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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Naphish', נָפַישׁ , refresher; Sept. Ναφές ; Vulg. Naphis), the eleventh named of the twelve sons of Ishmael, patriarch and prince among the Ishmaelites (Genesis 25:15; Chronicles 1:31). B.C. post 1077. In 1 Chronicles 5:19 (Sept. Ναφισαῖοι, A.V. "Nephesh") the name of the ancestor is given to the tribe descended from him, who are classed among the Hagarites (q.v.), defeated by the transjordanic tribes on their settlement in Canaan. "Naphish, in the three passages in which the name occurs, is grouped with Jetur. Jetur was unquestionably identical with the Greek Itursea and modern Jedur; a small province situated at the eastern base of Hermon, and bordering on Damascus and Bashan. Jetur and Naphish were allies, and apparently dwelt together. The Israelites took from them 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, and 2000 asses. They were manifestly a pastoral people, like the great modern tribes of the Anizeh, some of which have flocks and herds equally numerous. Then, having conquered the people and captured their cattle, we are told that the children of the half-tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land: they increased from Beashan unto Baal- Hermon, and Senir, and unto Mount Hermnon. From this it may be concluded that the people of Naphish had a settled home situated between the range of Hermon and Bashan that is, along the eastern declivities of the mountains." "They have not been identified with any Arabian tribe; but identifications with Ishmaelitish tribes are often difficult. The difficulty in question arises from intermarriages with Keturahites and Joktanites, from the influence of Mohammedan history, and from our ignorance respecting many of the tribes, and the towns and districts, of Arabia. If the Hagarenes went southwards. into the province of Hejr, after their defeat, Naphish may have gone with them, and traces of his name should in this case be looked for in that obscure province of Arabia." They doubtless became afterwards amalgamated with the Ishmaelitish clans, and so lost to late history. (See ARABIA).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Naphish'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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