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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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nef - tō´a , nef´tṓ - a ( נפתּוח , nephtōaḥ , occurs only in the expression ע ֿ2 מינ נ מעין , ma'yan mē nephtōaḥ , "the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah"; Septuagint πηγὴ ὔδατος Ναφθώ , pēgḗ húdatos Naphthṓ ): This spring was on the border line between Judah and Benjamin ( Joshua 15:9 ; Joshua 18:15 ). The place is usually identified with Liftā , a village about 2 miles Northwest of Jerusalem, on the east bank of the Wâdy beit Ḥanı̄na . It is a village very conspicuous to the traveler along the high road from Jaffa as he nears Jerusalem. There are ancient rock-cut tombs and a copious spring which empties itself into a large masonry reservoir. The situation of Liftā seems to agree well with the most probable line of boundary between the two tribes; the spring as it is today does not appear to be so abundant as to warrant such an expression as "spring of the waters," but it was, like many such sources, probably considerably more abundant in Old Testament times.

Conder would identify Liftā with the ancient ELEPH (which see) of Benjamin, and, on the ground that the Talmud (see Talmud Babylonian, Yōmā' 31a) identifies Nephtoah with ETAM (which see), he would find the site of Nephtoah at ‛Ain ‛Atān , South of Bethlehem. The Talmud is not a sufficiently trustworthy guide when unsupported by other evidence, and the identification creates great difficulty with the boundary line. See Palestine Exploration Fund , III, 18,43, Sh XVII .

E. W. G. Mastermin

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Nephtoah'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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