Ephraim

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Second son of Joseph and Asenath. The name is also given to the tribe of which he was the head, and also to the district of Palestine that fell to his lot. When Israel blessed the two sons of Joseph he set Ephraim before his elder brother, saying he should be greater, and his seed should become a multitude (or, “fatness”) of nations (Gen. 48:17-1917And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. 18And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 19And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. (Genesis 48:17‑19)). Little is recorded of Ephraim personally; and of his descendants, Joshua the son of Nun is the most renowned. The tribe on the second year from the Exodus numbered in fighting men 40,500; but had decreased during the forty years to 32,500 (Num. 1:3333Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred. (Numbers 1:33); Num. 26:3737These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those that were numbered of them, thirty and two thousand and five hundred. These are the sons of Joseph after their families. (Numbers 26:37)).
The territory of the tribe was in the heart of Palestine, having Manasseh on the north, Benjamin on the south, and Dan on the west. See the map under TWELVE TRIBES. It has beautiful valleys and noble mountains with many springs and streams. Its two principal towns were Shiloh and Shechem.
Ephraim had the place of the first-born (Jer. 31:99They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. (Jeremiah 31:9)), the birthright being taken from Reuben and given to Joseph (1 Chron. 5:1-21Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. 2For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:) (1 Chronicles 5:1‑2)). Also the place of the tabernacle was in the tribe of Ephraim, hence we find in the time of the judges this tribe asserting its own importance. They were angry with Gideon for not calling them to the war sooner than he did; but a soft answer appeased their wrath (Judg. 7:2424And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. (Judges 7:24); Judg. 8:1-31And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply. 2And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that. (Judges 8:1‑3)). Again they complained to Jephthah that he had gone without them to fight the Ammonites, though Jephthah declared that he had called them, and they had not responded. They also haughtily said of the Gileadites that they were fugitives of Ephraim, implying that they were not a tribe, but belonged to Ephraim, from whence they had escaped. The conflict was sharp; the Gileadites seized the ford of the Jordan, and then by putting all who wanted to pass to the test of pronouncing Shibboleth (which the Ephraimites could only call Sibboleth) they slew 42,000 of the men of Ephraim (Judg. 12:1-61And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire. 2And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands. 3And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the Lord delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? 4Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites. 5And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; 6Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand. (Judges 12:1‑6)). Thus was this proud and envious tribe punished for molesting their brethren, whereas they had not driven out the heathen inhabitants of the land, as they should have done (Judg. 1:2929Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. (Judges 1:29)). Type of many in the church who in pride contend with their brethren, but do not fight God’s battles against spiritual wickedness. Later on the Lord forsook Shiloh, and chose, not the tribe of Ephraim, but that of Judah both for the place of royalty and for the sanctuary.
In the kingdom under David and Solomon we read very little of Ephraim, but it is twice called in the Psalm “the strength (or defense) of mine head” (Psa. 60:77Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver; (Psalm 60:7); Psa. 108:88Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver; (Psalm 108:8)). At the division of the tribes Ephraim took the most prominent place; Shechem and Samaria being in their territory naturally contributed to this, and accounts for the ten tribes being constantly called “Ephraim” by the prophets. In the same way the two tribes are called “Judah” (Hos. 5:3, 5, 13-143I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. (Hosea 5:3)
5And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. (Hosea 5:5)
13When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound. 14For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. (Hosea 5:13‑14)
, &c). Isaiah prophesied that in sixty-five years Ephraim should be broken and should not be a people (Isa. 7:88For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. (Isaiah 7:8)). This was in B.C. 742, and Samaria was taken and Israel carried into captivity in B.C. 721, so that the prophecy doubtless referred to Esarhaddon planting a colony of foreigners in Samaria in B.C. 678, which fulfills the sixty-five years. This also agrees with the prophecy saying “the head of Ephraim” is Samaria.
In the prophecies also that refer to the future blessing of the twelve tribes Ephraim is regarded as representing the ten tribes (Ezek. 37:16-2216Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. 18And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? 19Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 20And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: (Ezekiel 37:16‑22)), where the twelve tribes are to become one nation in their own land, with one king over them: a prophecy which clearly has never yet been fulfilled, but which will surely be accomplished in God’s own time.

Jackson’s Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names:

double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful