Kenkenes was among the chosen people but not of them, partly because he was of the execrated race of the oppressors and partly because the most of Israel had nothing in common with the nobleman. But Moses loved him and found joy in his company. Joshua loved him and had him by his side when Israel warred. Caleb and Aaron loved him because he was godly, and Miriam was proud of him and was mild in his presence. He took no public part in the people’s affairs, yet who shall say that he was not near when Bezaleel wrought the wondrous angels for the ark? Who shall say that his purest jewel did not enter the breast-plate of the high priest? There are many names embraced in that general term, “every wise-hearted man among them that wrought the work of the tabernacle.”
So when Israel took up the forty years of pasture-hunting in Paran, Kenkenes made his tent beautiful and pitched it always apart from the multitude, and here he was contented all the days that Israel tarried in that place. Under his care his flocks increased, his cattle multiplied and his camels were not few, and he laid up riches for the four stalwart sons and the golden-haired daughter who were to live after him.
From the moment of his union with his beautiful wife, through the long years of semi-isolation that he knew thereafter, he grew closer and closer to Rachel. She filled all his needs as Israel failed to supply them, and he missed neither friend nor neighbor when she was near. Rachel knew wherein she was more fortunate than other women and her content and her devotion were beyond measure. So Kenkenes and Rachel were lovers all the days of their lives.
If ever they grew reminiscent there was one name spoken more tenderly than any other—the name of Atsu. Kenkenes would grow sad of countenance and he would look away, but there was no jealousy in his heart for the tears of Rachel weeping over the task-master who died for her.
The collar of golden rings became popular in Israel, and, after many modifications effected by time and fashion, it came at last to be the insignia of the virtuous woman. For centuries it was worn and no one knows when the custom died out.
The genius of Kenkenes did not die. His voice enriched with age, and the rocky vales wherein his flocks wandered had melodious echoes whenever he followed the sheep. But he never used chisel upon stone again. His sons were artists after him, but they were handicapped also. And so it continued for many generations until the Temple of Solomon was built. Then, though the plans came from the Lord, and artisans were brought from Tyre, it was the descendants of Kenkenes who made the Temple beautiful “with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.”
When the Chaldeans prostrated themselves before Nebuchadnezzar, they cried: “O King, live forever!” When patrician Rome hailed Nero in the Circus, the acclaim was: “Vivat Imperator!” When the faithful saluted the Caliph, they said: “May thy shadow never grow less.”