Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Ephraim

Ephraim (אֶפְרָיִם) comes from the Hebrew “’Efrayim” meaning “fruitful”. Ephraim is a biblical name appearing in Genesis as the second son of Joseph with his Egyptian wife Asenath. Genesis 41:52 says: “The name of the second (son) [Joseph] called Ephraim, ‘For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.’” This land of affliction was, of course, Egypt where Joseph had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers (jealous because their father Jacob favored Joseph the most). In Egypt Joseph was at first a slave and then a prisoner but soon afterwards was called upon by Pharaoh to interpret a couple dreams. After giving Pharaoh some sound advice (i.e., stockpile the grain!) by foretelling the impending seven year famine, Joseph rose to great power and prominence in Egypt. Pharaoh also gave Joseph the daughter of an Egyptian priest for a wife, Asenath, and she bore Joseph two sons in Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh means “causing to forget” because God helped Joseph forget his hardship and Ephraim means “fruitful” because God made Joseph fruitful while in Egypt. Later in Genesis Joseph is reunited and reconciled with his brothers and Jacob is informed that his favorite son Joseph is alive. After Jacob comes to Egypt to see his beloved Joseph there’s a long passage in Genesis describing Jacob’s duel-blessing on his grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim. As first born, Manasseh should have been given the greater blessing with the right hand vs. the left hand but Jacob switched them because he preferred Ephraim (for whatever reason, we’re not told exactly). So the younger born got the greatest blessing – and later in Israel’s history we do indeed learn that Ephraim’s descendents proved him out to be the greater of the two tribes. For instance, Joshua is descended from the tribe of Ephraim. Joshua succeeded Moses as leader of the Israelites whom he finally returned to the Promised Land. Ephraim has always been considered a Jewish name, but the Puritans adopted it during the Reformation (as they did with so many other Hebrew names) and brought it to the New World in the 17th century.

All About the Baby Name – Ephraim

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME EPHRAIM

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME EPHRAIM

Ephraim has not appeared on the American male naming charts since 1914. That's a long time to be out of circulation. Clearly most folks are either unaware of or have forgotten about this old Biblical character. We know Ephraim was used at the time of colonization thanks to the Puritans but became old-fashioned even by 1914 standards. If the name is used at all today, it's most likely restricted to parents with Jewish heritage. After all, Ephraim was one of the twelve tribes of Israel in a roundabout way (Joseph's inheritance was split between Ephraim and his brother Manasseh after Joseph’s death).

Quick Facts

ON EPHRAIM

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Hebrew

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

972

PRONUNCIATION:

EE-frəm

SIMPLE MEANING:

Fruitful

Characteristics

OF EPHRAIM

Mystical

Wise

Eccentric

Intuitive

Imaginative

Philosophical

Solitary

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Ephraim

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME EPHRAIM

Popular Songs

ON EPHRAIM

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Ephraim


Famous People

NAMED EPHRAIM

We cannot find any famous people with the first name Ephraim.

Children of Famous People

NAMED EPHRAIM

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Ephraim

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME EPHRAIM

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Ephraim