We are now going to fast forward to the day of Yosef/Joseph. We know the history of how he came to be in Mitzrayim/Egypt at the hands of his brothers. He was sold to a traveling band of Ishmaelites, went through two stints in prison, and was finally released and appointed to be the second most powerful man besides the Pharaoh himself. Now Yosef/Joseph had married the daughter of a Mitzri/Egyptian Priest and he had two sons…M’nashe and Ephraim. *[It is important to note here, that these two boys were not full blooded Hebrews. They were half Hebrew and half Goy/Gentile/the nations. This fact will become very important as we go on]
Yosef’s Two Sons Adopted By His Father Ya’akob/Jacob
In Chapter 48 of B’resheet/Genesis there is something very important that happens regarding Yosef/Joseph and his two sons. When the boys appear to Ya’akob/Jacob, he actually adopts them into the family.
“And now thy two banim/sons, Ephraim and Menasheh, which were born unto thee in Eretz Mitzrayim/Land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Mitzrayim/Egypt are mine; like Reuven and Shimon are mine” (B’resheet/Genesis 48:5 OJB- definitions mine)
This moves Yosef/Joseph aside in a sense, and yet provides him with a double portion of inheritance through his sons. (see vs. 22) Then Ya’akob/Jacob does something important. In verse 16 he says that the two boys are to be called by his name, Yisrael.
“The Malach/Angel which redeemed me from kol rah/all evil, may he make a berakhah/blessing on the ne'arim/boys, and let my shem/name be named on them, and the shem/name of my Avot/fathers Avraham and Yitzchak/Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of ha'aretz/the land.” (B’resheet/Genesis 48:16 OJB- definitions mine)
At the end of the above verse Ya’akob/Jacob continues to pray for the boys. He asks that they may “grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” That phrase in Hebrew can be read literally as a teeming multitude of fish. Now with that in mind, how interesting is it that one of the things our blessed Master Yeshua said to his talmidim/disciples was, that He would make them fishers of men? (see Matt. 4:19; Mk. 1:17) What do you think was going through Master Yeshua’s mind when He spoke those words? What do you think His intent was for those who were with Him there that day, and for us?
The Exchange Of The Firstborn Blessing
Now something very interesting is also happening here. Yosef/Joseph had moved his sons into place before his father in order for him to bless them. He did so according to the traditional order. The older to the right, younger to the left. M’nashe was positioned to the right because he was oldest. Ephraim to the left as the younger. Yet when Ya’akob/Jacob went to bless them he purposefully crossed his hands so that the right was on the head of Ephraim and the left was on the head of M’nashe. Yosef/Joseph supposing that his father, being elderly, weak and of bad eyesight was about to make a mistake. He tried to stop his father. But Ya’akob/Jacob made it clear that what he was about to do was no mistake. It was after the divine order of YHWH.17 And when Yosef/Joseph saw that aviv/father laid his yamin/right hand upon the rosh/head of Ephraim, it displeased him; and he took hold of yad aviv/his father’s hand, to remove it from rosh/the head of Ephraim unto rosh/head of Menasheh.
18 And Yosef/Joseph said unto aviv/his father, Not so, Avi/my father; for this is the bachor/firstborn; put thy yamin/right hand upon his rosh/head.
19 And aviv/his father refused, and said, I know it, beni (my son), I know it; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly achiv hakaton/his little brother shall be greater than he, and his zera/seed shall become a multitude of Goyim/Nations. (B’resheet/Genesis 48:17-19 OJB- definitions mine)
Ya’akob/Jacob speaking by the Ruach goes on to say, that while M’nashe will become a great people, Ephraim, his younger brother, would become even greater. The phrase in Hebrew a multitude of nations is melo hagoyim. Another meaning is the fullness of the Gentiles or Nations as many Bible translations have it. What is being told here is, the physical blessing of multiplicity given to Abraham and passed down to Yitz’chak/Isaac and Ya’akob/Jacob, is destined to find its way through the physical seed/zera of Ephraim.
Now just in case the phrase fullness of the Gentiles or Nations sounds familiar it is because Rav Sha’ul uses it in his letter to the Roman assembly.
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles/Nations be come in. (Romans 11:25 NASB- definitions mine)
He uses it to show how YHWH will eventually come to save ALL of Yisrael. [not ALL as in every person individually, but ALL as in the WHOLE nation of Yisrael…both its houses]. The key sign that the partial blindness of Yisrael/both houses [the house of Yosef-Ephraim-Yisrael- the non-Jewish house and their partial blindness to Torah; and the house of Yehudah/Judah and their partial blindness to Master Yeshua as Mashiach] is about to be lifted is found in that phrase the fullness of the Gentiles or Nations. It is when the nations of the earth have become FULL of their portion of the scattered/dispersed Yisraelite seed that YHWH has placed among them (see Devarim/Deuteronomy 28:64; 32:8), that He will begin to restore His broken/divided House. This will result in the Kingdom being returned to the WHOLE nation of Yisrael, which is what Master Yeshua’s talmidim/disciples were asking Him just prior to His being taken up into heaven. (Ma’asim/Acts 1:6)
There is only one other place in the TaNaKh/Hebrew Scriptures where the word melo is used. It is found in Tehillim/Psalms 24:1.
“Ha'aretz/The Land is Hashem's/YHWH’s, and the fullness thereof; the tevel (world), and they that dwell therein.” (Tehillim/Psalms 24:1 OJB- definitions mine)
What we are being told is that the earth is destined to become full of that which belongs to YHWH. In the midst of this fullness the physical zera/seed of Ephraim will be found to be among all the nations of the earth. Just like YHWH promised to Abraham!
The Firstborn Sons Of Ya’akob: King And Priest
Now it is just here that we need to pay close attention. Why? Because the ground for the future split in the house of Yisrael has been made. Ephraim has become heir to a most powerful position within the family system of the mid-East. He has been made the ruling priest within Ya’akob’s/Jacob’s family. This was the place his father Yosef had prior to his portion being split among his two sons: M’nashe and Ephraim. As the firstborn priest, Ephraim has assumed the role of the Go’el/Kinsman Redeemer. If any of Ya’akob’s/Yisrael’s sons get into trouble, are sold into slavery, then it is the Goel/Kinsman Redeemer that is given both the provision and power to redeem them back. However, within this family dynamic, Ya’akob/Jacob has also set in place the provision for another son to be empowered with a kingly anointing. In chapter 49 of B’resheet/Genesis Ya’akob/Jacob gives this kingly role to his son Yehudah/Judah. In this chapter Ya’akob/Jacob calls all of his sons together to prophesy to them of their future in the latter days. (Achareit HaYamim) Concerning Yehudah/Judah we read,
“The shevet (sceptre) shall not depart from Yehudah/Judah, nor shall a Mekhokek (Lawgiver) from between his raglayim/feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall be the obedience of the amim (peoples, nations).” (B’resheet/Genesis 49:10 OJB- definitions mine)
Here we see the promise of royal kingship being given to Yehudah/Judah. [From whom we get both the tribe of Yehudah/Judah and the corporate house- The Jewish people] This is the meaning of the scepter being given to him. As the older, as well as the kingly son, he has authority/precedent within the family. Further, we are told that this royal ability to reign will not cease until the coming of the Messianic King referred to in this passage by the Name Shiloh/Peace. We also should take note of vs. 8 which tells us that all of Yehudah’s/Judah’s brothers are called to honor him in his kingly appointment and to bow down to him in respect. The important question to ask? Is this the first coming of Mashiach (Mashiach Ben Yosef) or His second (Mashiach Ben David)? I believe from the wording, the rule of Yehudah/Judah did not end at Yeshua HaMashiach's first coming. The name or title Shiloh means Peace. Master Yeshua did not bring shalom/peace at His first coming. (Mattityahu/Matthew 10:34) He will bring shalom/peace at His Second Coming. War will be cut off, and shalom/peace will come to the nations. This will be the result of M'lech Mashiach's/King Messiah's dominion during His reign as Mashiach Ben David in the Millennial Kingdom. (Zecharyah/Zechariah 9:10) So, Yehudah's/Judah's rule will be in place until that time. (Romans 3:2)
For the time being let us realize that what has happened is ripe ground for a power struggle. Ephraim has been given the priestly role as the Goel/Kinsman Redeemer. Yehudah/Judah has been given the kingly role. We have already seen this in part in the life of Yosef/Joseph and his brothers earlier. Ya’akob/Jacob had given Yosef/Joseph a coat of many colors, which in that day and time was a picture of the family priesthood. Now, we see that Ephraim has been given the power to assume that authority. Yehudah/Judah has the authority to rule within the family structure. Because he has the royal sceptre, he will also have the precedent when it comes to guarding the Torah of YHWH among Ya’akob’s/Yisrael’s children. *[Important: Read End Note for important added information on the divided role of Yosef/Joseph and his firstborn son Ephraim and Yehudah/Judah also a firstborn]
The House Of Yisrael Is Divided: This Is From Me
Now we will fast forward again to the time of Sh'lomo/Solomon. (see M’lechim Alef/ 1 Kings 11) Under Sh'lomo's/Solomon's father David, Yisrael knew and experienced the only time in the history of the nation of unprecedented unity. All twelve tribes were united under the kingship of David. However, in time, Sh'lomo/Solomon began to depart from the ways of YHWH and His Torah. He began marrying many wives, and also took wives from foreign nations. It wasn’t long before the allegiance of his heart became divided, and he himself began to commit the sinful practice of idolatry with his wives' foreign gods. YHWH after much time came to an end of His mercy. Judgment fell, and Sh'lomo/Solomon was told that for his sinfulness the kingdom would be rent from his hand. However, YHWH would still show him mercy in that it would not happen during his reign, because of his father David. Instead, the judgment would come during the time of his son, Rechav’am/Rehoboam.11 Wherefore Hashem/YHWH said unto Sh'lomo/Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not been shomer/guard over My Brit (Covenant, Sinai Covenant) and My chukkot/ordinances, which I have commanded thee, I will surely tear away the Mamlachah/Kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy eved (servant, that is, Yarov'am/Jereboam ben/son of Nevat, see v. 26).
12 Notwithstanding in thy yamim/days I will not do it lema'an (for the sake of) Dovid Avicha/your Father; but I will tear it out of the yad binecha (power of thy son).” (Melachim Alef/1 Kings 11:11-12 OJB- definitions mine)
This is a brief overview of what transpired leading up to splitting of the nation of Yisrael into two separate kingdoms. The Heikal/Temple had been finished for quite some time. Sh'lomo’s/Solomon’s son Rechav’am/Rehoboam had been raised up to rule in his father’s place. There was still the use of forced labor from among the northern tribes of Yisrael to help maintain the Heikal/Temple. The elders from among these northern tribes came to Rechav’am/Rehoboam and asked him to stop the forced labor. In turn, if he decided in favor of their inquiry they promised that all of the people of the northern tribes of Yisrael would serve him as king forever. Rechav’am/Rehoboam told these elders he would consider their request. He went to his father’s elders and asked their advice. They agreed that it was good to stop the forced labor. In turn, the people of the northern tribes would serve him as a united people. However, Rechav’am/Rehoboam went and also inquired of his own advisors. These were young men who ruled with him. This group advised against stopping the forced labor. In fact, they advised that he increase their burdens in order that they would serve him out of fear. Unfortunately, Rechav’am/Rehoboam chose the latter. That fateful decision would lead to an uprising among the northern tribes.
What Rechav’am/Rehoboam did not know is that the elders from the northern tribes had already gone down to Mitzrayim/Egypt and sought out a man named Yarov’am/Jeroboam. He had previously led a rebellion against Sh'lomo/Solomon and had been exiled there. They had agreed that if Rechav’am/Rehoboam refused their offer, then they would bring Yarov’am/Jeroboam up and make him king over the northern tribes of Yisrael. This part of the plan was immediately enacted once Rechav’am/Rehoboam rejected the offer of the elders from the northern tribes. Yarov’am/Jeroboam was brought up and made king. In turn, the northern tribes began to rebel against the southern tribes and sought to divide themselves from Yehudah/Judah.
When the word came of the rebellion, Rechav’am/Rehoboam began to gather up the men from Yehudah/Judah to go up and quash the rebellion. However, YHWH sent a navi/prophet by the name of Shemayah/Shemaiah to tell them not to go up and fight. In fact, we find a very peculiar word contained in this prophetic message from YHWH about the situation. We read,22 “But the Devar HaElohim/Word of Elohim/The Mighty One came unto Shemayah/Shemaiah the Ish HaElohim/man of God/The Mighty One, saying,
23 Speak unto Rechav`am/Rehoboam Ben Sh'lomo/Son of Soloman Melech Yehudah/King of Judah, and unto kol Bais Yehudah/all the house of Judah and Binyamin/Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,
24 Thus saith Hashem/YHWH, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the Bnei Yisroel/Sons of Yisrael; Shuvu (go back! return!) every ish/man to his bais/house; FOR THIS THING IS FROM ME. They paid heed therefore to the Devar Hashem/Word of YHWH, and turned around to depart, according to the Devar Hashem/Word of YHWH.“ (Melachim Alef/1 Kings 12:22-24 OJB- emphasis/definitions mine)
Look at verse 24. YHWH says the reason they are not to go up and fight with their brothers is: THIS THING IS FROM ME! What does that mean? As we brought out earlier, Ephraim was going to be the vehicle by which the physical blessing of multiplicity of Abraham’s zera/physical seed was going to come. Beloved, you can count the number of Yehudi/Jewish people today. There are some 15-16 million. The blessing of multiplicity and YHWH's promise that all the nations would be blessed through Avinu/our Father Abraham does not rest with Yehudah/Judah. It rests with the house of Yosef-Ephraim-Yisrael! It is Ephraim whose physical seed is destined to be innumerable. This is the secret to the equation of all the nations of the earth being blessed through Abraham. What we are looking at here is the historical record of the beginning of this promise!
The Immediate Results Of The Division
The split between the Two Houses/kingdoms of Yisrael began in 921 B.C. The Northern kingdom of Yisrael was made up of 10 tribes led by Yarov’am/Jeroboam. Under his reign he intensified the enmity between both houses. He instituted a new priesthood, established two places of worship and forbid the northern tribes from going down to Jerusalem to worship and keep the feasts of YHWH. All manner of mixture in worship and idolatry was practiced by the Northern kingdom.
The Southern kingdom was made up of two tribes…Yehudah/Judah and Benyamin/Benjamin. It is from Yehudah/Judah that we get the name Jews and Jewish. So what we are seeing here is the ground upon which our former statement is made. As a result of this division in the House of Yisrael: You maybe an Yisraelite and be Jewish; BUT you may also be an Yisraelite and NOT be Jewish!
Historically, the Northern house continued its penchant for idolatry and paganism. Finally, YHWH began to bring judgment upon the Northern house. In 738 B.C.E the king of Assyria, Tilgat Pilsger III, began a three pronged invasion into the Northern territory of Yisrael. By 734 B.C.E. most of the Northern kingdom had been taken captive back into Assyria. In 722 B.C.E. all of the rulers of the Northern kingdom were taken captive. While a number of the people from the northern tribes had gone down into the Southern kingdom to escape, most of the Northern kingdom were now captives of their Assyrian conquerors.
One of the ways that Assyria broke the spirits of the nations they captured was by assimilation. Assyria itself was a conglomerate of captured nations and peoples. So, when new peoples were captured, they would be scattered out among these foreign peoples. These captives would be forbidden to maintain their identity in culture, worship, and even language. In time they became swallowed up among these various people groups and in turn over a few generations would forget who they were. Thus you have the moniker concerning the Northern house as The Ten Lost Tribes. Yet were they really ever lost to YHWH? Absolutely not! The term lost refers only to the tribes in relation to themselves. YHWH knew where they were all along, and He had a plan for their regathering. This is what we will look at next.Joe Snipes
Gates To Zion Ministries
An important point in understanding the relationship between Yosef/Joseph and Yehudah/Judah as firstborn has to do with their mothers. There was Ya'akob's/Jacob's marriage relationship and the practice of patriarchal plural marriage. Yosef's/Joseph's mother was Rach'el/Rachel. Yehudah's/Judah's mother was Leah. The children born to both of these wives would hold precedence over the children born to their handmaiden which were given to Ya'akob/Jacob. The handmaiden were in essence considered as concubine. The children involved were considered as Ya'akob's/Jacob's children, but their mothers by virtue of their subordinate positions did not have the same sense of familial authority as Leah and Rach'el/Rachel as chosen wives. Therefore, only the children of the latter would be eligible to be considered as firstborn. Each of their children would fall into succession of the children of Leah and Rach'el/Rachel.
Now, because of the patriarchal plural marriage situation, each firstborn son of Ya'akob's/Jacob's two wives could be considered as inheritor's of the position of firstborn. The firstborn of the family was to hold two combined positions: king and priest. As family king, the firstborn would hold the scepter of authority within the family unit. He would also be priest. This meant he would operate as a Go'el, or Kinsman Redeemer, meaning he would act as a deliverer in case any of his family found themselves given over as an indentured slave, or in need of justice to be served in legal matters. The situation between Yehudah/Judah and Yosef/Joseph would become more complicated.
First, to recap. Ya'akob's/Jacob's firstborn son through Leah was Reuben. (B'resheet/Genesis 29:32) However, he lost his birthright position due to his sexual indiscretion with Bilhah, his father's concubine. (B'resheet/Genesis 35:22) The next two sons to whom the position of firstborn would come, Shimon/Simeon and Levi, they both lost their place due to their violent actions toward the men of Sh'chem. (B'resheet/Genesis 34:30) This would leave Ya'akob's/Jacob's fourth son, Yehudah/Judah, to fill that place. Though he initially failed to qualify due to unfaithfulness toward his daughter-in-law Tamar, (B'resheet/Genesis 38) he later re-qualified in standing up for Benyamin/Benjamin to protect him in Mitzrayim/Egypt. (B'resheet/Genesis 43: 8-9; 44:14-34)
However, earlier, Ya'akob/Jacob had given Yosef/Joseph, his firstborn son with his wife Rach'el/Rachel, the tunic which identified him as the priest, the Go'el, Kinsman Redeemer of the family. (B'resheet/Genesis 37:3) Then in chapter 49 of B'resheet/Genesis Ya'akob/Jacob splits the firstborn role by giving the scepter to Yehudah/Judah. (vs, 10) So now, there are two firstborn, one with the kingly anointing in the family, and the other with the priesthood anointing.
Later, when Yosef/Joseph brings his sons born, to him while in Egypt, M'nashe/Manasseh and Ephraim, to his father Ya'akob/Jacob for his blessing, his father adopts the two boys. It should be noted to remember, these two boys were not full blooded Hebrews. They were half Hebrew and half Mitzri/Egyptian. Also, by the adoption, Ya'akob/Jacob effectively set aside Yosef/Joseph providing him with a double-portion of inheritance through his sons. Further, Ya'akob/Jacob switched his hand before blessing the two boys, reversing the order, placing the firstborn blessing on the younger, Ephraim. All of this would become clear as to the why, and how it was all intended by YHWH as we saw above in the division of Yisrael into two distinct nations and kingdoms…This is from Me!