This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Joshua 21:32; 1 Chronicles 6:76), is not to be confounded with the Hamath on the northeastern frontier of the land Numbers 13:21. The name (from a root signifying "to be warm") probably indicates that hot springs existed here; and is perhaps rightly traced in Ammaus, near Tiberias. Rakkath was, according to the rabbis, rebuilt by Herod and called Tiberias. The name ("bank, shore") suits the site of Tiberias very well. Migdal-el, perhaps the Magdala of Matthew 15:39, is now the miserable village of "El Mejdel."
to Judah upon Jordan toward the sunrising—The sixty cities, Havoth-jair, which were on the eastern side of the Jordan, opposite Naphtali, were reckoned as belonging to Judah, because Jair, their possessor, was a descendant of Judah (1Ch 2:4-22) [Keil].
according to their families; which was divided among them, according to the number of their families:
the cities and their villages; before enumerated.This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)39. This is the inheritance] The territory appropriated to Naphtali was thus enclosed on three sides by that of other tribes. (a) On the west was Asher, (b) on the south Zebulun, (c) and on the east Manasseh beyond the Jordan. Cut off from the great plain of Esdraelon by the mass of the mountains of Nazareth, it had communication on the east with the fertile district of the Sea of Galilee, and the splendidly watered country of the springs of the Jordan. The dying Jacob had compared Naphtali to a “spreading terebinth” (Genesis 49:21, mistranslated “a hind let loose”) of the uplands of Lebanon, shooting forth goodly boughs; and the great Lawgiver had described him as satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord (Deuteronomy 33:23), but the grand opportunities so graciously given were not turned to the best account. The capabilities of its plains, of the thoroughfare and traffic of the Sea of Galilee (Genesis 49:13), were not developed by the tribe. One hero—and one only—was produced by it, Barak of Kedesh-Naphtali, who dwelt in the mountain district (Jdg 4:6). See above, Joshua 19:37. But after this exploit, Naphtali, like Asher, resigned itself to intercourse with the heathen, “and learned their works” (Psalm 106:35). See Smith’s Dict. of the Bible; Ritter’s Geog. of Palestine, iv. p. 338; Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine, p. 363. “With the exception of the transient splendour of the days of Barak and of Gideon, the four northern tribes hardly affect the general fortunes of the nation. It is not till the Jewish is on the point of breaking into the Christian Church that these northern tribes acquire a new interest. ‘Galilee’ then, by reason of its previous isolation, springs into overwhelming importance. ‘The land of Zebulun, the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to those who sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up’ (Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:15-16).” Stanley’s Lectures, i. 231.Verse 39. - The inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali. Of Naphtali, Beyond the not too heroic leader Barak, we hear nothing in the after history of Israel, until the fulfilment of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:1, 2. Galilee, the scene of the greater part of our Lord's teaching and miracles, was divided between Issachar, Asher, Zebulon, and Naphtali. The majority of the places mentioned in the Gospels were Within the borders of Zebulon. But as we learn that our Lord penetrated as far as "the coasts of Caesarea Philippi," in the extreme north of Palestine, He must have preached also in the cities of Naphtali. Naphtali sent a goodly number of warriors to welcome David as "king over all Israel" (1 Chronicles 12:34). The inheritance of Naphtali was in the main fertile, but there was a large mountain district, known as the mountain region of Naphtali (Joshua 20:7). Some of the mountains rose to the height of more than 3,000 feet. Judges 4:11, the oak-forest (allon: see the remarks on Genesis 12:6) at Zaanannim was near Kedesh, on the north-west of Lake Huleh. There are still many oaks in that neighbourhood (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 386); and on the south of Bint Jebail Robinson crossed a low mountain-range which was covered with small oak trees (Pal. iii. p. 372). Adami hannekeb, i.e., Adami of the pass (Nekeb, judging from the analogy of the Arabic, signifying foramen, via inter montes), is supposed by Knobel to be Deir-el-ahmar, i.e., red cloister, a place which is still inhabited, three hours to the north-west of Baalbek, on the pass from the cedars to Baalbek (Seetzen, i. pp. 181, 185; Burckhardt, Syr. p. 60; and Ritter, Erdk. xvii. p. 150), so called from the reddish colour of the soil in the neighbourhood, which would explain the name Adami. Knobel also connects Jabneel with the lake Jemun, Jemuni, or Jammune, some hours to the north-west of Baalbek, on the eastern side of the western Lebanon range (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 548; Ritter, xvii. pp. 304ff.), where there are still considerable ruins of a very early date to be found, especially the ruins of an ancient temple and a celebrated place of pilgrimage, with which the name "god's building" agrees. And lastly, he associates Lakkum with the mountains of Lokham, as the northern part of Lebanon on the Syrian mountains, from the latitude of Laodicea to that of Antioch on the western side of the Orontes, is called by the Arabian geographers Isztachri, Abulfeda, and others. So far as the names are concerned, these combinations seem appropriate enough, but they are hardly tenable. The resemblance between the names Lakkum and Lokham is only in appearance, as the Hebrew name is written with ק and the Arabic with כ. Moreover, the mountains of Lokham are much too far north for the name to be adduced as an explanation of Lakkum. The interpretation of Adami Nekeb and Jabneel is also irreconcilable with the circumstance that the lake Jamun was two hours to the west of the red convent, so that the boundary, which starts from the west, and is drawn first of all towards the north, and then to the north-east and east, must have run last of all from the red convent, and not from the Jamun lake to the Jordan. As Jabneel is mentioned after Adami Nekeb, it must be sought for to the east of Adami Nekeb, whereas the Jamun lake lies in the very opposite direction, namely, directly to the west of the red convent. The three places mentioned, therefore, cannot be precisely determined at present. The Jordan, where the boundary of Asher terminated, was no doubt the upper Jordan, or rather the Nahr Hasbany, one of the sources of the Jordan, which formed, together with the Huleh lake and the Jordan itself, between Lake Huleh and the Sea of Tiberias, and down to the point where it issues from the latter, the eastern boundary of Asher.
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