KJV ".....he also shall become a people, and he also shall
be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he,
and his seed shall become a multitude of nations."
NKJV ".....He also shall become a people, and he also shall
be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he,
and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations."
Fenton ".....He also shall be a nation, - he also shall be
great, - but nevertheless his younger brother shall be greater
than he, and his race shall be multitude of nations."
Amplified Bible ".....he also shall become a people, and
shall be great; but his younger brother shall be greater than he,
and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations."
Lamsa, from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts ".....he also shall
become a people, and he also shall be great: but his younger
brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall
become a multitude of peoples."
New Living Translation ".....Manasseh too, will become a
great people, but his younger brother will become even greater.
His descendants will become a multitude of nations."
Septuagint(Greek OT) ".....he also shall be a people, and
he shall be exalted, but his younger brother shall be greater
than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations."
Tanakh(Jewish translation) ".....He too shall become a
people, and he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother shall
be greater than he, and his offspring shall be plentiful enough
Hebrew/English Interlinear by Green, Sr. ".....he also shall
be a people, and he shall be great, but his younger brother shall
be greater than he, and his seed shall be the fullness of the
The literal Hebrew reads: ".....he also(Strong's #1571) shall
be(#1961) people(#5971), and he(not numbered) great(#1419)
but(#199) his brother(#251) younger(#6996) greater(#1419) than
he(not numbered), his seed(#2233) shall be(#1961) fullness(#4392)
The one word that is used in both Gen.35:11 and here is the word
"nations" - number 1471 in Strong's Concordance. It is the Hebrew
"goyim" and is the plural of "goy." It means simply more than
one nation of people. We studied it last time from the
Theological Wordbook of the OT, pages 153,154, Vol.1.
For this study we need to look at the words "people"(#5971 in
Strong's) and "fullness"(#4392 in Strong's).
We need to note the CONTEXT of our study. Jacob was about to die.
Joseph comes to visit him and brings his two sons Manesseh and
Ephraim with him. Jacob sees that this is of God. He makes them
his own just as much as Reuben and Simeon, who were the first
sons born to Jacob. He will bless them and put his name on
them(his name was also Israel), and part of that blessing was
that they would GROW TOGETHER INTO A MULTITUDE in the midst of
the earth BEFORE THEY WOULD BECOME A PEOPLE AND FULLNESS OF
NATIONS respectively(verses 5- 19).
FROM THE THEOLOGICAL WORDBOOK OF THE OT
People (#5971 Strong's) - Hebrew = 'AM - page 676, Vol.2.
" 'am. People, nation.......The term seems to be derived
from the Semetic root 'amam......meaning 'to comprehend or
include.' Although there is some overlapping in meaning with its
two main synonyms ' goy ' and ' l 'om ' .....the UNIQUE EMPHASIS
of ' 'am ' lies in its reference to a group of 'people as viewed
by one of themselves.' or to ' people in general.'
The noun 'am appears in some important phrases: 'ammi, lo -
'ammi and 'am ha ares ('my people,' 'not my people'
Hos.2:23[H 25], and 'the people of the land').
The term 'am is often used in a general sense in the OT to
refer to a GROUP OF PEOPLE, LARGER THAN A TRIBE OR CLAN, BUT LESS
NUMEROUS THAN A RACE (l 'om).
When the reference is to a large group, without any
reference to any specific characteristic or relationship,
translators have, in instances, correctly rendered 'am as
'folk' or 'men.' In the Aramaic portions of Ezra and Daniel the
term is used with the general sense in all but two instances
However, 'am is PREDOMINATELY USED to express TWO basic
characteristics of men considered as a GROUPING: 1) RELATIONSHIPS
sustained within or to the GROUP and 2) the UNITY of the
Some examples are: religious fellowship (Gen.17:14), the
uncircumcised it to be cut off from his people), maternal
(Gen.17:16, Sarah a mother of kings of people), ancestral
(Gen.25:8, Abraham died and was gathered to his kindred, also
25:17; Gen.49:33), king-subject relationship (Gen.26:11; Ex.1:9,
etc.), family ties (Gen.36:6, family included wives, children,
slaves, servants), judicial (Gen.49:16; Dan is to judge his
people), deliverer and ruler (Ex.5:16, etc., refer to the
relationship of Moses and the delivered Israelites), social
(Num.5:27, an adulteress was a curse to her people), a military
leader to his troops (Josh.3:3, etc.), adoption (Ruth 1:16), and
prophetic (prophets from elijah to Malachi address their people).
Intimately related to the concept of relatedness among
people, is the concept of UNITY. Religious, maternal, ancestral
ties UNITED people. Explicit expression is given to the concept
of UNITY. It could be achieved by INTERMARRIAGE (Gen.34:16).
It was achieved by God gathering men (Ezek.38:12). The idea of
people as a FLOCK expresses UNITY also (Zech.9:16). There are
also a number of passages (cf.1 Sam.11:1) where the word means
The Theological Dictionary then goes on to explain a similar
word 'AMMI' WHICH IS USED EXTENSIVELY in the OT.
The phrase is used basically to express the relationship
between God and His people.
This phrase does not specifically have a direct bearing on
our present study although it may have a slight connotation to
it, as Manesseh was from Jacob or Israel, who was given a close
covenant relationship with the Eternal God of Abraham and Isaac.
This word 'AM is used then mainly to denote a LARGE GROUP of
people, larger than a TRIBE or CLAN, but not as large as a RACE
of people. It has also two very important characteristics. It
denotes and carries within it a meaning of CLOSE RELATIONSHIP
within or to the GROUP, and also the meaning of a basic UNITY OF
MANESSEH was to BECOME GREAT, a great people! There was to
be CLOSE RELATIONSHIP and basic UNITY within and to that great
group of people. Manesseh was to become larger than a CLAN or
TRIBE, but not as large as could be called a RACE of people.
I ask the reader to read, study, and meditate upon the
history of the Israelites and their 13 tribes as they settled the
land of Canaan, to the time they were carried away into
captivity by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. I ask the reader
to pay special attention in their reading to the tribe of
Manesseh during all those centuries.
I submit that from the time Israel entered the promised land
until the time they were deported via captivity by their enemies,
the tribe of Manesseh, NEVER BECAME GREAT, nor did they ever
amount to much more than a tribe or clan of people. While
Israel dwelt in the promised land, very little of any great
importance is mentioned about the tribe of Manesseh that would
stand it out as a unity of people that were GREAT. If the words
and prophecy of Jacob are not to be looked upon as "wishful
thinking" or as empty words of air, but as something from God,
that he was passing on to a literal grandson, who would indeed
become so great as a people that it would stand out in the
historical records of man's history books, then this prophecy,
from what we have of Israel's history as preserved in the OT,
must COME TO PASS SOMETIME AFTER the period we know as the Old
Testament. If God is true to His word, this blessing, promise,
and prophecy concerning Manesseh, must have come to pass during
the Christian age that we are now living in.
Fullness(#4392 Strong's) - Hebrew - MALE' page 505, Vol.1.
" (male) be full, to fill, fullness, that which fills.
Examination of 249 occurrences of this verb (in the Qal and
Niphal) reveals that it can have either the SPATIAL signification
or by extension the important THEOLOGICAL concept of TEMPORAL
The SPATIAL signification is found in Ex.10:6, the locusts
filling the houses, Joel 3:13 [H 4:13], the wine press full of
juice, and 2 Kings 4:6, the widow pouring oil into empty vessels
until they were full.
The TEMPORAL signification is seen in the completion of a
fixed time, e.g. the days of Rebekah's pregnancy, which were
fulfilled when she gave birth (Gen.25:25)........
EVEN MORE SIGNIFICANT is the use of this term to represent
the omnipresence of God: ' Do not I fill heaven and earth? says
the Lord' (Jer.23:24)......but He is ALSO LOCALLY visible by His
glory(kabod) in the cloud which fills the tabernacle
(Ex.40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Isa.6:1; Ezk.10:3; 43:5; 44:4).
THE TERM IS ALSO USED of God's ability to FINISH A WORK
BEGUN or accomplish a word of PROMISED. The 'Piel' form of ml'
seems to emphasize the FULFILMENT OF UTTERANCES.
Men fulfil their words when they practice idolatry as they
said they would (Jer.44:25). When Solomon expelled Abiathar from
his priesthood, Eli's words were fulfilled (1 Kings 2:27) just as
Jeremiah's words were fulfilled by the seventy-year exile
Von Rad lists other theological terms that show how the
Lord's prophetic word functioned in history........Theology of
the OT, 11, p.94).........
Consequently, the EMPHASIS is not to be placed SOLELY on the
PREDICTED word, but ALSO on the FAITHFUL God who will achieve,
perfect, and DO what was SAID...........
In FIGURATIVE expressions, the earth is often portrayed as
full of violence (Gen.6:13; Mic.6:12; Jer.23:10; 51:5; Ezek.7:22)
and sometimes as full of the glory, mercy, goodness, and
knowledge of the Lord (Ps.33:5; 119:64; Isa.11:9;
So what can we see about Ephraim from this verses of
scripture? First, he was to become NATIONS, "goyim" - plural.
See the last study for full details on that Hebrew word. He was
not to remain just A PEOPLE, tribe, clan, but he was to form
NATIONS, groups of people that would have their own ETHNIC and
POLITICAL independence from each other yet be of the same STOCK,
the same FAMILY, from the same individual PARENT SON - Ephraim
of Joseph , who was from Jacob or Israel.
The GREATNESS of this NATIONS Ephraim was in the long and
overall sense to be GREATER than the greatness of Manesseh, who
was to become a GREAT single PEOPLE.
Ephraim was also to be FULL. He was to be FULLNESS. We have
seen above HOW this word is used in the Bible. Here it MAY be
used in a FIGURATIVE sense. Ephraim will be figuratively FULL,
ABUNDANT, PROSPEROUS, as NATIONS of the same people and ancestry.
FILLED FULL WITH PLENTY AS WAS FORETOLD JOSEPH WOULD INHERIT THE
RICHES OF THE EARTH, HEAVEN, AND SEA(Gen.49:22-26).
It MAY be used also here to denote a FILLING of the earth,
spreading abroad, filling out the corners of the earth in the
"spatial" signification, as was also foretold Joseph would do as
he became like a VINE, FRUITFUL BOUGH, by a well, whose "branches
run over the wall" (Gen.49:22).
And it MAY also be used here in the "piel" form, the
FULFILMENT of the utterances of God, through man. God's ability
to FINISH a work BEGUN, or ACCOMPLISH a word PROMISED.
Ephraim was to be FULFILLED, A FULFILMENT, A FULLNESS of the
PROMISE that he would become a COMPANY, AN ASSEMBLY, A
CONGREGATION, OF NATIONS!
No doubt, when all is considered, every one of the above is
meant and contained in the utterance that Ephraim and his seed in
the flesh would be "the FULLNESS OF NATIONS."
Once more, looking at the history of Israel during the OT
times, looking at what is written about, or should I say NOT
written about, the tribe of Ephraim during that period.
Looking at the GREATNESS they NEVER HAD among Israel and the
other nations around about. Looking at the fact that THEY never
were MORE THAN ONE TRIBE OR CLAN of people from the time they
entered the land of promise to the time they departed
via the Assyrian captivity. Seeing (unless the eyes are heavy,
covered with cataracts, or just blinded with double or multiple
vision), that Ephraim NEVER became NATIONS during the OT period,
the only logical deduction left is that, believing God COULD and
WOULD fulfil His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and
then to Ephraim, those promises of super GREATNESS in the earth
must have been fulfilled in the Christian age that we today are
THESE TWO BROTHERS WERE TO GROW TOGETHER FIRST OF ALL INTO
A MULTITUDE IN THE EARTH, THEN AFTER THAT THE ELDEST WAS TO
BECOME A GREAT SINGLE NATION, WHILE HIS BROTHER WAS TO BE THE
FULLNESS OF THE PROMISED COMPANY OF NATIONS.
WHAT A GOD WE HAVE AS OUR FATHER. HE WAS ABLE TO GIVE
PROMISES TO ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB, PASS THEM ON TO JOSEPH,
AND EVEN TO TWO OF HIS SONS, AND THOUSANDS OF YEARS LATER BRING
THOSE PROMISES TO FULFILMENT. TODAY YOU LIVE IN THE TIME WHEN
RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES THE SEED OF EPHRAIM AND MANESSEH, HAVE
BECOME THE GREAT NATION AND COMPANY OF NATIONS THAT WAS GIVEN TO
THEM FROM GOD THROUGH THE HANDS AND WORDS OF JACOB.
WHAT A WONDERFUL PROOF THAT THERE IS A GOD WHO LIVES AND
THAT HIS WORD IS MORE SURE THAN THE RISING OF THE SUN, THAT HIS
PROPHECIES WE DO WELL TO HEED AS UNTO A LIGHT THAT SHINES IN A
SO IT IS WRITTEN, SO IT HAS COME TO PASS, AND SO WILL THE
REST OF GOD'S MIGHTY PROPHECIES.
LET US CONTINUE TO PRAY, "THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN" FOR ONE DAY IT SURELY WILL BE
Written May 1997