Stick of Joseph

Stick of Joseph

The term Stick of Joseph can be found in some Judaic and LDS traditions. The phrase is employed frequently in Two House Theology.

Judaic usage

In Judaism, the Stick of Joseph (or "Stick of Ephraim") is a figurative reference to the Northern Kingdom of Israel [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2037;&version=8; Ezekiel 37] , which was heavily populated by Joseph's descendants. When the tribe of Ephraim and the tribe of Manasseh (Joseph's two sons) are summed up, together they are by far the most numerous of the ten northern tribes [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%201;&version=8; Numbers 1] & [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%2026;&version=8; 26] .

The Stick of Judah is a reference to the Southern Kingdom of Judah [Compare [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2037;&version=8; Ezekiel 37] with [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%2011:21;&version=8; Joshua 11:21] ; [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=I%20Samuel%2011:8;&version=8; I Samuel 11:8] , [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=I%20Samuel%2017:52;&version=8; 17:52] , [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=I%20Samuel%2018:16;&version=8; 18:16] ; and [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=II%20Samuel%202:10;&version=8; II Samuel 2:10] , [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=II%20Samuel%203:10;&version=8; 3:10] , [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=II%20Samuel%205:5;&version=8; 5:5] , which was most heavily populated by Judah's descendants. The tribe of Benjamin and the tribe of Judah were the only land inheritors in the Southern Kingdom ( [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2049:5-7;&version=8; Genesis 49:5-7] ; [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%2018:7;&version=8; Joshua 18:7 ] , [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%2019:1;&version=8; 19:1] even though the tribe of Levi and the tribe of Simeon were present but scattered in their midst.

Historical context

After King Solomon died in approximately 931 BCE, the twelve tribes of Israel divided into two political entities. The two kingdoms fought several devastating wars against each other, making them both more vulnerable to their common enemies. By 740 BCE, Assyria began numerous invasions, deporting the Northern Kingdom of Israel for approximately 18 years. Sumaria, the capital of Israel, finally fell to Assyria in 722 BCE, taking an estimated 27,000 captive. Many thousands more were deported prior to the final defeat. And many likely fled to safety in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, while others fled to Phoenician and Israelite settlements via the Mediterranean Sea. Phoenician cities, allied to Israel since the days of King David, were being attacked by Assyria as well.

Stick or Tree?

In Hebrew, "Etz" is singular (i.e. stick or tree). "Etzeem" is plural (i.e. sticks or trees).

Hebrew to English definition of "Stick" or "Tree"
עץ (‛êts) - Ref. Strong's Concordance #: H6086
Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (BDB) definitions for H6086:
1) tree, wood, timber, stock, plank, stalk, stick, gallows
1a) tree, trees
1b) wood, pieces of wood, gallows, firewood, cedar-wood, woody flax

The nation of Israel was figuratively called an Olive Tree (etz) [Hosea 14:6, Jeremiah 11:16-17] . Ephraim (Joseph) was even called a wild olive branch (sometimes a Wild Ass) [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea%2014:6;&version=8; Hosea 8:9] , while Judah was considered the "natural" branch [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2011;&version=8; Romans 11] .

LDS usage

To members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Stick of Joseph is a reference to the "Book of Mormon", taken from a passage in the King James Version of the Bible, Ezekiel 37:16-19. In this passage, the term "stick", refers to a scroll (or book), and, in particular, the "stick of Joseph" is believed to refer to the "Book of Mormon", while the "stick of Judah" is believed to refer to the Bible.Fact|date=February 2007

The LDS Church views this passage as a prophecy of the coming forth of the "Book of Mormon", which tells of the prophet Lehi and his family, who, according to the text, are descendants of the biblical Joseph, son of Jacob. The "Book of Mormon" and the Bible, a record of the Jews (that is, the tribe of Judah), are viewed as scripture by adherents of Mormonism. The two books together are seen as fulfilling the prophecy, becoming "one stick".

See also

*History of Ancient Israel and Judah
*Assyrian Captivity
*Two House Theology

External links

* [http://www.jewsandjoes.com/ The Two Sticks of Israel]
* [http://unitedisrael.org/ United Israel World Union]
* [http://www.mim.net/ Messianic Israel Alliance]
* [http://britam.org/ Brit-Am]
* [http://israelite.info/ Israelite.info]
* [http://www.moshiach.com/features/tribes/overview.php Moshiach.com]


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