NAPHTALI, in the Bible, the name of an Israelite tribe, the "son" of Jacob by Bilhah, Rachel's maid, and the uterine brother of Dan (Gen. xxx. 8). It lay to the south of Dan in the eastern half of upper Galilee (Josh. xix. 32-39), a fertile mountainous district (cf. Gen. xlix. 21; Deut. xxxiii. 23), open to the surrounding influences of Phoenicia and Aram. Apart from its share in the war against Sisera (Judg. iv. seq., see Deborah), little is known of it. It evidently suffered in the bloody conflicts of Damascus with Israel (1 Kings xv. 20), and was depopulated by Tiglath-Pileser IV. (2 Kings xv. 29; Isa. ix. I). Naphtali and Dan are "brothers," perhaps partly on geographical grounds, but Dan also had a seat in the south (south-west of Ephraim), and the name of the "mother" Bilhah is apparently connected with Bilhan, an Edomite and also a Benjamite name (Gen. xxxvi. 27; I Chron. vii. 10) .
For the view connecting Naphtali (perhaps a geographical rather than a tribal term), or rather its Israelite inhabitants, with the south see the full discussion by H. W. Hogg, Ency. Bib. iii. col. 3332 sqqwith references.
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