Ephraim was the second son of Joseph ben Jacob and Asenath. Joseph named him Ephraim: “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Though it’s unclear whether this references Canaan or Egypt, Joseph recognizes that God has turned his affliction into a blessing. He is ready to move forward.
The name Ephraim means “fruitfulness.” He and his older brother, Manasseh, are born before the famine. Sometime later, Joseph’s family migrates to Egypt because of the famine. When Joseph hears that Jacob is ill, he goes to see him, taking along his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Jacob and his family have been in Egypt for 17 years. Joseph’s sons, born before the famine, are in their late teens or early twenties. As they enter Jacob’s room, Jacob sees them and exclaims: “Who are these?” It is clear that he does not recognize them. Joseph tells him they are his sons, and Jacob responds: “Bring them closer to me so I can bless them.”
Even though Jacob’s eyesight is failing, he asks about the young boys and their lives in Egypt. Joseph replies that they are the sons God gave him in Egypt. Upon hearing this, Jacob asks to bless them as well. Joseph then puts his sons on Jacob’s knees, where they are kissed and embraced by their grandfather.
In awe of the turn of events, Jacob comments on how he never expected to see Joseph’s face again, and God has allowed him to see Joseph’s children, too. This exchange between family members is religiously moving and provides readers with a sense of hope and faith.
Joseph took his sons from his father’s lap and bowed to the ground, showing reverence and respect. Ephraim was on his right toward Jacob’s left hand, and Manasseh was on his left toward Jacob’s right hand; he brought them close to him. But Jacob reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he is the younger son, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn son. Joseph tried to correct him, exclaiming that “Manasseh is on your right.” Jacob said he knew that. He noted that Manasseh would become a leader of people, and he, too, would become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother would be greater than he, and his descendants would become a group of nations.
What Can We Learn From the Tribe of Ephraim?
The tribe of Ephraim is often mentioned in the Bible, both in positive and negative contexts. For example, the tribe is praised for its loyalty to King David (1 Chronicles 12:40), but it is also criticized for its pride and jealousy (Isaiah 28:1-3). In general, the tribe of Ephraim represents the human tendency to seek glory and power rather than humbly accepting God’s will.
As any Christian knows, God should always come first in our lives. We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33). This means that we should not be focused on earthly things, such as glory or power, but on things of eternal worth.
Unfortunately, the Ephraimites in the Book of Judges did not heed this advice. Their pride and jealousy led to fights and conflict, ultimately defeating their own. Moreover, when Moses asked the people of Israel to choose between life and death, the tribe of Ephraim chose death rather than acknowledge their sinful nature. This choice ultimately led to their downfall, as they were eventually conquered and scattered by their enemies.
We can learn from their mistakes as the story of the tribe of Ephraim teaches us that pride and self-will often lead to disaster but humble obedience to God can bring about blessing and restoration.
What Happened to the Tribe of Ephraim After All the Conflict?
The history of Ephraim is full of both heartache and hope. Founded by pioneers seeking religious freedom, the small town quickly became a thriving community. However, tensions between the settlers and the Native American population soon boiled over into violence.
In the early 1800s, Ephraim was plunged into a series of bloody conflicts that left both sides struggling to rebuild. Despite this dark chapter in its history, Ephraim ultimately emerged as a place of tolerance and understanding. But after that dark history, the town is home to people of many different backgrounds, all united by their shared history and love for their community.
Looking back, it is clear that God has been with us through every step of our journey. He has comforted us in our darkest hours and celebrated with us in our moments of triumph. He has never given up on us, even when we have strayed from His path. Plus, He continues to bless us each day, guidance and strength for whatever lies ahead.
Why Is God Angry at Prideful People?
Pride is a dangerous thing. It leads us to believe that we are better than others and do not need God in our lives. It is an attitude of independence from God, directly opposed to the humble, God-fearing disposition that is pleasing to Him.
The Bible has a lot to say about how God hates prideful people. Let’s look into these three verses below.
1. James 4:6
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
When we are humble, we view ourselves as God does – as sinners who need His grace and forgiveness. We can then extend that same grace and forgiveness to others.
But when we are arrogant, we think more highly of ourselves than we should and look down on others. This attitude keeps us from seeing our own need for God’s grace. It also keeps us from being able to show grace to others. If we want to please God, we must put away haughty eyes and instead develop a humble, Christ-like attitude.
2. Proverbs 16:5
”Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD.”
This is because pride leads to all sorts of problems. We are more likely to judge others and be unkind when we are proud. We also tend to think highly of ourselves and our abilities, leading to a sense of entitlement.
Pride can also make us feel superior to others, resulting in envy and resentment. Ultimately, pride is a self-destructive force that can damage our relationships and fracture our communities. This is what happened to the tribe of Ephraim. They allowed their pride to lead them astray, and as a result, they suffered greatly.
3. Proverbs 8:13
“Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
Scripture is clear that pride is synonymous with scoffing, arrogance, foolishness, evil, and wickedness. Pride leads us down a path of destruction, away from God and His love. Therefore, we must all practice humility to please God and have a healthy relationship with Him.
How Does God Punish Prideful People?
The biblical and theological view of pride reveals that it is a grave offense to God. It must be punished, and the Bible frequently portrays God punishing the proud.
In Isaiah, God promises to punish the arrogant ruler of Assyria because he had gone too far: “When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes” (Isaiah 10:12).
The prideful King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon surveyed his accomplishments and paid for them with his life. “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” He was then reduced to an animal state until he had been rightly humiliated and humbled (Daniel 4:20).
Just as God humbled these proud rulers, he also promises to humble anyone who sets themselves above others. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34). When we are tempted to boast about our accomplishments or compare ourselves favorably to others, we should remember that pride is an act of defiance against God. Plus, we can be sure He will resist us when we pridefully think more highly of ourselves than we must.
Is There Hope for Proud People?
Pride is the chief of sins because it was pride that led to the fall of humanity. It was pride that led Satan to rebel against God, and it is pride that instructs humans to rebel against God. Pride is an act of disobedience, and disobedience leads to separation from God. Yet, even though pride is a terrible sin, it can be forgiven.
Pride can be forgiven by the humble Savior who died on the cross for our sins. When we humble ourselves and turn to Christ, he will forgive us and give us new life. Through Christ, we can be forgiven and experience the grace and love of God.
Reaching high first requires going low. Further, James 4:10 tells us that if we want to be exalted by God, we must humble ourselves. Jesus Christ humbled himself so that he could be exalted to the highest place in heaven. When we are humble, we are free to serve others and follow God’s will for our lives.
Ephraim, the son of Joseph, was a humble and obedient man who followed God’s will. However, the tribe he led became proud and disobedient. They were known for their stubbornness, which led to their downfall. Today, the tribe of Ephraim is no longer a part of Israel. But, we can learn from their story and remember to stay humble and obedient to God.
These days, many people feel that they no longer need God in their lives. They believe that they can handle everything on their own. However, this is not the case. We need God now more than ever. We need to humble ourselves and obey Him. Only then will He bless us abundantly.