The sixth son of Jacob, by Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid, Ge 30:8. We know but few particulars of the lie of Naphtali. His sons were four, Ge 46:24. The patriarch Jacob, when he gave his blessing, said, as it is in the English Bible, "Naphtali is a hind let loose; he giveth goodly words," Ge 49:21. For an illustration of this passage, see HIND.
The tribe of Naphtali, called Nephtalim in Mt 4:15, were located in a rich and fertile portion of northern Palestine; having Asher on the west, the upper Jordan and part of the sea of Tiberias on the east; and running north into the Lebanon range, some lower offshoots of which prolonged to the south formed the "mountains of Naphtali," Jos 19:32-39; 20:7. They attended in force at the coronation of David, 1Ch 12:34; and are mentioned with honor in the wars of the Judges, Jg 1:33; 5:18; 6:35; 7:23; as much reduced by the Syrians, 1Ki 15:20; and as among the first captives to Assyria, 2Ki 15:29; Isa 9:1. Our Savior spent much time in the southern part of this region, Mt 4:13-15.
("my wrestling".) Jacob's fifth son, second by Bilhah, Rachel's maid. Ge 30:8, Rachel said, "with wrestlings of God (i.e. earnest prayer, as her husband does in Ge 32:24-28; he had reproved her impatience, telling her God, not he, is the giver of children: Ge 30:1-2; so she wrestled with God) have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed," i.e. succeeded in getting from God a child as my sister. Thus allied to Dan (Ge 35:25). He had four sons at the descent to Egypt (Ge 46:24). At the census of Sinai Naphtali's tribe numbered 53,400 able for war (Nu 1:43). At the borders of Canaan the tribe of Naphtali had fallen to 45,400 (Nu 26:48-50). On march Naphtali was north of the tabernacle, next Dan his kinsman, and Asher (Nu 2:25-31), together forming "the camp of Dan," hindmost or rearward of all the camps (Nu 10:25). Naphtali had its portion between the coastland strip of Asher and the upper Jordan. Dan shortly after sent a number from his less desirable position next the Philistines to seek a settlement near his kinsman Napthtali in the far north.
Zebulun was on S. of Naphtali; trans-jordanic Manasseh on the E. The ravine of the Leontes (Litany) and the valley between Lebanon and Antilebanon was on the N. Thus, Naphtali had the well watered district about Banias and the springs of the Jordan. Jacob in his dying prophecy says, "Naphtali is a hind let loose, he giveth goodly words." The targums of Pseudo-Jonathan and Jerusalem say Naphtali first told Jacob Joseph was alive. "Naphtali (say the targums) is a swift messenger, like a hind that runneth on the mountains, bringing good tidings." Joshua (Jos 20:7) calls it "Mount Naphtali" from the mountainous parts of its possessions. Shelucha, "let loose," is cognate to sheluchim, "the apostles," who on Galilee mountains "brought good tidings" of Jesus (Isa 52:7). Hab 3:19, "the Lord will make my feet like hinds' feet," has in view Jacob's prophecy as to Naphtali. Temporally Naphtali disports gracefully and joyously in its fertile allotment, as a hind at large exulting amidst grass; it shall be famous too for eloquence. The "bind" symbolizes a swift warrior (2Sa 2:18; 1Ch 12:8).
Barak with 10,000 men of Naphtali, at Deborah's call, fought and delivered Israel from Jabin of Canaan. His war-like energy and his and Deborah's joint song are specimens of the prowess and the eloquence of Naphtali (Judges 4-5); Naphtali and Zebulun "jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field" (Jg 5:18). So they helped Gideon against Midian (Jg 6:35; 7:23). Moses' blessing on Naphtali is (De 33:23), "Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of Jehovah, possess thou the "sect" (yam) and the sunny district" (not as KJV "the W. and the S.," for its lot was N. but its climate in parts was like that of the S.), namely, the whole W. coast of the sea of Galilee, "an earthly paradise" (Josephus, B.J. 3:3, section 2), and lake Merom (Huleh). The district is still called Belad Besharah, "land of good tidings." The climate of the lower levels is hot and suited for tropical plants, so that fruits ripen earlier than elsewhere (Jos 19:32, etc.).
The soil is rich, full of trees of all sorts, so fertile as to invite the most slothful to cultivate it (Josephus); but now the population of this once thickly peopled, flourishing region, is as scanty as its natural vegetation is luxuriant. Its forests and ever varying scenery are among the finest in Palestine (Van de Velde, 1:170, 293; 2:407). Naphtali failed to drive out the Canaanites (Jg 1:33). Pagan neighbours soon made it and northern Israel "Galilee of the Gentiles." Tiglath Pileser swept away its people to Assyria; Benhadad of Syria had previously smitten all Naphtali (1Ki 15:20; 2Ki 15:29). But where the darkness was greatest and the captivity first came, there gospel light first shone, as foretold of Zebulun and Naphtali (Isa 9:1-2; Mt 4:16). Naphtali shall have its 12,000 elect ones sealed (Re 7:6), and its allotment in restored Israel (Eze 48:3-4,34).
The second son of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid, and the sixth son of Jacob (Ge 30:7 f. Jahwist). The tradition connects the story in a vague way with the word 'twist, wrestle': Napht
Fifth son of Jacob, and second of Bilhah. The name also often includes his descendants, and the territory which they possessed. Naphtali and his four sons entered Egypt with Jacob, and nothing further is recorded of him personally. At the two numberings of the tribes Naphtali amounted to 53,400 and 45,400. When Jacob prophetically announced to the tribes that which should befall them in the last days, he said, "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words," Ge 49:21; it is the remnant of Israel as the vessel of testimony. Moses said, "O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possess thou the west and the south." De 33:23. It is the full blessing of the remnant as Jehovah's people.
Their possession, which was mountainous and fertile, was in the north with the upper Jordan on the east and Asher in the west. Ijon, which was farther north than Dan, was in their land. Jos 19:32-39. When Baasha, king of Israel, attacked Judah, Asa sent gold and silver to Ben-hadad, king of Syria, for help. He responded at once, and his army smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. 2Ch 16:4. This tribe was the first of those on the west of the Jordan to be carried away captive by Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria. 2Ki 15:29.
In Isa 9:1-2 it is prophesied that Naphtali with Zebulun should see a great light: this was fulfilled when the Lord traversed that district, taught in the synagogues, and healed diseases there. Mt 4:13,15, (where the name is NEPHTHALIM and in Re 7:6 NEPTHALIM). The prophecy seems to say that Zebulun and Nephthalim were beyond the Jordan; but some judge that three districts are alluded to; Zebulun and Nephthalim; the way of the sea beyond the Jordan; and Galilee of the Gentiles. But others judge that only the district on the west of the Jordan is alluded to. The Hebrew word in Isa 9:1, translated 'beyond' is eber, and is sometimes translated 'on this side,' as in Jos 1:14-15. When the Lord Jesus was on earth, the great light was shed on both sides of the Jordan, though the west was more especially the scene of His ministry. Matthew's Gospel does not speak of His ministry at Jerusalem until He went there to suffer.
Naphtali, Naph'tali Mount.
Not a mountain, but the mountainous part of the inheritance of Naphtali. Jos 20:7.
(wrestling), the fifth son of Jacob; the second child name to him by Bilhah, Rachel's slave. His birth and the bestowal of his name are recorded in
When the census was taken at Mount Sinai the tribe of Naphtali numbered no less than 53,400 fighting men,
but when the borders of the promised land were reached, its numbers were reduced to, 45,400.
During the march through the wilderness Naphtali occupied a position on the north of the sacred tent with Dan and Asher.
In the apportionment of the land, the lot of Naphtali was enclosed on three sides by those of other tribes. On the west lay Asher, on the south Zebulun, and on the east the transjordanic Manasseh. (In the division of the kingdom Naphtali belonged to the kingdom of Israel, and later was a part of Galilee, bordering on the northwestern pert of the Sea of Galilee, and including Capernaum and Bethsaida. --Ed.)
NAPHTALI, the sixth son of Jacob by Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid. The word Naphtali signifies wrestling, or struggling. When Rachel gave him this name, she said, "With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed," Ge 30:8. Naphtali had but four sons, and yet at the coming out of Egypt his tribe made up fifty-three thousand four hundred men, able to bear arms. Moses, in the blessing he gave to the same tribe, says, "O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord, possess thou the west and the south," De 33:23. The Vulgate reads it, "the sea and the south," and the Hebrew will admit of either interpretation, that is, the sea of Gennesareth, which was to the south by the inheritance of this tribe. His soil was very fruitful in corn and oil. His limits were extended into upper and lower Galilee, having Jordan to the east, the tribes of Asher and Zebulun to the west, Libanus to the north, and the tribe of Issachar to the south. Under Barak, their general, they and the Zebulunites fought with distinguished bravery against the army of Jabin the younger; and at the desire of Gideon they pursued the Midianites, Jg 4:10; 5:18; 7:23. A thousand of their captains, with thirty-seven thousand of their troops, assisted at David's coronation, and brought great quantities of provision with them, 1Ch 12:34,40. We find no person of distinguished note among them, save Barak, and Hiram the artificer. Instigated by Asa, Benhadad the elder, king of Syria, terribly ravaged the land of Naphtali; and what it suffered in after invasions by the Syrians we are partly told, 1 Kings; 15:20. The Naphtalites were, many, if not most of them, carried captive by Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, 2Ki 15:29. Josiah purged their country from idols. Our Saviour and his disciples, during his public ministry, resided much and preached frequently in the land of Naphtali, Isa 9:1; Mt 4:13,15.