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HafTorah Ezekiel 37:15-28
Brit Chadasha Ephesians 2:1-10
In this parsha, there is a very important part that leads us to the restoration of the whole house of Israel.
Genesis 45:3-8 ‘Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. 4 And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.’
Prior to this reunion of the brothers, Joseph has concealed himself in Egyptian garments. They had no idea that this ruler was indeed their brother, whom they had sold. But Joseph knew exactly who they were and his first question? “Does my father still live?” What a profound statement.
The first mention of the name Israel is in Genesis 35:10-12. Jacob’s name is now changed to Israel, which means; to prevail, to rule with El, to strive with El, to persist, to preserve.
Jacob had twelve sons, the twelve tribes of Israel through Leah, Rachel and their handmaidens. The firstborn was Rueben and according to the right of the firstborn, this title belonged to him. Yet, in 1 Chronicles 5:2 it states that the “birthright belonged to Joseph.”
In Genesis 48 Jacob blesses the children of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. The act of Jacob blessing Ephraim with his right hand was deliberate, putting Ephraim before Manasseh, Genesis 48:14. “Ephraim shall be mine as Rueben,” Genesis 48:5. Meaning, that Ephraim is now the first-born.
In Ezekiel 37:19, it is confirmed that Ephraim is the heir, the first born. ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”
As the twelve tribes became scattered they divided into two kingdoms, Ephraim and Judah. The northern kingdom of Ephraim was primarily called Israel and the southern kingdom was called Judah. The northern kingdom consisted of ten tribes (1 Kings 1:35) however, they joined into pagan customs, assimilating into the nations. When Ephraim was taken captive they were as a separate kingdom from Judah having their own king, (2 Kings 17:1-3). They were absorbed becoming as the nations. They assimilated and were the Gentiles, the goyim. They became unrecognizable.
In Genesis 49 Jacob blesses his twelve sons. To Joseph he gave the double portion and to Judah he gave supremacy and distinction. This began a strife that started in the desert and continues to this day, each ‘brother’ refusing to recognize the other as equal heirs to the promise.
Are we hidden because of our pagan practices? Do our brothers not recognize us and do we despise our brothers? In Jeremiah the prophet speaks of Ephraim;
“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself:
‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised,
Like an untrained bull;
Restore me, and I will return,
For You are the Lord my God.
19 Surely, after my turning, I repented;
And after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh;
I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated,
Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
20 Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he a pleasant child?
For though I spoke against him,
I earnestly remember him still;
Therefore My heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord.’
The two will be reunited as one with in The Everlasting Covenant;
“In those days and in that time,” says the Lord,
“The children of Israel shall come,
They and the children of Judah together;
With continual weeping they shall come,
And seek the Lord their God.
5 They shall ask the way to Zion,
With their faces toward it, saying,
‘Come and let us join ourselves to the Lord
In a perpetual covenant
That will not be forgotten.’
6 “My people have been lost sheep.
Their shepherds have led them astray…’
The mystery unfolds in Matthew 15:21-25;
‘ Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”