🔼The name Kadmonite: Summary
- Primitive, Pre-Modern
- From the noun קדם (qedem), antiquity or east.
🔼The name Kadmonite in the Bible
The name Kadmonite occurs only once in the Bible, but in a context that obviously goes beyond a mere listing of tribal names. In Genesis 15:19 our name occurs as part of a nominal triplet — the Kenite (קיני), the Kenizzite (קנזי) and the Kadmonite (קדמני) — which in turn is part of a larger listing of tribes whose territories would be given to the descendants of Abraham.
The Kadmonites are heard from no more, but the Kenites live on through Hammath the Kenite, the ancestor of the much praised Rechabites (1 Chronicles 2:55), and the Kenizzites are forever accounted for in Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite (Numbers 32:12), friend of Joshua and eternal keeper of Hebron (Joshua 14:14). Both the Rechabites and Hebron are part of Judah, from whom came the Jews, which suggests that both the Kenites and the Kenizzites are with us until today.
Whether the Kadmonites are also still with us today is difficult to establish with any measure of certainty, but it seems reasonable to expect so.
🔼Etymology of the name Kadmonite
The name Kadmonite is an ethnonym derived from the adjective קדמני (qadmoni), which means eastern or former in the sense of less sophistication.
The root קדם (qdm) deals with former things and may simply refer to antiquity but more specifically a more primitive social state: more social dispersal, less social cohesion and connectedness, less economic and technological complexity and thus less specialization and ultimately less personal freedom of being.
Noun קדם (qedem) may mean antiquity but it may also mean east (the place of sunrise). The denominative verb קדם (qadam) means to be or do earlier, to anticipate, to be in front, to meet.
The adverb קדם (qedem) means eastward (or toward a condition of more dispersal and less complexity). Noun קדמה (qadma) may refer to antiquity or a former (less complex) state. Noun קדים (qadim) means easter or eastern and is often used to indicate a destructive wind that blows toward the east. Adjectives קדמון (qadmon) and קדמני (qadmoni) mean eastern or former.
A nation's cultural and social norms are often very complex and rather arbitrary, and a failure to comply with these synthetic norms may make a visitor seem like a native child who also doesn't quite know how to behave. Yet, every society whose norms are based on fashions and an artificial sense of right and wrong will inevitably experience opposition from people who don't like that society's norms. Rather more worthy of concern is that such a society will experience opposition from the very nature whose laws this society chose to ignore and whose monarchy this society's leaders felt free to usurp. Only a mastery of natural law brings societal stability and only a society whose norms derive from natural law can exist without opposition, whether from within or without or from creation or from the Creator.
Perhaps Jesus' declaration that people should "turn" and become like children has something to do with the inherent instability of our modern world. If only adherence to natural law supports a stable society, and a love for synthetic norms get in the way of that, only children can guide us out of there.
Perhaps the Kadmonites are not some local Bronze Age tribe but rather a specific personality that existed as much back then as now. Perhaps this personality belongs to people whose nature makes it difficult to absorb complex social codes when these codes are not based on something they can observe. That would cause these people to express their feelings more naturally, more honestly even, but that in turn would be regarded by society at large as unmannered or at least immature or childlike.
For a meaning of the name Kadmonite(s), NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary read Easterners. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Orientals. How Easterners or even Orientals came to be counted among indigenous Levantine tribes is apparently not a question that arouses much apprehension in academics.
It's often said that φιλαργυρια (philarguria) or silver-love is the root of all evil, but what is not often emphasized is that our modern governments are its fruit. A few centuries ago our ancestors mustered the courage to do away with central rule and embrace the republic, not realizing that kings and nobles are canine by nature and have the natural ability to sniff out wolves in sheep clothes. The apple-cheeked republicans rightfully believed in man's general goodness, but failed to foresee that if a single wolf can find its way to the top, he will turn the whole of society into a scene from Brokeback Mountain. And that's obviously precisely what happened during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In our modern day and age it's laughingly simple to write a governmental program that would allow humanity to self-organize across a very broad pallet of desires and talents and properly self-regulate to everyone's heart's content, and the one and only reason why we don't have such a system in place (or even why we're not massively experimenting with its concepts to get it going within a generation), is that our governments aren't done harvesting us for our labor. It takes some sophisticated tricks of deception to consistently get away with thieving from otherwise intelligent people and the Art of the Steal depends heavily on people's fidelity to decorum.
Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the Kadmonites were known for living decidedly more primitive than other social groups, perhaps not unlike the modern Neo-Luddites, the Amish in the US or even organic farmers or decentralized, libertarian communities. Modern involuntary Kadmonites might be recognized by traits of autism. Others by willingly rejecting a world that's teetering on the steep slope of a deep ravine.