- the ship blocking the Suez Canal is not called the “Evergreen.”
- Yes, that is what’s painted on the side in big letters.
- But the name of the ship is the “Ever Given,” and it’s owned by the Evergreen Marine Corporation.
In short, Ephraim was the second son of Joseph (Manasseh was the first) who was later blessed by Jacob when he was dying and given the portion of the firstborn son (see Genesis chapter 48). When the twelve tribes of Jacob possessed the land of Canaan both sons were given an inheritance but Ephraim had the greater portion. Because of the greatness of Ephraim and his descendants, his name is often used interchangeably with Israel, and that is the case in Hosea chapter 11. So, when we read “Ephraim,” the whole nation of “Israel” is in view.
Verses 1-4: “When Israel was a child, I love him, and out of Egypt I called My son. As they called them, so they went from them; they sacrificed to the Baals, and burned incense to carved images. I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.” In these verses we have God, as a loving and gentle father, calling Israel/Ephraim out of Egypt yet instead of responding with gratitude and love, they rebelled against Him and worshipped idols.
Verses 5-7: “He shall not return to the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to repent. And the sword shall slash in his cities, devour his districts, and consume them. Because of their own counsels. My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, none at all exalt Him.” We know that Israel, in their rebellion in the wilderness, desired to return to Egypt. One example of this is in Numbers 11:4-6, “So the children of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes.” Israel REMEMBERED the good food they ate in Israel and despised God’s provision of manna, but they somehow FORGOT the bondage they were in as slaves to Pharaoh. Because of their constant murmurings and complaints, along with their idolatry, God determined NOT to send them back to Egypt, but to allow them to be taken captive to Assyria after being nearly completely destroyed by Assyria’s armies.
Verses 8-9: “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboim? My heart churns within Me, My sympathy is stirred. I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, the Holy One in your midst; and I will not come with terror.” God’s grief over and love for Ephraim/Israel is seen clearly in this passage. Because He loves them He would have compassion on them and NOT completely destroy them as He did to Adman and Zeboim when He rained fire and brimstone down upon the cities of the plain. We read of this in Deuteronomy 29:23, “The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, ADMAN and ZEBOIM, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and wrath.”
Verse 10-11: “They shall walk after the LORD. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, then His sons shall come trembling from the west; they shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses, says the LORD.” These verses look on to a day yet future when Israel will be restored to the land. They will come with humbled hearts and be blessed!
I could end this meditation here but I want to point out two more things. First of all, verse 12 is actually part of the next chapter in the Hebrew Bible for it fits in perfectly with the context of chapter 12. And secondly, though verse 1 of our chapter speaks literally of God calling Israel out of Egypt, yet Hosea was also inspired to write a “Messianic prophecy.” In Matthew chapter 2 we read of Joseph and Mary taking Jesus to Egypt when Herod was seeking “the young child to destroy Him” (verse 13). Verse 15 informs us that they were there “until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.” How can Hosea 11:1 be speaking of both Israel and Christ? Ah, because Israel was known as God’s “firstborn son” (see Exodus 4:22-23) and Christ is God’s “only begotten Son” (see John 3:16; 1st John 4:9-10). Both “sons” were “called out of Egypt.” (359.1) (DO)
Bible Meaning: Double ash heap, I shall be doubly fruitful, double fruitful
Strong’s Concordance #H669, #G2187
The name Ephraim not only designates a person but also the tribe he started and their inheritance in the Promised Land (Joshua 16:5 – 9). It is Biblically used for a city and part of a mountain range in the heart of Israel. Additionally, a forest, a gate, and a symbolic reference to the northern ten tribes of Israel also uses the name.
Ephraim is the name of Joseph’s youngest of two sons, the firstborn being Manasseh (Genesis 41:52). After Jacob (Israel) migrated to the country with his entire family, he “adopted” the two boys and made them the primary partakers of God’s blessings. Though not the firstborn, God selected Ephraim and his descendants to be the leading Israelite tribe (Genesis 48).
Part of a mountain range that runs through their territory is referred to as “mount Ephraim” (Joshua 17:15, 19:50).
The gate of Ephraim was one of the entrances to Jerusalem through the wall that surrounded the city (2Kings 14:13, 2Chronicles 25:23).
The prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 7:2), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:6), Hosea (Hosea 4:17) and others sometimes used the name to symbolize all the northern ten tribes of Israel (the Kingdom of Israel) that existed after the nation split in two.
Biblical commentaries speculate the city of Ephraim may have been previously known as Ophrah (Joshua 18:23) or possibly Ephron (2Chronicles 13:19).
Ephraim, taking its role as leader of the tribes a bit too seriously, took on a spirit of jealousy and rivalry when its status was not recognized. They severely chastised Gideon for not including them in his fight against the Midianites, even though God only needed three hundred men to defeat them (Judges 8:1 – 3).
When God used Jephthah to defeat the Ammonites, the Ephraimites protested that they were not called to help (Judges 12:1). They protested in spite of the fact that they rejected an earlier request for assistance against the enemy. They pressed the issue so strongly that Jephthah and the Gileadites had to fight and kill 42,000 of them for their demands to cease (verses 2 – 6)!
New Testament visit
Jesus, toward the end of his life, travelled to the city of Ephraim to avoid threats against his life (John 11:54).
And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.
And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
And the border of the children of Ephraim according to their families was thus: even the border of their inheritance on the east side was Atarothaddar, unto Bethhoron the upper;
And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.
According to the word of the LORD they gave him the city which he asked, even Timnathserah in mount Ephraim: and he built the city, and dwelt therein.
2Samuel 18:5 – 6
And the king (David) commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom . . . So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim . . .
And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Bethshemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate . . .
And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.
Hosea 4:16 – 17
For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place. Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.