if you want to experience what he meant
saying-96; the leaven.
(latest update: 04-12-2018)
The kingdom of the father is like a certain woman.
She took a little leaven, [concealed] it in some dough,
and made it into large loaves.
Let him who has ears hear.
I think that the interpretation of this saying depends on the symbolism of bread and that
of leaven. Bread was often considered as a symbol of life. Leaven was symbolic for (moral)
corruption (Scott, 1990); “an old rabbinic metaphor for evil inclination” (Fishbane, 2000).
One can take the insinuation here that seeking the kingdom is an almost anti-social, secret,
evil thing, like the leaven that has to grow from keeping it in some bread and let it putrefy
in a moist, dark place. Hedrick (2010) concludes that a scandalous use of a negative
concept for a positive reason is employed here. In Mark and Mathew it is three measures of
dough the woman took, of which Scott (1981) remarks that three measures is an image
for a divine epiphany, a comic sign of the holy. In that sense it is the kingdom which
corrupts the traditional religious ideas. However, interpreted in this way, the leaven would
allegorically signify the kingdom, and its growing a prophetical prediction,
which sounds unlikely to me.
I think the parable’s meaning goes beyond that. Just look:
What exactly had this woman in mind: concealing leaven in dough???
How stupid can you be? What else could she do but reap the
consequences of her ignorance: Trying to make the best out of it by making
large loaves; what a waste! Like Ecclesiastes said: dead flies make the perfumer's
ointment give off an evil odour; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honour (Eccl.10:1).
As such the parable makes us aware that a little evil is something that creeps in easily,
but will eventually corrupt our whole being! It may serve as a call to mindfully guard one's
life against filth, because what you do, is what you get, whereas there might not be a way back.
Here again, the kingdom is not some state of affairs with any significance
apart from man and his/her actions; it does not refer to something abstract like 'a divine ruling',
a divine or worldly 'social' construct or something of the kind; there is nothing divine,
nothing supra-natural, nothing royal in it. The saying's content is completely down to earth,
the place where the seeking should start, and where the fulfillment is situated.
Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20.