These three short verses tell the sad story of Ephraim’s sons. Their names are given then verse 21 concludes, “whom the men of Gath who were born in the land killed, because they came down to raid their livestock.” What a tragedy!  Verse 22 says that Ephraim mourned for many days and his brothers tried to comfort him. I can’t imagine such sorrow. He never got over the pain and passed it on to his next born son. Verse 23 tells us that his wife “bore a son. And he called his name Beriah, because disaster had befallen his house.”  The name, meaning “tragedy” perpetuated the mourning.

Allen writes in his commentary on these verses, “The new baby was made to bear the brunt of a perpetual bereavement by his hapless name. It was a means not of working it out of the father’s system but of perpetuating it. The lad’s presence ever reminded him of it. One sometimes encounters homes where metaphorically the drapes are kept closed for years and where children are made to wear a virtual ball and chain because of what happened years ago. There is something very human and yet very unhealthy about this vignette. I see in it a warning about human emotion which, changing from a natural force to a neurotic obsession, can suck others into its vortex and seek to drag down their lives in turn.”

It’s often said that “hurt people hurt people.” Regretfully it’s true. We need to find ways to get past our pains so that we won’t pass them on to others. The Psalmists often lamented the fact of their pains and sufferings with the inability to get beyond them. David writes in Psalm 38:17, “…?my ??sorrow is continually before me.” But he also wrote in 34:17 that the Lord hears … when we cry out to him, he saves us to the uttermost. He goes  on in verse 18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.”

May the Lord help us stop passing on our pains to others.

“I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom:  Preach the word of God.”  2 Timothy 4:1-2(NLT)