19 were a Canaanite people, who derived their name from the city Kain, which fell eventually within the borders of the tribe of Judah Joshua 15:22; and that the descendants of Hobab, who appear in Judges 1:16 as making war in this very district, possessed themselves of this city, and with it of the name Kenite also. This they would seem to have already done when Balsam uttered his prediction; and in the next verse it is, as the margin correctly indicates, not of the Kenite, but of Kain the city, that he speaks. Nor is it surprising to find them in possession of their new abode in the promised land, while the Israelites were yet in their tents. It may well be that this roving band of Midianites had already entered Canaan, perhaps along the shores of the Dead Sea, and by routes impracticable for the huge host of Israel, and had, as a kind of advanced guard, made a beginning of the conquest of the country.
From 1 Chronicles 2:54-55, we learn that the Rechabites were a branch of the Kenites; and the name Salmaites, always given to the Kenites in the Targums, connects them with Salma, the son of Caleb, there mentioned. Jeremiah 35 shows how tenaciously, for many centuries, they held fast the nomadic habits of their race.
Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock - Render, Strong (or firm) be thy dwelling-place, and put thou thy nest in the rock (or cliff). In the Hebrew there is a play on the words ken, "nest," and Kain, the name of the Kenites' abode. This nest in the cliff might be the city of Hazazon-tamar or Engedi, if that be (as is likely) the "city of palm-trees," from which they went up subsequently Judges 1:16. But there is another site, about 10 miles south of Engedi, to which Balaam's words would be more appropriate, on the summit of the cliff rising perpendicularly from the level of the western shore of the Dead Sea, where was afterward built the city of Masada, the scene of the closing tragedy of the Jewish-Roman war. It is not likely that such a natural fortress would ever have been unoccupied, or even excluded from a place in the list of the cities of Judah. Nor is there any site in the Holy land which a rude but warlike people might more fittingly designate as either Ken, the Nest, or Kain, the Possession.
I. (Princes and kings, p. 13.) How memorable the histories, moreover, of Nebuchadnezzar  and his decrees; of Darius  and his also; but especially of Cyrus and his great monumental edict!  The beautiful narratives of the Queen of Sheba and of the Persian consort of Queen Esther (probably Xerxes) are also manifestations of the ways of Providence in giving light to the heathen world through that "nation of priests" in Israel. But Lactantius, who uses the Sibyls so freely, should …
Lactantius—The divine institutes
The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.
the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite
1 Samuel 15:6
Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, so that I do not destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt." So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
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