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NAPHTUHITES, NAPHTUHIM (năf'tū-hīts, năf'tū-hĭm, Heb. naphtūhîm). A “son” of Mizraim or of Egypt (Gen.10.13; 1Chr.1.11). Naphtuhites being plural in form denotes a people. Their location has been sought inconclusively in various parts of Egypt.

NAPHTUHIM năf’ tə hĭm. נַפְתֻּחִֽים, a pl. noun, the proper name of a people of Egyp. descent, mentioned as the sons of מִצְרַ֡יִם, “Egypt” (Gen 10:13; 1 Chron 1:11). The term is of Egyp. origin. Two possible etymologies have been proposed: (1) The gentilic formed from the name of the Egyp. city of Noph (Heb. נֹ֑ף, Isa 19:13 et al.); (2) A compound name derived from the Egyp. phrase p3-t3-mḥw, consisting of the definite article plus a generic name for foreign tribute-bearing countries plus word for the direction “north,” thus “the country of the north,” most likely the delta of the Nile. The Heb. would then indicate that the Egyp. was to be pronounced na-/pa-toḥ-îm, which could be tr. “those of the Delta.” Cf. W. Spiegelberg, “נַפְתֻּחִֽים (Gen X, 13)” Orientalistische Literatur-Zeitung, 9 (1906), 276-279.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A son of Mizraim (Ge 10:13; 1Ch 1:11); but, according to most modern authorities, a district or a dependency of Egypt. Among the many efforts at identification the following deserve notice: Naphtuhim equals (1) Nephthys (Nephthus) in the Northeast of Egypt; (2) Na-ptah, i.e. the people of Ptah, the dwellers in the neighborhood of Memphis; (3) Nathu (according to Herodotus, Natho), which occurs in Assurbanipal’s Annals as the name of a part of Lower Egypt; (4) Erman (ZATW, X, 118), by the change of a letter, reads Petemhim, which signifies "The Northland"; (5) Spiegelberg sees in the word an old designation of the Delta, and would therefore render the name, "the people of the Delta" (compare Johns, HDB; Skinner and Holzinger on Genesis).

John A. Lees

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