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Numbers 24:21

    Numbers 24:21 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is your dwelling place, and you put your nest in a rock.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwelling-place, And thy nest is set in the rock.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And looking on the Kenites he went on with his story and said, Strong is your living-place, and your secret place is safe in the rock.

    Webster's Revision

    And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwelling-place, And thy nest is set 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.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwelling place, And thy nest is set in the rock.

    Definitions for Numbers 24:21

    Parable - An utterance that involves a comparison.

    Clarke's Commentary on Numbers 24:21

    He looked on the Kenites - Commentators are not well agreed who the Kenites were. Dr. Dodd's opinion is, I think, nearest to the truth. Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, is called a priest or prince of Midian, Exodus 3:1, and in Judges 1:16 he is called a Kenite; we may infer, therefore, says he, that the Kenites and the Midianites were the same, or at least that the Kenites and the Midianites were confederate tribes. Some of these we learn from Judges 1, followed the Israelites, others abode still among the Midianites and Amalekites. When Saul destroyed the latter, we find he had no commission against the Kenites, 1 Samuel 15:6, for it appears that they were then a small and inconsiderable people; they had doubtless been wasted, as the text says, though by what means does not appear from history. On the other hand, it may be observed that the Midianites mentioned here lived close to the Dead Sea, at a great distance from the Midian where Jethro lived, which was near Horeb. Perhaps they were a colony or tribe that had migrated from the vicinity of Mount Sinai. It seems that at this time the Kenites occupied a very strong position: Strong is thy dwelling place, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock; where there is a play on the original word קי, which signifies both a Kenite and a nest. High rocks in these countries were generally used as their strong places.

    Barnes' Notes on Numbers 24:21

    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.

    Wesley's Notes on Numbers 24:21

    24:21 The Kenites - The posterity or kindred of Jethro; not that part of them which dwelt among the Israelites, to whom the following words do not agree, but those of them who were mingled with the Amalekites and Midianites. Thy nest - Thy dwelling - place, so called, either because it was in an high place, as nests commonly are: or in allusion to their name, for ken in Hebrew signifies a nest.