The second son of Joseph or after being claimed by Jacob and elevated in status he was Jacob’s thirteenth son. Born and raised in Egypt from the daughter of an Egyptian priest we know very little about his life. He and Manasseh were probably in their early twenties when they received the blessing from Jacob; they were born before the famine started and Jacob lived in Egypt 17 years before he died. The only story about Ephraim outside of Genesis is in 1 Chronicles 7:20-24 where it recounts a raid gone bad in Gath where two of his children were killed. That changes my idea that the children of Jacob lived quite lives in Egypt tending flocks and growing crops.
Now being the “first-born” of the beloved son of the favored wife Ephraim received the double-portion blessing of Jacob. The blessing is in Genesis: 15 Then he (Jacob) blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day 16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm —may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly on the earth.”(NIV) This made them equal to the eleven and combined with Joseph’s blessing in Genesis 49 did truly set them above the others.
I want to mention two of Ephraim’s children Joshua and Jeroboam. Joshua, Moses’ military leader and a faithful spy really set a high standard for anyone to follow. He truly is the picture of a “double blessing” person and worked hard for all the tribes he lead into the Promise Land. Jeroboam was a man that had a truly great blessing put in front of him and ignored it. His story starts in 1 Kings 11:26; he had a prophetic call to rule Israel because of Solomon’s unfaithfulness. All he had to do was walk after the ways of David and he would have had an “enduring dynasty.” I feel that this opportunity was extended to him because he was an Ephraimite and had the right to the double blessing from Jacob. Instead he took the ten tribes given to him by the Lord and led them astray. He got a second chance in 1 Kings 13:6 but he could not trust God to fulfill the promise so his linage died out rather quickly. His son Nadab only ruled for a short time and was killed. (see my King’s Timeline)