Sonship, part 14: the ancient nation of Israel split
The healing of the breach in the privileges of the firstborn’s blessing is what Ezekiel’s vision of the two sticks is picturing also. We won’t get into that at the moment because we will understand it better after we look at number two.
Number one was how the split of the birthright pictures the fact that there are two works of Christ. Number two is that it foreshadows the split of the nation of Israel after Solomon. This is obvious because the nation split exactly along the lines of Judah and Joseph.
It didn’t split between Reuben and Issachar, or Zebulon and Naphtali; no, the split was between none other than the two leading tribes which were Judah on the one hand, and Joseph on the other, in the form of his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
This breach or separation or split occurred circa 930 B. C. shortly after the death of King Solomon. The new king, Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, followed some bad counsel and immediately raised taxes on all the people. This resulted in a tax revolt with ten of the twelve tribes “seceding from the union,” as it were.
These ten tribes became known as the Kingdom of Israel, or the House of Israel. They were under the leadership of the tribe of Ephraim, the son of Joseph. Therefore, in the Bible we sometimes find the House of Israel is also called the House of Ephraim. So when you see that term, the House of Ephraim, it is almost always referring to the nation of ten-tribed Israel, not merely to the tribe of Ephraim.
The other half of the split was composed of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin which became known as the Kingdom of Judah or the House of Judah. The priestly tribe of Levi was sprinkled among all twelve tribes, and they received no land inheritance.
We should note a very critical concept at this point; namely, that after the split, the Kingdom or House of Judah was never legally entitled to call themselves Israel. This fact has major spiritual and geopolitical repercussions in our era! How so?
Because there is a group of people today who call themselves “Jews,” a term which most people believe means “descendants of Judah;” which most self-identified Jews probably are not, but that is beside the point for our discussion here. The point is that they claim to be of Judah.
In the 20th century, Jews forcibly ejected the Palestinian Arabs and created a nation which they and the world now calls “Israel.” But the Bible makes it clear that even if they are true descendants of Judah, they have no right to name that territory “Israel.”
Why not? It brings us back to the idea of firstborn again—and in this case to the concept of adoption. This is seen in that Jacob, who later had his name changed to Israel, adopted the two sons of Joseph as his firstborn. Let us now go to Genesis 47 and look at what happened in the context of the firstborn, adoption and the split of the privileges.
This passage is a critical key to accurately comprehending current events on the national and international scene, and Lord knows, there is not one pulpit in a 10,000 that will reveal this to American Christians.
Genesis 47:29 And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:
There is more to this putting the hand under the thigh than meets the eye with a cursory reading. Putting the hand under the thigh was a custom in those days. It was the ancient equivalent of a person who is asked to place his hand on the Holy Bible before giving testimony in a courtroom today.
Back then, at least in the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, when one was being charged with a task of utmost importance, he was asked to place his hand “under the thigh” of the person to whom he was making a solemn promise. See Genesis 24 regarding Abraham charging his Chief Operating Officer, Eliezer, making the same request of him.
In our series of studies on The Tabernacle in the Wilderness, in the lectures concerning the lamp stand in the Holy Place and then in our conclusion of the series in the Holy of Holies, you will remember that this was probably not Jacob’s thigh. Rather, the Hebrew word is yaw-rake’ and it refers to the seat of procreative power. Thus, it is a Hebrew euphemism. In any event, it was to solemnify a most important promise. Jacob charges his son, Joseph:
30 But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.
31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.
We will continue our examination of this critically important passage next time. (To be continued.)