A tribe or family often mentioned in the Old Testament, personified as Qayin from which the nomen gentilicium Qeni is derived. In spite of several attempts at a solution, the origin both of the name and of the tribe is still obscure. Hobab the relative (brother-in-law?) of Moses was a Cinite (Judges, i, 16, iv, 11; as Hobab is also called a Madianite ( Numbers 10:29 ), it follows that the Cinites belonged to that nation. Judging from appearances, the Cinites were true worshippers of Yahweh. Some scholars, on the strength of Ex., xviii, go even so far as to assert that it was from them that the Israelites received a great portion of their monotheistic theology ; the passage, however, deals directly and only with social organization. At any rate, the Rechabites, a clan of the Cinites [I Par. (A. V. I Chron.) ii, 55] were even ascetics and insisted on retaining the nomadic habits of the followers of Yahweh ( Jeremiah 35 ), Though calamities were foretold for the Cinites by Balaam ( Numbers 24:21 sqq. ), they are always represented as being on friendly terms with the Israelites. Owing probably to their alliance with Moses and also to the bonds of a common religion, they befriended the Israelites during their wanderings in the desert [Num., x, 29-32, 1 K. ( A.V. I Sam.) xv, 6] and joined them in their march on Chanaan (Judges, 1, 16). There is no intimation that there ever was any enmity between the two nations (cf. 1 Samuel 27:10 , 30:29 ). The Cinites dwelt south of Palestine with the Amalecites, as is evident from Numbers 24:21 sqq. , 1 Samuel 15:6 , and probably from Judges, i, 16 if, instead of the Massoretic version, we use an alternate Hebrew reading -- a reading which is supported by several Greek manuscripts and by the Sahidic Coptic Version (cf. Ciasca, Fragm. Copto-Sahidica). One clan of the Cinites left the tribe and settled in the north under Haber, at the time of Barac and Debbera ( Judges 4:11 ); Jahel, who slew Sisara, was the wife of Haber the Cinite (ibid., iv, 17 sqq., v, 24 sqq.). From the facts that we find the Cinites south and north, and that in Aramaic the root from which Qayin is derived implies the idea of a smith, Sayce (in Hastings, Dict. Bib., s.v. Kenites) draws the conclusion that the Cinites were a wandering guild of smiths. This view has against it the obvious meaning of the texts (see especially Genesis 15:19 ). Apparently the Cinites shared in the Babylonian Exile and in the Restoration, but they do not appear any more as a distinct tribe and very likely were assimilated with the Jews.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online