According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Ephraim (Hebrew: אֶפְרַיִם / אֶפְרָיִם, Efrayim) was one of the Tribes of Israel. The Tribe of Manasseh together with Ephraim formed the House of Joseph. It is one of the ten lost tribes. The etymology of the name is disputed.
According to the Bible, the Tribe of Ephraim is descended from a man named Ephraim, who is recorded as the son of Joseph, the son of Jacob, and Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera.  The descendants of Joseph formed two of the tribes of Israel, whereas the other sons of Jacob were the founders of one tribe each.
The Bible records that the Tribe of Ephraim entered the land of Canaan during its conquest by Joshua, a descendant of Ephraim himself. However, archeologists have abandoned the idea that Joshua carried out a conquest of Canaan similar to that described in the Book of Joshua, seeing Jews instead as indigenous Canaanites who developed a monotheistic religion over time.
From Joshua to the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel, the Tribe of Ephraim was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes. No central government existed, and in times of crisis the people were led by ad hoc leaders known as Judges (see the Book of Judges).
With the growth of the threat from Philistine incursions, the Israelite tribes decided to form a strong centralised monarchy to meet the challenge. The Tribe of Ephraim joined the new kingdom with Saul as the first king. The widely accepted date for Saul's reign is approximately 1025–1005 BCE. Some scholars dispute this date range and place Saul later, perhaps as late as "the second half of the tenth century B.C.E."
After the death of Saul, the Bible records all the tribes other than Judah remained loyal to the House of Saul. After the death of Ishbosheth, Saul's son and successor to the throne of Israel, the Tribe of Ephraim joined the other northern Israelite tribes in making David, who was then the king of Judah, the king of a reunited Kingdom of Israel. According to archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, there is doubt about whether the biblical ordering for the reigns of the early monarchs is reliable, and that the sequence preserved in the Bible, in which David follows Saul as king of Israel, may not be historically accurate.
However, on the accession of Rehoboam, David's grandson, in c. 930 BCE the northern tribes split from the House of David to form the northern Kingdom of Israel. The first king of the northern kingdom was an Ephraimite, Jeroboam, who likely ruled in 931–909 BCE.
The accents of the tribes were distinctive enough even at the time of the confederacy so that when the Israelites of Gilead, under the leadership of Jephthah, fought the Tribe of Ephraim, their pronunciation of shibboleth as sibboleth was considered sufficient evidence to single out individuals from Ephraim, so that they could be subjected to immediate death by the Israelites of Gilead.
Ephraim was a member of the Northern Kingdom until the kingdom was conquered by Assyria in c. 723 BCE and the population deported. From that time, the Tribe of Ephraim has been counted as one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
Ephraim is often seen as the tribe that embodies the entire Northern Kingdom and the royal house resided in the tribe's territory (just as Judah is the tribe that embodies the Kingdom of Judah and provided its royal family).
In the biblical account, following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes. Kenneth Kitchen, a well-known conservative biblical scholar, dates this event to slightly after 1200 BC. However, the consensus view of modern scholars is that the conquest of Joshua as described in the Book of Joshua never occurred.
As recorded in the Book of Joshua, the territory allocated to the Tribe of Ephraim was at the center of Canaan, west of the Jordan, south of the territory of Manasseh, and north of the Tribe of Benjamin. The region later named Samaria (as distinguished from Judea or Galilee) consisted mostly of Ephraim's territory. The area was mountainous, giving it protection, and also highly fertile, giving prosperity,
The territory of Ephraim contained the early centers of Israelite religion - Shechem and Shiloh. These factors contributed to making Ephraim the most dominant of the tribes in the Kingdom of Israel, and led to Ephraim becoming a synonym for the entire kingdom.
Joshua 16:1-4 outlines the borders of the lands allocated to the "children of Joseph", i.e. Ephraim and Manasseh combined, and Joshua 16:5-8 defines the borders of the land allocated to the tribe of Ephraim in more detail.
Bethel was allocated by Joshua to the Tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:11-28). However, even by the time of the prophetess Deborah, Bethel is described as being in the land of the Tribe of Ephraim (Judges 4:5). Some twenty years after the breakup of the United Monarchy, Abijah, the second king of Kingdom of Judah, defeated Jeroboam of Israel and took back the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages (Chronicles 13:17-19). Ephron is believed to be the Ophrah that was also allocated to the Tribe of Benjamin by Joshua (Joshua 18:20-28).
The riverine gulch, naḥal Ḳanah (Joshua 17:9), divided Ephraim's territory to the south, and Manasseh's territory to the north. The modern Israeli town of Karnei Shomron is built near this gulch, which runs in an easterly-westerly direction.
The border of Ephraim extended from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and incorporated within it the cities of Bethel (now Beitin), ʻAtarot, Beth-Ḥoron the Nether (now Bayt ʻUr), extending as far as Gezer (now Abu Shûsheh, formerly known as Tell el Jezer) and the Mediterranean Sea. Gezer was said to have been inhabited by Canaanites long after Joshua had either killed or expelled the other Canaanites. According to French archaeologist, Charles Clermont-Ganneau, who identified the site in 1871 and later carried out excavations there, Gezer marked the extreme western point of the territory of Ephraim, and was "situated at the actual intersection of the boundaries of Ephraim, Dan and Judah." This view, however, does not seem to be supported by the Scriptures themselves which place the extent of Ephraim's border at the sea.
According to the Torah, the tribe consisted of descendants of Ephraim a son of Joseph, from whom it took its name; however some critical Biblical scholars view this also as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. In the Biblical account, Joseph is one of the two children of Rachel and Jacob, a brother to Benjamin, and father to both Ephraim, and his first son, Manasseh; Ephraim received the blessing of the firstborn, although Manasseh was the eldest, because Jacob foresaw that Ephraim's descendants would be greater than his brother's.
Though the biblical descriptions of the geographic boundary of the House of Joseph are fairly consistent, the descriptions of the boundaries between Manasseh and Ephraim are not, and each is portrayed as having exclaves within the territory of the other. Furthermore, in the Blessing of Jacob, and elsewhere ascribed by textual scholars to a similar or earlier time period, Ephraim and Manasseh are treated as a single tribe, with Joseph appearing in their place. From this it is regarded as obvious that originally Ephraim and Manasseh were considered one tribe — that of Joseph. According to several biblical scholars, Benjamin was also originally part of the House of Joseph, but the biblical account of this became lost; Benjamin being differentiated by being that part of Ephraim (House of Joseph) which joined the Kingdom of Judah rather than that of Israel.
A number of biblical scholars suspect that the Joseph tribes (including Benjamin) represent a second migration of Israelites to Israel, later than the main tribes, specifically that it was only the Joseph tribes which went to Egypt and returned, while the main Israelite tribes simply emerged as a subculture from the Canaanites and had remained in Canaan throughout; in the narrative in the Book of Joshua, which concerns the arrival in (and conquest of) Canaan by the Israelites from Egypt, the leader is Joshua, who was a member of the Ephraim tribe. According to this view, the story of Jacob's visit to Laban to obtain a wife began as a metaphor for the second migration, with Jacob's new family, possessions, and livestock, obtained from Laban, being representations of the new wave of migrants;
In the account of the deuteronomic history, Ephraim is portrayed as domineering, haughty, discontented, and jealous, but in classical rabbinical literature, the biblical founder of the tribe is described as being modest and not selfish. These rabbinical sources allege that it was on account of modesty and selflessness, and a prophetic vision of Joshua, that Jacob gave Ephraim precedence over Manasseh, the elder of the two; in these sources, Jacob is regarded as sufficiently just that God upholds the blessing in his honour, and makes Ephraim the leading tribe. Nevertheless, other classical rabbinical texts mock the tribe for the character it has in the deuteronomic history, claiming that Ephraim, being headstrong, left Egypt 30 years prior to the Exodus, and on arrival in Canaan was subjected to a disastrous battle with the Philistines; in the Midrashic Jasher this is portrayed as a rebellion of Ephraim against God, resulting in the slaying of all but 10, and the bleached bones of the slaughtered being strewn across the roads, so much so that the circuitous route of the Exodus was simply an attempt by God to prevent the Israelites from having to suffer the sight of the remains.
Though from the point of view of an increasing majority of archaeologists, there were always two distinct cultures in Canaan, a strong and prosperous northern kingdom and a weaker and poorer southern one, in the Biblical account the Israelite tribes were initially united in a single kingdom, and only later fractured into the northern and southern kingdoms; this fracture is blamed by the Bible on the jealousy of Ephraim over the growing power of Judah. In the Book of Chronicles, Ephraim's act of splintering from Judah is denounced as forsaking God, and Ephraim is portrayed as becoming highly irreligious, particularly in their resistance to the reforms enacted by Hezekiah and Josiah.
It was not until the close of the first period of Jewish history that God 'refused the tabernacle of Joseph (Hebrew Bible), and chose not the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion which he loved'. (Ps 78:67,68) When the Ark was removed from Shiloh to Zion the power of Ephraim was sequestered.
As part of the Kingdom of Israel, the territory of Ephraim was conquered by the Assyrians, and the tribe exiled; the manner of their exile led to their further history being lost. However, several modern day groups claim descent, with varying levels of academic and rabbinical support. The Samaritans claim that some of their adherents are descended from this tribe, and many Persian Jews claim to be descendants of Ephraim. Further afield, in India the Telugu Jews claim descent from Ephraim, and call themselves Bene Ephraim, relating similar traditions to those of the Mizo Jews, whom the modern state of Israel regards as descendants of Manasseh.
Several western Christian groups, in particular those of the United Church of God, claim that the whole UK is the direct descendant of Ephraim, and that the whole United States is the direct descendant of Manasseh, based on the interpretation that Jacob had said these two tribes would become the most supreme nations in the world.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes a significant portion of its members to be descended from or adopted into the tribe of Ephraim, believing that they are charged with restoring the lost tribes in the latter days as prophesied by Isaiah, and that the tribes of both Ephraim and Judah will play important leadership roles for covenant Israel in the last days; some believe that this would be the fulfilment of part of the Blessing of Jacob, where it states that Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall (Genesis 49:22, interpreting the "wall" as the ocean).
Abdon (Hebrew: עַבְדּוֹן ‘Aḇdōn, "servile" or "service"), was the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, and was the twelfth Judge of Israel mentioned in the Book of Judges (Judges 12:13-15). He was a member of the tribe of Ephraim, and in the biblical account was credited with having forty sons and thirty grandsons. He restored order in the central area of Israel "after the disastrous feud with Jephtha and the Gileadites".
He judged Israel for eight years. He was buried on Ephraimite land, in Pirathon, in the hill-country of the Amalekites.Barak
Barak ( or ; Hebrew: בָּרָק, Tiberian Hebrew: Bārāq, Arabic: البُراق al-Burāq "lightning") was a ruler of Ancient Israel. As military commander in the biblical Book of Judges, Barak, with Deborah, from the Tribe of Ephraim, the prophet and fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel, defeated the Canaanite armies led by Sisera.Bene Ephraim
The Bene Ephraim (Hebrew: בני אפריים) Bnei Ephraim ("Sons of Ephraim"), also called Telugu Jews because they speak Telugu, are a small community living primarily in Kotha Reddy palem, a village outside Chebrolu, Guntur District, and in Machilipatnam, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, India, near the delta of the River Krishna. They claim to be descendants of the Tribe of Ephraim, of the Ten Lost Tribes, and since the 1980s have learned to practice modern Judaism.Bethel
Bethel (Ugaritic: bt il, meaning "House of El" or "House of God", Hebrew: בֵּית אֵל ḇêṯ’êl, also transliterated Beth El, Beth-El, Beit El; Greek: Βαιθηλ; Latin: Bethel) is a toponym often used in the Hebrew Bible. At first it was a place where Jacob dreamt of seeing angels and God, which he therefore named Bethel, "House of God". The name is further used for a border city located between the territory of the Israelite tribe of Benjamin and that of the tribe of Ephraim, which first belonged to the Benjaminites and was later conquered by the Ephraimites.
Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome describe Bethel in their time as a small village that lay 12 Roman miles north of Jerusalem, to the right or east of the road leading to Neapolis.Most academics identify Bethel with the Arab West Bank village Beitin, a minority opinion preferring El-Bireh.Ten years after the 1967 Six-Day War, the biblical name was applied to the Israeli settlement of Beit El, constructed adjacent to Beitin.
In several countries—particularly in the US—the name has been given to various locations (see Bethel (disambiguation)).El'ad
El'ad, also spelled Elad (Hebrew: אלעד), is a city in the Center District of Israel. Located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of Tel Aviv on Route 444 between Rosh HaAyin and Shoham, it had a population of 47,866 in 2018. El'ad is the only locality in Israel officially designated a religious municipality. The name El'ad means “Forever God”, but it is also named after a member of the tribe of Ephraim, who lived in this area (1 Chronicles 7:21).Ephraim
Ephraim ; (Hebrew: אֶפְרַיִם/אֶפְרָיִם, Efrayim) was, according to the Book of Genesis, the second son of Joseph and Asenath. Asenath was an Egyptian woman whom Pharaoh gave to Joseph as wife, and the daughter of Potipherah, a priest of On. Ephraim was born in Egypt before the arrival of the children of Israel from Canaan.The Book of Numbers lists three sons of Ephraim: Shuthelah, Beker, and Tahan. However, 1 Chronicles 7 claims that he had at least eight sons, including Ezer and Elead, who were killed by local men who came to rob him of his cattle. After their deaths he had another son, Beriah. He was the ancestor of Joshua, son of Nun, the leader of the Israelite tribes in the conquest of Canaan.According to the biblical narrative, Jeroboam, who became the first king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, was also from the house of Ephraim.Ephraim (disambiguation)
Ephraim was a Biblical patriarch.
Ephraim may also refer to:
Tribe of Ephraim
Ephraim (given name)
Ephraim of Nea Makri (1384-1426), Greek saint
Mount Ephraim, biblical region
Ephraim, Utah, USA
Ephraim, Wisconsin, USA
Ephraim (Fire Emblem), a character in Fire Emblem: The Sacred StonesEphrem (name)
Ephrem is a masculine given name, a variant spelling of Ephraim (also spelled Efrem, Ephraem). It is the name of biblical Ephraim, a son of Joseph and ancestor of the Tribe of Ephraim.Jeroboam
Jeroboam I (; Hebrew: יָרָבְעָם Yārāḇə‘ām; Greek: Ἱεροβοάμ, romanized: Ierovoám) was the first king of the northern Kingdom of Israel after the revolt of the ten northern Israelite tribes against Rehoboam that put an end to the United Monarchy.
Jeroboam reigned for 22 years. William F. Albright has dated his reign from 922 to 901 BC, while Edwin R. Thiele offers the dates 931 to 910 BC.Kemuel
Kemuel (Heb. Qemuel קְמוּאֵל, compd. of qum קוּם: "to arise" + el אֵל: "deity" — "God has risen", "raised by God") is a minor Hebrew masculine name. Three Kemuels are mentioned in the Bible.
One is mentioned in Genesis 22:21 as the nephew of Abraham, son of Nahor, brother of Bethuel (father of Rebekah).
The second Kemuel was ruler of the tribe of Ephraim in Numbers 34:24.
The third was the father of Hashbiah, ruler of the tribe of Levi or Levite, in the Book of Chronicles 27:17.Kemuel is also an alternate name of the angel Camael.Ma'ale Efrayim
Ma'ale Efrayim (Hebrew: מַעֲלֵה אֶפְרַיִם, eng. Ascent of Ephraim) is a secular Israeli settlement and local council located along the eastern slopes of the Samarian mountains in the Jordan Valley, within the West Bank. It was founded in 1978 and named after the Biblical tribe of Ephraim. The settlement's municipal status was upgraded to local council in 1981. In 2018 it had a population of 1,241.
The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.Mordecai Sultansky
Mordecai Sultansky (Hebrew: מרדכי סולטנסקי) was a Crimean Karaite hakham of the nineteenth century.
He was born at Lutsk about 1772. Sultansky was one of the most prominent scholars of the Karaite sect during the nineteenth century. He officiated as hakham of Lutsk (in succession to his father), and later at Yevpatoria.
He wrote a Hebrew grammar entitled Petah Tikva (Yevpatoria, 1857), and Sefer Tetib Da'at (ib. 1858), directed against rabbinical philosophy and Hasidic mysticism, and endeavoring to explain Biblical angelology. He died in 1862.
Mordecai Sultansky was the first Karaite scholar claiming that Crimean Karaites have different from Rabbinic Jews origin, descending from the Ten Lost Tribes.
All Rabbanites and Karaites who live in European countries are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Yaakov, peace be upon them, from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and the semi-tribe of Manasseh.
The rest of the Jews, the nine tribes and semi-tribe of Ephraim, who were expelled by the kings of Ashur, separated from the kingdom of Judah and resettled into various countries, all confess the same religion and faith as the Karaites.
The book Zekher Tzadikim - Chapter 3 - hakham Mordechai ben Josef SultanskiMount Ephraim
Mount Ephraim (Hebrew: הר אפרים), or alternately Mount of Ephraim, was the historical name for the central mountainous district of Israel once occupied by the Tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 17:15; 19:50; 20:7), extending from Bethel to the plain of Jezreel. In Joshua's time (Joshua 17:18), approximately sometime between the 18th century BCE and the 13th century BCE, these hills were densely wooded. They were intersected by well-watered, fertile valleys, referred to in Jeremiah 50:19.Naarath
Naarath is a place named in Joshua 16:7 as one of the landmarks on the southern boundary of the Tribe of Ephraim and Benjamin. It appears to have been situated between Ataroth and Jericho. During the 4th-century, Eusebius and Jerome speak of "Naorath", as a "small village of Jews fives miles from Jericho."Nun (biblical figure)
Nun , in the Hebrew Bible, was a man from the Tribe of Ephraim, grandson of Ammihud, son of Elishama, and father of Joshua (1 Chronicles 7:26-27).
Nun grew up in and may have lived his entire life in the Israelites' Egyptian captivity, where the Egyptians "made life bitter for them with harsh labor at mortar and bricks and with all sorts of tasks in the field" (Exodus 1:14). In Aramaic, "nun" means "fish". Thus the Midrash tells: "[T]he son of him whose name was as the name of a fish would lead them [the Israelites] into the land" (Genesis Rabba 97:3).Pirathon
Pirathon was an ancient town mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. While some scholars speculate on its likely location, its exact whereabouts are not known. However, it is known that the town was located in modern Israel, in the area once held by the Israelite tribe of Ephraim..
Brenton translates as Pharathon (Greek: Φαραθών) in his version of the Septuagint.The town is notable as the home of Hillel, father of Abdon, one of the judges of early Israel (Judges 12:13-15), and because Benaiah, one of King David's captains (or "mighty ones"), originated there.Tibni
Tibni (Hebrew: תִּבְנִי Ṯiḇnî) was a claimant to the throne of Israel and the son of Ginath. Albright has dated his reign to 876–871 BC, while Thiele offers the dates 885–880 BC.Tomb of Joshua
The Tomb of Joshua is the traditional burial site of Joshua. According to the biblical book bearing his name, Joshua died at the age of 110. His burial site was in a location of his own inheritance at Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of the Tribe of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash.Tribe of Manasseh
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Manasseh (; Hebrew: שבט מְנַשֶּׁה, Modern: Shevat Menashe, Tiberian: Shevaṭ Mənaššé, "who makes to forget") was one of the Tribes of Israel. It is one of the ten lost tribes. Together with the Tribe of Ephraim, Manasseh also formed the House of Joseph.
In the biblical chronicle, the Tribe of Manasseh was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes from after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in c. 1050 BC. No central government existed, and in times of crisis the people were led by ad hoc leaders known as Judges. (see the Book of Judges) With the growth of the threat from Philistine incursions, the Israelite tribes decided to form a strong centralised monarchy to meet the challenge, and the Tribe of Manasseh joined the new kingdom with Saul as the first king. After the death of Saul, all the tribes other than Judah remained loyal to the House of Saul, but after the death of Ish-bosheth, Saul's son and successor to the throne of Israel, the Tribe of Manasseh joined the other northern Israelite tribes in making David, who was then the king of Judah, king of a re-united Kingdom of Israel. However, on the accession of Rehoboam, David's grandson, in c. 930 BC the northern tribes split from the House of David to reform a Kingdom of Israel as the Northern Kingdom. Manasseh was a member of the kingdom until the kingdom was conquered by Assyria in c. 723 BC and the population deported.
From that time, the Tribe of Manasseh has been counted as one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, though some groups claim descent from the tribe.