One of the twelve tribes of Israel which traced its ancestry to the younger son of Joseph and which occupied an area in the north of the kingdom and west of the Jordan, including the cities of Bethel and Shechem. By the 8th cent. it was regarded by Isaiah and Hosea as the whole of the northern kingdom. Isaiah advised the king of Judah not to fear Ephraim's alliance with Syria (Isa. 7: 1–17).