Subjects of the kingdom.
“When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him, and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father, for this one is the first-born. Place your right hand on his head.’ But his father refused …” (Genesis 48:17-19)
Things don’t always go the way one thinks they should. God sovereignty is clearly seen as Israel blesses Joseph’s sons. “ It wasn’t an accident caused by weak vision. Israel crossed his arms to reach as he did. “I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he will also be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations. (Genesis 48:19)
Considering these words prophetic then begs the question: How did Ephraim become “a multitude of nations”?
The Tribe of Ephraim, whom God calls “My first-born,” (Jeremiah 31:9) became separated from the reign of Judah’s scepter after King David’s death. God divided the kingdom. David’s son, Rehoboam, would continue the dynasty called “the house of Judah.” Jeroboam, of the tribe of Ephraim, would lead the rebellion of the ten northern tribes who become “the house of Israel.” They would be ruled by a series of rebellious kings until God’s patients ended in judgement.
The northern tribes made an alliance with Damascus against the house of Judah. The prophet Isaiah warned them, “Now within 65 years Ephraim will be shattered so that it is no longer a people.” (Isaiah 7:8)
The house of Israel was defeated by the Assyrians. Conquered, the tribes were carried or driven away. Perhaps only the poor remained to be occupied by strangers who themselves had been dispersed from their defeated nations. This mixture would become the people known as the Samaritans.
According to the legend, Ephraim, “no longer a people,” became “a multitude of nations” ruled by kings, descendants of Zerah, son of Judah, until the advent of Christ.
To be continued.