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.