Ephraim was the second son of Joseph who got the biggest blessing from his grandfather, Jacob. He was the ancestor of one of the prominent tribes of Israel; the Northern kingdom was at times referred to with his name.
Joseph had brought his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to get Jacob’s blessing. He expected Manasseh to gain the greater blessing but Ephraim was given the greater blessing despite being the younger son.
He blessed them that day and said, “In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’ ” So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. GENESIS 48:20
From Joseph to David to many of the first Christians, one of the key themes that is repeated throughout the Bible is God’s favor being shown to those who are regarded by the world as less important. Ephraim is yet another example of this wonderful habit of God.
Ephraim was born the younger son of Joseph, who had been sold into slavery in Egypt by his older brothers. By the providence of God, Joseph rose to a very high position in the Egyptian kingdom, and Pharaoh gave him a wife from among the Egyptian priestly classes. This wife bore him two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Son of Joseph and Father of a Half-Tribe of Israel.
When the time came for Joseph’s father, Jacob, to bless his grandsons, Joseph brought the boys to him and placed Manasseh, who was the firstborn, at Jacob’s right hand, expecting him to receive the greater blessing. But Jacob chose instead to give the greater blessing to Ephraim, the younger. No reason is given for why he chose to do this; he simply did it.
Eventually Ephraim’s descendants would become one of the most prominent tribes of Israel, and the northern kingdom would even be referred to at times as Ephraim.