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Young son of the patriarch Joseph (Genesis 41), born in Egypt during the seven years of abundance. Ephraim's superiority over his brother Manasses is seen in the blessing he receives from his grandfather, Jacob (Genesis 48). Jacob adopts Manasses and Ephraim as his son, to make them into two tribes, but he gives the preference to the younger, by placing his right hand over Ephraim. The tribe of Ephraim became distinguished for its valor and prospered, but then became envious of the spiritual supremacy of Judah. The tribe of Ephraim provoked the rebellion and separation from the house of David. Jeroboam I (III??? Kings 11) became leader of the ten tribes of the north, and after the schism the story of the tribe of Ephraim is simply absorbed in the history of the northern tribes.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.