One of the key themes of the Bible is God’s favor being shown on those who were regarded by the world as “unimportant”. Ephraim is another example of that wonderful habit of God.
Ephraim was born the younger son of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son. When the time came for Jacob to bless his grandsons, Joseph brought his sons before Jacob. He put Manasseh, the firstborn, on Jacob’s right hand, expecting him to receive the greater blessing. But, Jacob chose, instead, to give the greater blessing to Ephraim, the younger. He gave no reason why… he just did it. Maybe he blessed the younger because he, himself, was the younger (between him and Esau), and was blessed.
Eventually, Ephraim’s descendants would become one of Israel’s most prominent tribes… the Ephraimites. Jeroboam, who became the first king of the Northern Kingdom, Israel, was from the house of Ephraim (1Ki. 11:26). In fact, there are times the Northern Kingdom, Israel, is referred to as Ephraim!
In our culture, it is those who show themselves as especially deserving who seem to receive special blessing or honor from God or others. But, that is not God’s way. In God’s Kingdom, the first are last, and the last are first (Matt. 20:16). God chooses to bless us simply because of His good pleasure and grace, not because of anything we have done (Rom. 9:15,16; Eph. 2:8,9).
You can read Ephraim’s story in Genesis 41;48.