Ephraim was the younger son of Joseph, son of Jacob, and Asenath, daughter of Potiphera (priest of the sun god Re of Heliopolis). Ephraim is the ancestor of the Tribe of Ephraim. Before his death, Jacob adopted his grandchildren Ephraim and Manasseh to be equal with his own sons (Genesis 48:5).
When Jacob blessed Joseph's two sons he placed his right hand on the head of the younger boy, Ephraim, and his left hand on the older boy, Manasseh. Joseph was upset when his father laid his right hand on the younger grandson, rather than the older grandson. But Jacob said that although Manasseh would become the ancestor of a great nation, his younger brother would be the ancestor of an even greater nation. (Genesis 48:19).
In the chronicles of the tribes, Ephraim takes precedence over Manasseh in all matters, such as the order of marching, the consecration gifts for the Tabernacle, and the order of the allocation of territory. When the Kingdom of Israel divided about 2900 years ago, the northern portion was often referred to by the name of Ephraim. In Revelation 7:1-8, Ephraim is not listed as one of the tribes receiving the Seal of God for 12,000 of its members. The name Ephraim means "fruitful."
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