Notes for Naphtali:
His name in Hebrew is: נפתלי Naphtâlîy (naf-taw-lee’) Strongs #: 5321; my wrestling.
Jacob, Naphtali’s father was 87 when Naphtali was born.
Jacob had already been living in Haran for ten years when Naphtali was born.
At the age of 10, Naphtali left with his family to return to where Jacob came from
and met with a few hardships along the way. (1)
The place of abode upon arriving in Canaan from Haran was outside the town of Shechem
where they stayed 18 months. (2)
Upon the kidnapping of Naphtali’s half-sister, Dinah, Naphtali’s older half-brothers
Simeon and Levi laid waste the city of Shechem.
It looked like Naphtali would be going to his first battle at the age of 11, but
it turned out that the Canaanites decided that it wouldn’t be a very good idea. If
two can take a city, then an army of 112 would be devastating. (3)
At 12, Naphtali and his family moved to Bethel for a six month stay.
At 13, his step-mother Rachel died at childbirth while bringing Benjamin into the
At 18, Naphtali and his family came again to Shechem but their arrival made headline
news amongst the Canaanites since they didn’t want to lose their city again. This
time war was inevitable!
Naphtali was known for being lightfooted and as swift as a deer. He could run on
a floor covered with corn ears without breaking them. (4)
During the battle with the Canaanites, Naphtali’s swift speed of running got his
brothers out of several predicaments. He saved Judah’s life by putting a shield
over Judah’s head when Judah didn’t have a shield of his own, for his shield was
Naphtali’s step-mother, Leah died when Naphtali was 19, and it was after that time
that his half-brother Joseph started making a nuisance of himself. Although Joseph
ranked himself better than his brothers, Father Jacob still loved the brat so much
that Jacob made a colorful coat for him with long sleeves. (6)
What was the most annoying were Joseph’s dreams, and since Naphtali had the gift
of interpreting dreams it made him dislike his half-brother all the more! (7)
The only relief from Joseph was to look after the cattle with his brothers in Shechem
(they had been dwelling in Hebron with Grandfather Isaac), but Joseph still found
his brothers even when Naphtali moved with his brothers 15 miles north to Dothan.
Even before Joseph arrived at the camp, Naphtali planned to be part of the plot to
kill Joseph, but Reuben wanted nothing to do with the plan, so Joseph was placed
in a pit so Reuben could secretly let Joseph return home.
While Reuben was away from the camp, Naphtali and his brothers sold Joseph to the
Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver, but Naphtali later regretted it.
With Joseph being sold to the Ishmaelites and taken to Egypt, Naphtali and his brothers
took Joseph’s coat, tore it and dipped it in the blood of a goat and Naphtali delivered
it to Jacob. (8)
Twenty years later at the age of 41, Naphtali was sent to Egypt with his brothers
(except Benjamin) to buy corn since there was a severe famine in Canaan.
Upon arriving in Egypt, the brothers met with Zaphnathpaaneah, the stern governor
of Egypt who accused the brothers as being spies. Then Simeon was bound in prison
and the brothers were instructed to bring their youngest brother with them on their
next trip to prove that they weren’t spies. (9)
Therefore, the brothers returned home with their grain, but were forced to return
to Egypt 14 months later with Benjamin, much to the sorrow of Jacob. (10)
Upon Naphtali and his brother’s return back to, troubles began after Naphtali and
his brothers had dined with the governor, and that was when Benjamin was accused
of stealing the Governor’s cup. However, the excitement didn’t really begin until
the governor said that he would use Benjamin as a slave in his house. (11)
This act grieved Naphtali and his brethren, but it wasn’t until the governor saw
that the brothers were willing to fight for their younger brother that he reviewed
himself to them that Zaphnathpaaneah was actually Joseph.
This act both gladdened and frightened Naphtali.
Naphtali returned home with all his brethren telling Jacob the glad tidings in which
they made the trip back to Egypt with the whole family, and was able to witness the
joyous reunion of father and son in Egypt.
Seventeen years later, when Naphtali was 60, his father died and requested to be
buried in the Cave of Machpelah, but the funeral procession was halted for short
time by Naphtali’s Uncle Esau. (13)
Because of the battle at the Cave of Machpelach, another one ensued with the Edomites
in which some Edomites were taken captive and taken to Egypt. Having captive Edomites
in Egypt for slaves to the Israelites was considered a shame to the Edomites, so
war was waged against the Children of Jacob as well as the Egyptians, but the Edomites
ended up losing the battle the third time. (14)
After Naphtali had lived in Egypt for 89 years, he died at the age of 132. (15)
More About Naphtali:
Burial: 1387BC in Kadesh-naphtali, Canaan