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).

10 thoughts on “Ephraim and Yeshua: Two darling sons

  1. Hi
    Funny – the Scriptures leave no doubt in the reader’s mind as to the identity of God’s firstborn. But the identity of the one pierced in Zechariah 12:10 is far from clear – why? furthermore – the cry is described as one of mourning which is very different from a cry of shame described in Micah 7:16
    I wrote on Zechriah 12:10 in an article entitled “Testiminy of Scripture” available on Jews for Judaism’s website – I would be interested in your take on my take
    Your Pharisee friend

    • Yisroel

      Here is how you translate Zechariah 12:10 (in your “Testimony of Scripture” on the Jews for Judaism site):

      “… and they will look to me concerning the one who was pierced וְהִבִּיטוּ אֵלַי, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-דָּקָרוּ, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall be in bitterness over him as one is in bitterness over a firstborn.”

      You comment (in your article):

      “The missionary interpretation of this section (Zech 12:10) of the verse has Jesus as the “one who was pierced” and the mourning described, is the Jewish embarrassment upon discovering that their rejection of him was unjustified. This interpretation fails for several reasons. Firstly, the mourning is described as the mourning for a lost child, and not as a cry of shame. (For a scriptural description of an admission of shame, see Micah 7:7-17.)”

      Regarding Micah, the “shame” in 7:16 refers to the shame of the “nations,” so I’m not sure why you mentioned Micah:

      “Nations will see and be ashamed
      Of all their might
      They will put their hand on their mouth,
      Their ears will be deaf.

      The issue is whether it is Israel who experiences any shame ( in Zecharia 12:10).

      Yisroel, in your translation, there is a reason for Israel to experience bitterness (as the text makes explicit), but there is no reason for Israel to feel shame, because in your translation, Israel did not do anything to warrant shame. In my translation, in contrast, Israel did indeed do something to warrant shame – bitter shame.

      To me the Hebrew clearly says “and they will look on me WHOM (THE ONE – et asher אֵת אֲשֶׁר) they have pieced. That is the plain (first) sense of the Hebrew grammar. Also, that is how it is understood in the NT by John the Apostle: “They shall look on him whom they pierced” (John 19:37).

      You may query whether (what is recorded in) John is right. I don’t query John, because I believe the NT is trustworthy. Having said that, I also rely on the plain sense of the Hebrew. But then you will argue that it is not the plain sense. We’ve reached an impasse. But allow me through, and I’ll continue with my argument from a Christian point of view.

      Although, the word “shame” is absent, I infer that the “bitterness” (which exists in the text) is “bitter shame.”

      Here is my (the non-Jewish) translation of Zecharia 12:10:

      “… and they will look to me (NOT concerning) the one who was pierced
      וְהִבִּיטוּ אֵלַי, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-דָּקָרוּ, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall be in bitterness marar מָרַר over him as one is in bitterness over a firstborn.”

      Marar can also mean “bitter distress” or “vexed” as in the Second Book of Kings

      And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me” (2 Kings 4:27 ESV).

      “Vexed” and “grieved (possible meanings of marar) may lead to/involve “shame.” This would be an appropriate inference if one accepts the plain grammar of the Hebrew, which also is understood in John 19:37 “They shall look on him whom they pierced” (to whose abridgement I continue, trying to keep faithful to John’s meaning) and mourn for him as one mourns (grieves) in bitterness of soul (shame) for an only son.

      I’ve read the Jewish argument of “et asher” at http://www.messiahtruth.com/zec1210.html. I also read the counter argument at http://www.messiahtruth.com/zec1210.html.

      I opt (surprise!) for the latter (much more cogent), which supports my translation of “et asher.”

      Now don’t tell me I don’t know Hebrew, ’cause I did once confuse a MEM with a mem. But that had to do with memory loss not with competence. Hmmm.

      I shall be expanding this response and posting it on my “bog.” And I won’t be attacking you; I’m too attached to you for that.

      • A little more background on the subject verse for you:

        [audio src="http://outreachjudaism.org/mp3/Zechariah%2012_10%20new.mp3" /]

    • Hi ANON

      Nice to hear from you again. You are absolutely right. Are there any spades you know that call themselves rakes?

      • I hope you realize what a totally different page you’re on from the rest of the “messyantic” gang you surround yourself with. That basic and obvious truth equating worship of Jesus with Christianity is lost on them. They insist that worshiping Jesus is the essence of Judaism.

        You and I both know that’s a lie, and, that it relegates them to the fever swamps of Christendom’s ideological fringe. The crowd you’ve been a part of, at least online, is at odds not only with mainstream Jews, but is also the redheaded stepchild of the Christian community, ostracized for its shamefully but brazen dishonest practices and chilling effect on Jewish/Christian relations. It is also at odds with speakers of the English language, which by convention defines Christian just as you and I do–but your friends overlay the definition of Christian onto the term Jewish!

        All of which makes me wonder about you–what are you doing associating with these people? You aren’t like them. Please explain.

    • Anon

      I am replying to your comment that ends with the question:

      “All of which makes me wonder about you–what are you doing associating with these people? You aren’t like them. Please explain.”

      (There is not reply button to that comment).

      ALL my associations on the internet – so far – are with people that are unlike me in some ways and like me in others. Take you for instance. We differ radically- yet I feel a very strong bond with you.

      • You feel a bond with me because we are connected, not through blood, necessarily, but through our spiritual DNA. And while we are definitely not on the same page in terms of our conscious willingness to accept the Jewish tradition from Sinai, we both have that acceptance deeply impressed on our souls in a way that non-Jews simply do not. That’s not a value judgement against them, and I can appreciate your feeling a bond with those who share in some aspects of your philosophical outlook. But it is a statement of fact that our Jewish heritage makes us spiritually unique, with a makeup and mission that in some ways differs from gentiles–it doesn’t make us superior, but it does make us different. I expect that a big part of your clinging to relationships with Jews and Jewish affectations even though your professed theological cohort is really of gentile pagan derivation has much to do with a visceral recognition of the deep underlying tie you inevitably have to the Jewish people because you are one of us, though your adopted creed likely forbids or prohibits you from acknowledging much less embracing this other than as a tool or prod to evangelize still other Jews (which is obviously a very negative expression of your Jewishness, as opposed to the much more gratifying and proper avenues I’d like you to consider).

        And I know you take this all as a huge dollop of criticism, and maybe to some degree that is a part of it, but it all comes within the context of our familial relationship, and out of love and concern both for you and for our brothers and sisters that you come into contact with. And, again, I’m not speaking of biological connections, because that physical matter has never been the point of creation!

  2. I do
    I know of worshipers of Jesus who call their belief system “Judasim” that’s like an arsonist calling his activities “firefighting” – (there is an article called “Firefighters for Arson” on the Isaiah53truth website – look it up). In short the central calling of a Jew is to testify that there is but One God who is the Creator of all (including Jesus) – devotion to Jesus is a direct contradiction to this holy calling – I suggest you read The Elephant and the Suit”
    Your Pharisee friend

    • I agree with you that Judaism and Christianity are at loggerheads:

      I read this on the site you recommended:


      The word; “Judaism” implies belief in and devotion towards the One God of Israel to the exclusion of any other entity. The word; “Judaism” denotes a belief that all the inhabitants of this earth are equally subservient to the One Creator. The word; “Messianic”, on the other hand, implies a belief in and devotion towards a man who lived, breathed and died on this earth and under this sky. The devotion to Jesus encouraged by Christianity is the very antithesis of Judaism. “Messianic” and “Judaism” are not merely incompatible with each other. These two terms are polar opposites.

      Iagree, but would add that Christians believe in “a man who lived, breathed and died on this earth and under this sky,” who also (they believe) claimed to be God.

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