The yeast (Lk 13:21-13:21)

“The kingdom of God

Is like yeast

That a woman took.

She mixed it in

With three measures

Of flour,

Until all of it

Was completely leavened.”

 

ὁμοία ἐστὶν ζύμῃ, ἣν λαβοῦσα γυνὴ ἔκρυψεν εἰς ἀλεύρου σάτα τρία, ἕως οὗ ἐζυμώθη ὅλον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the kingdom of God was like yeast (ὁμοία ἐστὶν ζύμῃ).  A woman took it (ἣν λαβοῦσα γυνὴ) and mixed or hid it (ἔκρυψεν) within 3 measures of flour (εἰς ἀλεύρου σάτα τρία), until all of it was completely leavened (ἕως οὗ ἐζυμώθη ὅλον).  This parable about the yeast in bread can also be found in Matthew, chapter 13:33, indicating a Q source.  Once again, the emphasis with this parable is growth from a small piece of flour to a large leavened loaf of bread, because of the yeast.  Jesus, via Matthew said that the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of God, was like yeast (Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ζύμῃ).  A woman mixed in 3 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 would be like this leavened bread, always expanding.  The 3 measures of flour would be over 50 pounds, quite a lot of flour.  Do you use yeast in baking?

Advertisements

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.

The keepers of the temple items return (1 Chr 9:28-9:32)

“Some of these priests had charge of the utensils of service. They were required to count them when they were brought in and taken out. Others of them were appointed over the furniture, and over all the holy utensils. Others were also over the choice flour, the wine, the oil, the incense, and the spices. Others, of the sons of the priests, prepared the mixing of the spices. Mattithiah, one of the Levites, the first-born of Shallum the Korahite, was in charge of making the flat cakes. Also some of their kindred of the Kohathites had charge of the rows of bread, to prepare it for each Sabbath.”

It is not clear where these instructions come from since they were not part of Leviticus. In fact, the temple was not even present yet. Nevertheless, someone was in charge of making sure what went out of the temple also came back. Some of these were in charge of the furniture. I am not sure why furniture would leave the temple. I understand someone in charge of the holy utensils, the various amounts of flour, wine, incense and spices. Obviously, someone had to mix the spices. Someone also had to make the bread. Apparently the Levite Mattithiah was in charge of making the flat cakes, which were mentioned in Leviticus, chapter 2. The Kohathites Levites were also in charge here.

The sin offering of an ordinary person (Lev 5:7-5:13)

“But if you cannot afford a sheep, you shall bring to Yahweh, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a brunt offering.   You shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering, wringing its head at the nape without severing it.  He shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar.  It is a sin offering.   Then he shall offer the second bird for a burnt offering according to the regulation.  Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed.  You shall be forgiven.”

The ordinary person could bring two turtledoves or two pigeons instead of a sheep.  You are guilty because you did something wrong, whether you knew it or not at the time of the action.  There are two offerings.  One of the birds is for a sin offering and the other is for a brunt offering.  The priest followed the same procedure as in chapter 2, by wringing off its head, and turning it into smoke on the altar.  The blood was to be drained out against the side and base of the altar.

 “But if you cannot afford two turtledoves or two young pigeons, you shall bring as your offering for the sin that you have committed, one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour for a sin offering.  You shall not put oil or frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering.  You shall bring it to the priest.  The priest shall scoop up a handful of it as a memorial portion.  He will turn this into smoke on the altar with the offerings by fire to Yahweh.  It is a sin offering.  Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for whichever of these sins you have committed.  You shall be forgiven.  Like the grain offering, the rest shall be for the priest.”

If you could not afford the birds, you had to bring 1/10th of an ephah of flour.  The ephah was an ancient Hebrew unit of dry measure, roughly equivalent to a bushel or 33 liters.  1/10th would be about 3 liters of flour.  You should not put oil or frankincense on it.  This is a sin offering so you bring it to the priest.  He will offer it on the altar with the burnt offerings.  He would scoop up a handful of it as a memorial portion.  Anything left over, like the grain offering, the priest would keep.

The grain offering (Lev 2:1-2:16)

 “When anyone brings a grain offering to Yahweh, the offering shall be of choice flour.  The worshiper shall pour oil on it.  He shall put frankincense on it.  He should bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests.   After taking from it a handful of the choice flour and oil, with all its frankincense, the priest shall turn this token portion into smoke on the altar, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to Yahweh.   What is left of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons.  It is a most holy part of the offerings by fire to Yahweh.”

While it is possible that the wandering Hebrews might have herds and flocks, it is more difficult to think that they were able to grow crops unless they stayed in one place for some time.  However, flour seems to be plentiful.  They make an offering of choice flour.  The worshiper puts oil and frankincense on it. Then they bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests.  Once again this is an offering by fire that has a pleasing odor for Yahweh.  Whatever is left over goes to Aaron and his sons.

“When you present a grain offering baked in the oven, it shall be of choice flour.  Unleavened cakes mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers spread with oil.   If your offering is grain prepared on a griddle, it shall be of choice flour mixed with oil, unleavened.  Break it in pieces and pour oil on it.  It is a grain offering.  If your offering is  grain prepared in a pan, it shall be made of choice flour in oil.   You shall bring to Yahweh the grain offering that is prepared in any of these ways.  When it is presented to the priest, he shall take it to the altar.  The priest shall remove from the grain offering its token portion and turn this into smoke on the altar, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to Yahweh.   What is left of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons.  It is a most holy part of the offerings by fire to Yahweh.”

This grain offering should be baked in an oven with choice flour.  Whether it is unleavened cakes or wafers it should have oil spread on it.  It could be either baked in an oven, or prepared on a griddle or a pan.  After the pleasing odor for Yahweh of this grain offering burnt on the altar, what was left of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his son.  This was one of the benefits of being a priest.

“No grain offering that you bring to Yahweh shall be made with leaven.  You must not turn any leaven or honey into smoke as an offering by fire to Yahweh.  You may bring them to Yahweh as an offering of choice products, but they shall not be offered on the altar for a pleasing odor.   You shall not omit from your grain offerings the salt of the covenant with your God.   With all your offering you shall offer salt.”

There cannot be any leaven or honey in any of the grain offerings for Yahweh.  You could bring leavened or honey products but they could not be offered as grain offerings.  You also had to use salt in your  grain offerings. There is a big emphasis on this being unleavened bread and the use of salt.  The unleavened bread harkens back to the exodus Passover event in the book of Exodus.  Honey was associated with foods that ferment.  Salt had to do with agreements and the practice of eating a salt seasoned meal together after an agreement was reached.

“If you bring a grain offering of first fruits to Yahweh, you shall bring as the grain offering your first fruits, coarse new grain from fresh ears, parched with fire.    You shall add oil to it and lay frankincense on it.  It is a grain offering.  The priest shall turn a token portion of it into smoke.  This can be some of the coarse grain and oil with all of frankincense.  It is an offering by fire to Yahweh.”

You have to remember that the grain offering was not considered as good as the animal offering as indicated in the story of Cain, the farmer, and Abel, the shepherd.  Yahweh liked the shepherd sacrifice better than the grain sacrifice.  Everything had to be first class for these sacrifices.  Frankincense and oil played a major role.  Both of these products must have been common enough for people to use them.  The grain offering could be baked, roasted, or parched as long as oil and frankincense was involved.