NAPHTALI (; Greek, Nεϕφαλειμ):

Second son of Jacob and Bilhah, and younger full brother of Dan. According to Gen. xxx. 8, the name means "my wrestling," and has reference to the jealous rivalry of the sisters Rachel and Leah. According to Gen. xlvi. 24, he had four sons when Israel went down into Egypt. In the Blessing of Jacob (ib. xlix. 21) the passage which concerns Naphtali has reference to the qualities of the tribe, rather than to those of the individual. "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words"; i.e., "He is alert, nimble, free-spirited, and has poetical or oratorical gifts" (Driver, Commentary on Genesis, ad loc.). According to the Targums (pseudo-Jonathan and Jerusalem), Naphtali was a swift runner and came first to Jacob with the good news that Joseph was alive. This may be only an inference from the passage in the Blessing of Jacob quoted above. The Targums say also that he was one of the five brethren presented by Joseph to Pharaoh (ib. xlvii. 2).

E. C. J. F. McL.
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