🔼The name Nephtoah: Summary
- From the verb פתח (patah), to open.
🔼The name Nephtoah in the Bible
The name Nephtoah is connected to a spring, which became a marker between the territories allotted to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin just to Judah's north. It's mentioned as a border of Judah in Joshua 15:9 and as a border of Benjamin in Joshua 18:15.
🔼Etymology of the name Nephtoah
The name Nephtoah comes from the verb פתח (patah), meaning to open:
The verb פתח (patah) means to open. And since the opening of lips precedes speaking, and the opening of ears precedes hearing, our verb may also mean to speak and to hear (and to see, to be hospitable, to ask for with open hands, and so on). Our verb may be applied to the opening of constricting things, which gives it the meaning of to loosen or release. This verb (or perhaps a whole separate one) may also be used to mean to engrave, although engraving and opening a surface so that the surface speaks are not that far apart.
Noun פתח (petah) means opening or doorway. Similar noun פתח (petah) means opening in the sense of an unfolding. Noun פתון (pithon) also means opening. Noun פתיחה (petiha) denotes a drawn sword (the edge of a sword was known as the "mouth" of it). A prefixed מ usually indicates place or agency and noun מפתח (miptah) means utterance and the similar masculine noun מפתח (mapteah) means key.
The letter נ (nun), with which our name starts may be due to a grammatical construction that turns a verb passive (he opened), reflective (he opened himself), or resultative (to be open).
For a meaning of the name Nephtoah, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Opening. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret our name but does list it under the verb פתח (patah), meaning to open.