opened, a fountain and a stream issuing from it on the border between Judah and Benjamin ( Joshua 15:8 Joshua 15:9 ; 18:15 ). It has been identified with 'Ain Lifta, a spring about 2 1/2 miles north-west of Jerusalem. Others, however, have identified it with 'Ain' Atan, on the south-west of Bethlehem, whence water is conveyed through "Pilate's aqueduct" to the Haram area at Jerusalem.
Nephtoah, or Nephtoah
(opening ), The water of. The spring or source of the water or (inaccurately) waters of Nephtoah was one of the landmarks in the boundary line which separated Judah from Benjamin. ( Joshua 15:9 ; 18:15 ) It lay northwest of Jerusalem in which direction, it seems to have been satisfactorily identified in Ain Lifta , a spring situated a little distance above the village of the same name.
nef-to'-a, nef'-to-a (nephtoach, occurs only in the expression ma`yan me nephtoach, "the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah"; Septuagint pege hudatos Naphtho):
This spring was on the border line between Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15:9; 18:15). The place is usually identified with Lifta, a village about 2 miles Northwest of Jerusalem, on the east bank of the Wady beit Hanina]. It is a village very conspicuous to the traveler along the high road from Jaffa as he nears Jerusalem. There are ancient rock-cut tombs and a copious spring which empties itself into a large masonry reservoir. The situation of Lifta seems to agree well with the most probable line of boundary between the two tribes; the spring as it is today does not appear to be so abundant as to warrant such an expression as "spring of the waters," but it was, like many such sources, probably considerably more abundant in Old Testament times.
Conder would identify Lifta with the ancient ELEPH (which see) of Benjamin, and, on the ground that the Talmud (see Talmud Babylonian, Yom' 31a) identifies Nephtoah with ETAM (which see), he would find the site of Nephtoah at `Ain `Atan, South of Bethlehem. The Talmud is not a sufficiently trustworthy guide when unsupported by other evidence, and the identification creates great difficulty with the boundary line. See Palestine Exploration Fund, III, 18, 43, Sh XVII.
E. W. G. Mastermin
These files are public domain.