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Israel map from 1695

Twelve tribes of Israel

The 12 tribes of Israel

Naftali ( Hebrew נַפְתָּלִי= My Struggle) was the sixth son of Jacob and the second with Bilhah , the handmaid of Rachel ( Gen 35,25  EU ). Naftali is one of the twelve ancestors of Israel .

In the tradition, the gazelle (Hebrew צבי "Zvi") or the deer is the heraldic animal Naftalis, after the biblical Jacob compared Naftali with a fast hind or actually with a gazelle (Gen 49.21). Only in the modern German and Yiddish language area was the biblical name Naftali, using the symbolic animal “ Zvi ”, given as “ deer ” (variants: Hersch, Herschel).


The settlement area of ​​the Naftali tribe was in the northern kingdom of Israel on the eastern part of the mountainous region of the later Roman province of Galilee . The victory of Deborah and Barak over the Canaanite captain Sisera the tribe of Naphtali had a significant share ( Ri 4,6.10  EU ; 5.18 EU ). Naftali was also involved in Gideon's victory over the Midianites ( Ri 6.35  EU ; 7.23 EU ). The settlement area of ​​the tribe was in the 9th century BC. Constantly threatened by campaigns of conquest by the Arameans (Syrians) ( 1 Kings 15.20  EU ) and was 733 BC. Annexed by the Assyrian Empire ( 2 Kings 15.29  EU ).

Kinnereth was a main town in the settlement area of ​​the Naftali tribe.