“The kingdom of God
Is like yeast
That a woman took.
She mixed it in
With three measures
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?
“They offered Jesus
Mixed with myrrh.
He did not take it.”
καὶ ἐδίδουν αὐτῷ ἐσμυρνισμένον οἶνον· ὃς δὲ οὐκ ἔλαβεν.
This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:34, but Matthew had gall not myrrh mixed with the wine. Luke, chapter 23, and John, chapter 19, did not have any mention of this offer to drink wine in order to dull the pain. Mark said that that they offered Jesus some wine to drink (καὶ ἐδίδουν αὐτῷ…οἶνον). This wine was mixed with myrrh (ἐσμυρνισμένον), not gall as in Matthew. However, as in Matthew, Jesus would not take it or drink it (ὃς δὲ οὐκ ἔλαβεν).
One of the bystanders ran.
He got a sponge.
He filled it
With sour wine.
He put it on a stick.
He gave it to him
καὶ εὐθέως δραμὼν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν καὶ λαβὼν σπόγγον πλήσας τε ὄξους καὶ περιθεὶς καλάμῳ ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν.
This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:36. In Luke, chapter 23:36, there was an indication of a soldier who gave some sour wine to Jesus. In John, chapter 19:28-29, Jesus said that he was thirsty before they gave him this sour wine that was standing nearby. Matthew said that soon one of the bystanders ran to get a sponge (καὶ εὐθέως δραμὼν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν καὶ λαβὼν σπόγγον). He filled it with sour wine or vinegar (πλήσας τε ὄξους). Then he put it on a stick or reed (καὶ περιθεὶς καλάμῳ) to give Jesus something to drink (ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν). This sour wine or vinegar might have been a reference to Psalm 69:21, where the psalmist complained that they gave him vinegar to drink. This common Roman soldier drink of sour wine or vinegar mixed with water might also have been an anesthetic to ease the pain. Thus, this action might have been an act of compassion for Jesus hanging on the cross.
“He told them another parable.
‘The kingdom of heaven is
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.
“Your silver has become dross.
Your wine is mixed with water.
Your princes are rebels.
They are the companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe.
They run after gifts.
They do not defend the orphans.
The widow’s cause does not
Come before them.”
Isaiah reminds the Israelites that their silver money in Jerusalem has become worthless scum dross. Their wine is not pure, since it is mixed with water, or watered down. The princes of Jerusalem have become rebels and companions of thieves. They love bribes and run after gifts. There is no one left to defend and help the orphans and the widows, which is so important for Israelite life.
“If it is well told and to the point, that is what I myself desired. If it is poorly done and mediocre, that was the best I could do. Just as it is harmful to drink wine alone or to drink water alone, but wine mixed with water is sweet and delicious. It enhances one’s enjoyment. So also I hope the style of this story delights the ears of those who read the work. Here will be the end.”
This biblical author is somewhat apologetic for not writing a better book. This was rare and even rarer today. If you like it fine, but otherwise it was the best that I could do, a rare hint of humility. It was the custom to read aloud even when reading alone because so few people had books anyway. Thus the hearing of the story is so important. The illusion to wine and water may be an attempt to speak about the Greek language of his work. Despite the opposition to Hellenization, the book was written not in Hebrew, but in Greek. Nevertheless, a little Hebrew water would add to the taste and enjoyment of all.