Matthew 13:33
Parallel Verses
New International Version
He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough."

New Living Translation
Jesus also used this illustration: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough."

English Standard Version
He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

New American Standard Bible
He spoke another parable to them, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened."

King James Bible
Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into 50 pounds of flour until it spread through all of it."

International Standard Version
He told them another parable: "The kingdom from heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."

NET Bible
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all the dough had risen."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
He told them another parable: “The Kingdom of Heaven is likened to leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until all of it had fermented.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
He used another illustration. "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman mixed into a large amount of flour until the yeast worked its way through all the dough."

Jubilee Bible 2000
He spoke another parable unto them: The kingdom of the heavens is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened.

King James 2000 Bible
Another parable spoke he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

American King James Version
Another parable spoke he to them; The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

American Standard Version
Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.

Darby Bible Translation
He spoke another parable to them: The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until it had been all leavened.

English Revised Version
Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.

Webster's Bible Translation
Another parable he spoke to them; The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Weymouth New Testament
Another parable He spoke to them. "The Kingdom of the Heavens," He said, "is like yeast which a woman takes and buries in a bushel of flour, for it to work there till the whole mass has risen."

World English Bible
He spoke another parable to them. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, until it was all leavened."

Young's Literal Translation
Another simile spake he to them: 'The reign of the heavens is like to leaven, which a woman having taken, hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

13:31-35 The scope of the parable of the seed sown, is to show that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but its latter end would greatly increase; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on. In the soul where grace truly is, it will grow really; though perhaps at first not to be discerned, it will at last come to great strength and usefulness. The preaching of the gospel works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it. The leaven works certainly, so does the word, yet gradually. It works silently, and without being seen, Mr 4:26-29, yet strongly; without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but without fail. Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by preaching the gospel, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind. It was made powerful by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder. Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, it works a thorough change; it spreads itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, Ro 6:13. From these parables we are taught to expect a gradual progress; therefore let us inquire, Are we growing in grace? and in holy principles and habits?

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 33. - The parable of the leaven. Parallel passage: Luke 13:20, 21. The growth of the kingdom regarded in its quiet and secret influence. This is to be ultimately complete and universal. The prophecy is partially fulfilled with every fresh recognition of Christian principles in public opinion, or customs, or laws. For "every thought" shall be brought "captive unto the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven. This is the only passage where leaven is spoken of with reference to its permeating qualities alone, without any trace of the notion of defilement, which the Paschal and other regulations (Exodus 12:15, 18; Exodus 23:15, 18; Leviticus 2:11) so readily suggested. Even in 1 Corinthians 5:6 and Galatians 5:9 this connotation of evil is not altogether absent. In Talm. Bab., 'Berach.,' 17a, it is used as a figure of the "evil impulse" within us. Hence some have interpreted it in a similar sense here, and have understood our Lord to be referring to the spread of worldliness in the Church (especially after the conversion of Constantine); but

(1) this is opposed to the prima facie meaning;

(2) it is unreasonable to insist that a symbol must always have the same connotation;

(3) it is opposed to the idea of deliberate purpose underlying the action of the woman;

(4) the closing words would cast too awful a shadow - they would mean that Christianity fails. Which a woman took (ver. 31, note), and hid. The woman probably belongs entirely to the framework of the parable (cf. Luke 15:4, 8). For the work described is always, in normal societies, performed by women. Of other interpretations that which sees in her the Church as the agent by whom the kingdom of God is wrought into the world is the best. In three measures of meal; i.e. an ephah. This appears to have been a convenient quantity (about a peck) for kneading at one time (Genesis 18:6; Judges 6:19). Until the whole was leavened; literally, until it was leavened, even the whole of it (ἕως οῦ ἐζυμώθη ὅλον). While our Lord thus promises that the permeating influence of the kingdom of heaven shall at last be entirely successful, it is unfair to so press the parable as to deduce from it that the world as such will continue to be gradually and continuously improved up to the Lord's return. It may be so (contrast, however, Luke 18:8), but even direct prophecy, and still more parable, frequently regards the ultimate result, and passes over the intermediate stages.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Another parable spake he unto them,.... To the disciples and the multitude, and which was of the same kind, to the same purpose, and relating to the same subject as the former; the spread of the Gospel, and the increase of it in the world,

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven. The word "leaven" is every where else used in a bad sense; and either designs immorality, as malice and wickedness, or false doctrine, such as that of the Pharisees and Sadducees: but here it seems to be taken in a good sense, and the Gospel to be compared unto it; nor for its disagreeable qualities, but on account of its small quantity; it is a little leaven that leavens the whole lump, and may express, as the grain of mustard seed does, the small beginnings of the Gospel, and its meanness in the eyes of men; and on account of its piercing, penetrating, and spreading nature: so the Gospel reaches the conscience, pierces the heart, enlightens the understanding, informs the judgment, raises and sets the affections on right objects, subdues the will, and brings down all towering thoughts, to the obedience of Christ, in particular persons; and has penetrated and made its way, under divine influence, through towns, cities, kingdoms, and nations: also on account of its heating, swelling, and assimilating nature; so the Gospel, where it takes place, warms the affections, causes the heart to burn within, inspires with zeal for God, and Christ, and the Gospel; it swells and fills churches with such as shall be saved, and assimilates the several persons it operates in, makes them like one another, one bread, one body, having like precious faith, knowledge, and experience, though in a different degree,

Which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal. By the "three measures of meal", are meant the elect of God; who, because of their nature and quality, are compared to meal, or fine flour; and that because of that of which it is made, wheat, to a corn of which Christ is compared, John 12:24 and by whose grace the saints are what they are, justified, regenerated, and sanctified; and on account of the manner it becomes so, as by grinding the wheat, sifting it when ground, and separating it from the bran; all which may express the first convictions in the conscience of awakened sinners, the grace of God in conversion, and the separation of them from the rest of the world, in the effectual calling; as also by reason of its choiceness, purity, and goodness, the saints being chosen of God and precious, and being pure and spotless, through the grace and righteousness of Christ, and being highly valued, and had in great esteem by him; and because of their quantity, are compared to three measures of meal. The measure here designed, is the Hebrew seah, which held a gallon and an half, and three of these made an ephah; and which is often rendered by the (a) Targumists, , "three seahs", or "measures", the very phrase here used; and the reason why three are particularly mentioned is, because such a quantity used to be fermented and kneaded by women at one time; see Genesis 18:6 and for the further illustration of this, take the following passage out of the Talmud (b),

"The wise men say, that three women may be employed in one lump of dough; one may knead it, another may make it into loaves, and another may bake it--and it is a tradition,

"that in wheat they use three kabs", or "measures", and in barley four "kabs".

These measures, as here used parabolically, may design the small number of God's elect; and, as some have thought, may have respect to the three then known parts of the world, where they were, or should be: by the woman that took and hid the leaven in these measures, is meant, either the church, sometimes compared to a woman in Scripture, Revelation 12:1 or the ministers of the Gospel, wisdom's maidens; or rather, Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God; see Proverbs 9:1 and the reason why a woman is mentioned is, because it was, with the Jews, the work of women to ferment the flour, knead the dough, and make the bread: and this action of taking and covering the leaven in the meal, may denote the power of Christ, in opening the heart, and putting in the Gospel, which unless he takes in hand, and uses, is ineffectual; as also the passiveness of men, under the first workings of the Spirit of Christ upon their souls, by the Gospel; and likewise, the secret and invisible power of divine grace, operating by the ministry of the word, upon the heart,

Until the whole was leavened: to be "leavened" by the Gospel, is to be evangelized by it, to be brought into the life and liberty of it, to a Gospel way of living by faith on Christ; to derive all peace, joy, and comfort from him, and not from any works of righteousness; and to have a man's obedience influenced by the love of God, so as to do it cheerfully, and without dependence on it. Now the Gospel, where it has entrance and takes place, powerfully and effectually, continues to operate more or less, as the leaven in the meal, until the whole man, soul and body, all the faculties of the soul, and members of the body, are influenced by it; and will continue with power and efficacy in the world, and church, until all the elect of God are wrought upon by it, and are brought in. There is a late ingenious interpretation (c) of this parable, which, since the word "leaven" is elsewhere always used in a bad sense, deserves consideration; according to which, this parable expresses not the spread of truth, but of error; by "the woman" is thought to be meant, the Apocalyptic woman, the woman spoken of in the Revelations, the whore of Rome, the mother of harlots; and the "leaven" which she took, the leaven of false doctrine and discipline; by her "hiding" it, the private, secret, artful methods, false doctrines, and bad discipline were introduced, and the gradual progress thereof; and by the "three measures of meal", the bishops and doctors of the church, among whom this leaven was spread, and who were fermented with it; particularly those three bishops of Rome at first, Sosymus, John the faster, and Boniface the third; which by degrees spread itself, until the whole Christian world was affected with it; and for a long time lay hid and undiscovered, till the Lord raised up Wyclif, John Huss, Jerom of Prague, Luther, and other reformers. The reader may choose which interpretation he likes best,

(a) Targum Onketos & Jarchi, in Exodus 16.36. & Targum Jon. in Ruth ii. 17. (b) T. Hieros. Pesachim, fol. 30. 2.((c) Vid. Teelman. Specimen Explic. Parabolarum, p. 64, 65, 66, 67, 68.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

33. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened—This parable, while it teaches the same general truth as the foregoing one, holds forth, perhaps, rather the inward growth of the kingdom, while "the Mustard Seed" seems to point chiefly to the outward. It being a woman's work to knead, it seems a refinement to say that "the woman" here represents the Church, as the instrument of depositing the leaven. Nor does it yield much satisfaction to understand the "three measures of meal" of that threefold division of our nature into "spirit, soul, and body," alluded to in 1Th 5:23, or of the threefold partition of the world among the three sons of Noah (Ge 10:32), as some do. It yields more real satisfaction to see in this brief parable just the all-penetrating and assimilating quality of the Gospel, by virtue of which it will yet mould all institutions and tribes of men, and exhibit over the whole earth one "kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ."

Matthew 13:33 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Parable of the Leaven
33He spoke another parable to them, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened." 34All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.
Cross References
Genesis 18:6
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread."

Judges 6:19
Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

1 Samuel 1:24
After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh.

Matthew 13:24
Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.

Luke 13:21
It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough."
Treasury of Scripture

Another parable spoke he to them; The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Another.

Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should …

like.

Luke 13:21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of …

1 Corinthians 5:6,7 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens …

Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

measures. Gr. 'A measure containing about a peck and a half, wanting a little more than a pint.'

till.

Job 17:9 The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that has clean hands …

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more …

Hosea 6:3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth …

John 15:2 Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every …

John 16:12,13 I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now…

Philippians 1:6,9 Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good …

Philippians 2:13-15 For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure…

1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly…

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus …

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