The parable of the yeast (Mt 13:33-13:33)

“He told them another parable.

‘The kingdom of heaven is

Like yeast

That a woman took.

She mixed in

Three measures of flour,

Until all of it was leavened.’”

 

Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ζύμῃ, ἣν λαβοῦσα γυνὴ ἐνέκρυψεν εἰς ἀλεύρου σάτα τρία, ἕως οὗ ἐζυμώθη ὅλον.

 

This parable about the yeast in bread can be found in in Luke, chapter 13:20, indicating a Q source.  Once again, the emphasis of this parable is growth from a small piece of flour to a large leavened loaf of bread because of the yeast.  Jesus, via Matthew, told them another short parable (Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς).  The kingdom of heaven is like yeast (Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ζύμῃ).  A woman mixed in three measures of flour (ἣν λαβοῦσα γυνὴ ἐνέκρυψεν εἰς ἀλεύρου σάτα τρία,) so that the bread was all leavened (ἕως οὗ ἐζυμώθη ὅλον).  The kingdom of heaven will be like this leavened bread, always expanding.

Hosea looks for an adulteress (Hos 3:1-3:1)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Go!

Love a woman

Who has a lover!

Love an adulteress!

Just as Yahweh loves

The people of Israel,

Though they turn

To other gods.

They love raisin cakes.’”

Yahweh went to Hosea again. He told him to go love a woman who has a lover already. He was to love an adulteress. This time, there is a clear explanation of why he was doing this. He was to follow the attitude of Yahweh. Yahweh has loved the people of Israel, even though they have turned to other gods. These Israelites seemed to love the pagan raisin cakes at the religious services for these idol gods.

Susanna (Dan 13:2-13:3)

“Joakim married

The daughter of Hilkiah,

Named Susanna,

A very beautiful woman,

Who feared the Lord.

Her parents were righteous.

They had trained

Their daughter

According to the law of Moses.”

This Joakim married a woman named Susanna. Thus, this story is more about the wife of Joakim, Susanna, than about him. Susanna, the lily, was very beautiful. But more important, she was one who feared the Lord. She was also the daughter of Hilkiah, whose name meant that the Lord was my portion. Both of Susanna’s parents were righteous people. They had trained her and brought her up according to the Law of Moses. In other words, she was a faithful Israelite from strong Israelite parents.

The righteous man (Ezek 18:5-18:9)

“If a man is righteous,

He does what is lawful.

He does what is right.

He does not eat

Upon the mountains,

He does not lift up his eyes

To the idols

Of the house of Israel.

He does not defile

His neighbor’s wife.

He does not approach a woman

During her menstrual cycle.

He does not oppress anyone.

But he restores

To the debtor

His pledge.

He commits no robbery.

He gives his bread

To the hungry.

He covers the naked

With a garment.

He does not take advantage.

He does not accrue interest.

He withholds his hand

From iniquity.

He executes true justice

Between contending parties.

He follows my statutes.

He is careful to observe

My ordinances.

He acts faithfully.

Such a one is righteous.

He will surely live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Ezekiel outlined how the righteous man acts. First, he does what is lawful and right. He does not eat upon the mountains, the places of idol worship. He does not lift up his eyes to these Israelite idols. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife. He also does not approach a woman during her menstrual cycle. He does not oppress anyone. However, he pays off his loans. He does not rob people. He gives his bread to the hungry people. He clothes the naked. He does not take advantage of anyone. He does not accrue interest. He stays away from iniquity. He executes true justice. He judges between contending parties. He follows the statutes and ordinances faithfully. This righteous one will surely live.

Yahweh was compassionate (Ezek 16:6-16:7)

“I passed by you.

I saw you

Flailing about

In your blood.

As you lay

In your blood,

I said to you.

‘Live!

Grow up

Like a plant

Of the field.’

You grew up.

You became tall.

You arrived

At full womanhood.

Your breasts

Were formed.

Your hair had grown.

Yet you were naked.

You were bare.”

Yahweh passed by this infant Jerusalem in the field, flailing about in its blood. However, Yahweh took compassion and told the bloody baby in the field that it should live and grow up. So this baby Jerusalem grew up like a tall plant in the field. In fact, this baby girl grew to become a woman with fully formed breasts and long hair. However, she was still naked and bare.

The sudden birth of a nation (Isa 66:7-66:9)

“‘Before she was in labor,

She gave birth.

Before her pain came upon her,

She delivered a son.

Who has heard of such a thing?

Who has seen such things?

Shall a land be born in one day?

Shall a nation be delivered in one moment?

Yet as soon as Zion was in labor

She delivered her children.

Shall I open the womb?

Shall I not deliver?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Shall I,

The one who delivers,

Shut the womb?’

Says your God.”

The birth or rebirth of Jerusalem will be miraculous. It will be like a woman who gives birth to a son before she has labor pains. Has anyone heard or seen such a thing? Can a country or nation come into existence in a moment? Yet Zion will deliver her children. Who would open her womb? Who would try to shut her womb? Yahweh, the great deliverer, will not shut the womb, but deliver Jerusalem and Israel in a new birth.

Yahweh will not forget Zion (Isa 49:14-49:16)

“But Zion said.

‘Yahweh has forsaken me.

My Lord has forgotten me.’

‘Can a woman forget her nursing child?

Can she show no compassion

For the child of her womb?

Even these may forget.

Yet I will not forget you.

See!

I have inscribed you

On the palms of my hands.

Your walls are continually before me.’”

Second Isaiah has Zion complain that Yahweh, the Lord, had forgotten and forsaken them. Yahweh, however, responded very forcefully. How could a woman forget her nursing child? How could anyone forget what came out of her womb? Even if these women would forget, Yahweh would never forget about the Israelites, since he had their names inscribed on the palms of his hands like a tattoo. This was an anthropomorphic attempt to show that Yahweh really cared for them, since their walls were always before him.