NETOPHAH, NETOPHATHITES (nē-tō'fa, nē-tŏ'fa-thīts). A village of Judah and its inhabitants. It lies about three miles (five km.) south of Jerusalem and three and a half miles (almost six km.) south of Bethlehem. The “villages of the Netophathites” (1Chr.9.16; Neh.12.28) were apparently given to, or inhabited by, Levites, although Netophah is not mentioned in the earlier books. Several of David’s men are named as from this place (2Sam.23.28-2Sam.23.29; 1Chr.2.54). Seraiah, the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, is mentioned (2Kgs.25.23) among the murderers of Gedaliah, the governor.
NETOPHAH, NETOPHAS nē tō’ fə, nē tō’ fəs
; Apoc., Νετέβας, Νετωφάς
). A town of Judah, SE of Bethlehem.
While the precise location of Netophah remains uncertain, it was close to Bethlehem (1 Chron 2:54). Because of its listing between Bethlehem and Anathoth in Ezra 2:22 and Nehemiah 7:26, some have identified Netophah with the fortress of Ramat Rahel just S of Jerusalem (cf. J. Simons, Geographical and Topographical Texts of the OT, 339); but this community did not develop until after the time of David, and the lists in Ezra and Nehemiah do not appear to be in strict geographical order. Its more probable location is Khirbet Bedd Faluh, three m. SE of Bethlehem, where the Biblical name is still preserved in the nearby spring, ’Ain en-Natuf (so Simons, loc. cit.).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The birthplace of two of David’s heroes, Maharai and Heleb (2Sa 23:28,29), also of Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, one of the captains who came to offer allegiance to Gedaliah (2Ki 25:23; Jer 40:8). "The villages of the Netophathites" are mentioned (1Ch 9:16) as the dwellings of certain Levites and (Ne 12:28, the King James Version "Netophathi") of certain "sons of the singers."
The first mention of the place itself is in Ezr 2:22; Ne 7:26; 1Esdras 5:18 (the Revised Version (British and American) "Netophas"), where we have parallel lists of the exiles returning from Babylon under Zerubbabel; the place is mentioned between Bethlehem and Anathoth and in literary association with other cities in the mountains of Judah, e.g. Gibeon, Kiriath-jearim, Chephereh and Beeroth. In this respect it is most plausible to identify it with NEPHTOAH (which see), although the disappearance of the terminal guttural in the latter creates a difficulty. Conder has suggested a site known as Khirbet UmmToba, Northeast of Bethlehem, an ancient site, but not apparently of great importance. Beit Nettif, an important village on a lofty site in the Shephelah near the "Vale of Elah," also appears to have an echo of the name, and indeed may well be the Beth Netophah of the Mishna (Shebhu`oth, ix.5; Neubauer, Geogr., 128), but the position does not seem to agree at all with that of the Old Testament Netophah. For Khirbet Umm-Toba see Palestine Exploration Fund, III, 128; for Beit Nettif, Palestine Exploration Fund, III, 24; RBR, II, 17 f; both Sh XVII.