Ephraim and Yeshua: Two darling sons

My title is “Ephraim and Yeshua: two darling sons.” I could have written “Ephraim and Jesus…,” which would have made no substantive difference to me. Many Messianic Jews, in contrast, don’t like the Greek name “Jesus (Christ)” because they want to distance themselves from “Christianity,” which they perceive as  a corruption of the “pure” teachings of Yeshua. I don’t agree with this separatist purist view at all, for the following reasons (Ephesians 2):

11Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands.  12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

Now let me get into what is mainly on my mind.

Language play can reveal surprising connections between realities. For example, the URL for “onedaringjew” is – unsurprisingly – onedaringjew. But what about “onedarlingJew?” What if I told you that the “one darling Jew” refers to the most poignant moment in the most crucial event in history? Would you tell me UaReLoony? Give me a moment of your time before you make up your mind that I have lost mine, which, according to Buddhism, is not a bad thing, because enlightenment can only come once you’ve lost your mind. But, as a Christian, Christ commands me not  to lose my mind but to renew it (Romans 12:2), and to renew it not to reach “enlightenment” but rather to renew it while there is still light – and life. Where do I see the light? I see it in the Light,  Christ Jesus. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).  “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9).

In “The Lion dug the nail into my hand,” I examined  the controversy around the text of Psalm 22:16 (verse 17 in the He brew). In the Hebrew Masoretic text, the verse reads: “For dogs have encircled me, an evil congregation surrounded me; like a lion my hands and my feet.” In this discussion, I focus on verse 20, “Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.” (“Darling” – Middle English: dear + diminutive ling).

Here is verse 20 in context – Psalm 22:16-20 (King James Version):

“For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.” (The American Standard Version and the English Revised Version also have my darling).

What does the literal Hebrew say (Young’s translation):

“Deliver from the sword my soul, From the paw of a dog mine only one” (verse 20). The Hebrew word Yachid (only one) is translated “darling” in the KJV.

The verse is, of course, talking about a Jew, at the most poignant moment in the most crucial event of history: the crucifixion of the onedarlingJew: Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach.

Let us look at another “darling.” “Darling” appears only once in the English Standard version:

Jeremiah 31:20:

Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child [יֶלֶד שַׁעֲשֻׁעִים “yeled sha’ashuim”]? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD.

Sha’ashua – appears eight other other times in the Tanakh – five times in Psalm 119, for example, “Your testimonies are my delight (119:4a) – where it is translated in the ESV as “delight.” It’s not appropriate in any language to speak of “your darling testimonies,” but it is good in any language to speak of a child in whom you delight as your “darling child.” So, there are two “darling” children in the Bible; two darling “first-born sons.” The first is Ephraim (Israel). Ephraim is a typology of Jesus the Messiah, who was pierced for the transgressions of Ephraim as well as for the transgressions of all the “nations.”

The LORD Almighty says in Zechariah (8:23):

“In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'”

Does that mean that followers of Jesus are going to be hanging on to the skirts of Ephraim? Yes, it means exactly that; with this difference: this is no “purely” Jewish Ephraim; it’s a grieving first born son Ephraim saved by the first born Son he has pierced:

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives (Zecharia, 12; see also John 19:37).