After Joseph died, new kings arose who did not know of all the good things that Joseph had done for Egypt. These new kings feared Israel’s children, and chose to put them to hard bondage.
After 430 years in Egypt, Yahweh sent a man named Moshe (Moses) to bring Israel’s children out. He brought them through the Red (Reed) Sea to the wilderness of Sinai. Fifty days after they left Egypt, they were given the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai. This constituted their betrothal. At that time, they were told that they would be brought into the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.
Moshe sent twelve men to spy out the land. However, only Caleb the son of Yephunneh (of the tribe of Judah) and Joshua the son of Nun (of the tribe of Ephraim) brought back a good report.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 14:6-7
6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Yephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;
7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land!”
It is symbolic that the two spies bringing back a good report were from the tribes of Judah and Ephraim. These two tribes represent the two houses (Judah in the south, and Ephraim in the north).
Upon Moses’ death, Joshua was appointed to lead the children of Israel in the conquest of the land of Canaan. Next came the period of judges (as recorded in the book of Judges). During this time the tribes lacked strong, central leadership, and therefore the nation languished. Each man did what seemed good in his own eyes (as opposed to doing what seems good in Yahweh’s eyes).
Shophetim (Judges) 17:6
6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
After the era of the judges came the era of kings. After King Shaul’s (Saul’s) reign ended, King David united the children of Israel, vanquished Israel’s enemies, and led them back to the marital covenant (the Torah). This established the standard for a messiah (anointed one), which is why David is thought of as a type of messiah (with a small m). One reason our Jewish brothers rejected Yeshua is that they could not see how He fits the same pattern.
As we explain in Revelation and the End Times, Yeshua is gathering the lost and the scattered of Israel by His Spirit for a coming battle at Armageddon (which the Ephraimites will win). After this victory they will be brought back into the covenant, and to the land of Israel. However, this gathering for the final battle is happening very slowly, over generations. Because it is taking place so slowly, our Jewish brothers could not see how He was the prophesied Messiah.
When King David died, his son Solomon reigned in his place. However, Solomon disobeyed the Torah in that he took foreign wives. Remembering that Scripture labels people by how they worship, the issue was not that his wives were foreign born. Rather, the issue was that his wives worshipped foreign gods. When Solomon wanted to please his wives, he made offerings to their false gods, and this made Yahweh angry (verse 9), and He promised to punish Solomon.
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 11:1-13
1 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites —
2 from the nations of whom Yahweh had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you: [for] surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to Yahweh his Elohim, as was the heart of his father David.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth [Easter] the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 Solomon did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and did not fully follow Yahweh, as did his father David.
7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.
8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 So Yahweh became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from Yahweh Elohim of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what Yahweh had commanded.
11 Therefore Yahweh said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.
12 Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; [but] I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
13 However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and [one more] for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
Yahweh had previously promised David that Solomon would reign after him, so rather than take the reign away from the house of Judah while Solomon lived, Yahweh decided to take the reign away from the house of Judah when Solomon’s son Rehoboam reigned. The reign would be given to Solomon’s servant Jeroboam, of the northern house of Ephraim/Israel. Yahweh sent a prophet named Ahiyah to tell Jeroboam that he would be given rulership of the ten northern tribes. This would leave only two tribes for Solomon’s son Rehoboam to rule over (Judah and Benjamin, or “the Jews”).
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 11:29-35
29 Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahiyah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment; and the two were alone in the field.
30 Then Ahiyah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces.
31 And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces [one piece for each of the ten tribes], for thus says Yahweh the Elohim of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to you;
32 but he [his son] shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and [one more] for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel,
33 because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth [Easter] the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the elohim [god] of the Moabites, and Milcom the elohim [god] of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways, to do what is right in My eyes, and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David.
34 However, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.
35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you — ten tribes.’”
Yahweh had Ahiyah tell Jeroboam that He loved David because he kept His commands—and that if Jeroboam would also keep His commandments, then the house of Israel would be given to him as “an enduring house.”
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 11:37-39
37 “So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel.
38 Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David; and will give Israel to you.
39 And I will afflict the descendants of David [the Jews] because of this, but not forever.”
Yahweh promised that He would make Ephraim/Israel into the new lead house if they kept His commands. However, if they did not keep His commands/Torah they would no longer be the lead house.
In 1 Kings 12, the house of Israel rebelled against King Rehoboam, and they made Jeroboam their new king. King Jeroboam knew that he should lead the people to keep the Torah, but he had a dilemma in that the Torah tells all males to go up to Jerusalem three times a year. However, Jerusalem was in Rehoboam’s territory. If the people went up to Jerusalem year upon year, eventually their loyalties would return to King Rehoboam, and they would kill him (Jeroboam).
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 12:26-27
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David [Judah].
27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their adon, Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me, and go back to Rehoboam, King of Judah.”
So Jeroboam came up with a plan which has several prophetic parallels to the torahless Christian church.
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 12:28-33
28 Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem [for the feasts]. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!”
29 And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.
30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.
31 He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.
32 Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made.
33 So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense.
Jeroboam pushed the fall festivals back (from the seventh month to the eighth month), set up false houses of worship, and set up visible objects of worship (idols) for the people. He also made priests of anyone (not just the sons of Levi). Even though his new religious system departed from the Torah, he told the people it was legitimate.
Jeroboam’s northern kingdom of Ephraim became the new lead house—but only for a time. The pattern established in the Garden of Eden is that when we obey His instructions, He blesses us and allows us to live in His land. Since they no longer obeyed the covenant, they were no longer allowed to dwell in the covenant land (because they were defiling it).
Point for point, this is the pattern the Christian church would later follow as they claimed to be the “New Israel.” The church pushed the fall festivals back even further (into winter). They moved the center of worship from Jerusalem to Rome and set up a false temple. They established idols (statuettes and graven images) within that temple and staffed it with priests of any lineage (not just the sons of Levi). In sum, they made false feast days, made false feast sites, established a false priesthood, and set up visible objects of worship (idols).
In coming chapters we will see that Yahweh sent many prophets to tell the Ephraimites that they needed to repent, or they would be scattered to the four corners of the earth. Because they did not repent, Yahweh scattered them, just as He promised. But from those far reaches of the earth, Yahweh’s Spirit will begin calling a remnant of His people back home.
Before we see how the remnant is to be gathered, let us see more about how the Ephraimites were to be scattered, for it will show us many mysteries that lie ahead.