The problem of the Ephraimites (Ps 78:9-78:11)

“The Ephraimites,

Armed with the bow,

Turned back on the day of battle.

They did not keep God’s covenant.

They refused to walk according to his law.

They forgot what he had done.

They forgot the miracles

That he had shown them.”

In a strange twist, Asaph, this psalmist, blames the failure of the Israelites on the Ephraimites, the descendents of Joseph. Within the biblical literature there does not appear to be mention of this specific incident. He seems to say that they would not fight. Interesting enough, this hints at the breakup between Judah and Israel, where the northern Israelites slowly became the Samaritans. Ephraim, the son of Joseph was one of the northern tribes that were not part of Judah. They did not keep God’s covenant. They refused to walk according to his laws. They seem to have forgotten all the miracles that God had done for them and the other Israelites.

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