Matthew 13:33 The kingdom of heaven is like

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Parables, Parable of the Leaven

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

The realm of the skies is like yeast dough, that an understanding woman buries into three 15 lb. bags of flour until this:  It is leavened altogether!

My Takeaway: 

We need spirit to rise, just as bread dough does.

KJV : 

Matthew 13:33 The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

NIV : 

Matthew 13:33 “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[fn] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

What is Lost in Translation: 

At the time, leaven was dough with "bubbles" of gas or "breath" in it coming from th live yeast growing with in it.  "Breath" is the meaning of the Greek word that we translated as "spirit." The word leaven means "to foam" and is used both for bread and beer.  This verse includes both the noun or verb form of the word.  In Greek, however, it is also a metaphor for for "corruption" and "falsehood." Jesus, however, sees it as an analogy for the way the realm of the skies mixes spirit into every part of life.

The word translated as "took" works like our word "get" and means "understanding" in the same sense as "getting an idea" or "getting a message" means "understanding." The Greek word translated as "word" is closer in meaning to "idea" and "message." Here, this word is in the form of an adjective applied to a woman "getting" or "understanding" the yeast. In Matthew 13:31 , the same adjective was used to describe the man "getting" the mustard seed.

The word translated as "hid" in the KJV and "mixed" in the NIV means "hide in" or "bury in" and is the source of our word "encrypt." This word also has the sense of "burying" as well as "encoding."  The root word also means "cover with dirt," which ties this word to the idea of seeds.

The amount of flour here is huge. In the measures of the time, about 72 cups. This would make about 4 1/2 gallons, so a small sack or barrel of flower. As with the mustard seed, the point is how big this is. This amount is the setup used in the clause before the end. The punchline, his last word is "all of it" or "the whole of it."

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "took" also means "understanding." It also means "to have in hand."  The sense is not only that the woman was holding the yeast-dough but that she understood it and how it worked.  

The word translated as "hid" means to "encrypt," "bury in," or "encode."  The root word also means "cover with dirt," which ties this word to the idea of seeds.

The not used in this verse, the Greek word for "spirit" also means "breath" or "wind." It was the general term for gas, like the gasses the bubble up during fermentation or bread when it rises. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὁμοία (adj pl neut acc) "Like" is homoios, which means "like," "resembling," "the same," "equal in force, "a match for one," "suiting," "of the same rank," "alike," "in like manner," and "equally."

ἐστὶν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible."

(article sg fem nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

βασιλεία (noun sg fem nom) "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom," "dominion," "hereditary monarchy," "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign." -

τῶν (article pl masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

οὐρανῶν (noun pl masc gen) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky," "heaven as the seat of the gods," "the sky," "the universe," and "the climate." --

ζύμῃ [2 verses](noun sg fem dat) , "Leaven is from the Greek zumê, which means any kind of bread or beer "yeast." A metaphor for "corruption" and "falsehood."

ἣν (pron sg fem acc) "Which" is from hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

λαβοῦσα (part sg aor act fem nom) "Took" is from lambano means to "take," "take hold of," "grasp," "seize," "catch," "overtake," "find out," "detect," "take as," "take [food or drugs]," "understand," "take in hand," "undertake," "take in," "hold," "get," "receive [things]," "receive hospitably," "receive in marriage," "receive as produce," "profit," "admit," "initiate," "take hold of," "lay hold on," "seize and keep hold of," "obtain possession of," "lay hands upon," "find fault with," "censure," "to apprehend with the senses," "to take hold of," and "to seize." It is also specifically used to mean "seized with emotion."

γυνὴ (noun sg fem nom) "Woman" is gyne, which means "woman (as opposed to man)," "wife," "spouse," "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)."

ἐνέκρυψεν [2 verses] (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "And hid" is from enkruptô which literally means "to hide in," "to bury in," "to bank (a fire)," or "to conceal in."

εἰς (prep) "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)," "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)," "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)," "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

ἀλεύρου [2 verses](noun sg neut gen) "Of meal" is aleuron, which means "wheat-meal," "barley-meal," or, generally, "meal," as in "coarse flour,"

σάτα [2 verses](noun pl neut acc) "Measures" is saton, which is a Hebrew dry measure of approximately three gallons or "a peck and a half."

τρία [4 verses] (numeral pl neut acc) "Three" is from treis, which means the number three.

ἕως (prep) "Until" is from heos which means "until," "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that."

οὗ (pron sg masc gen) "The" is hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐζυμώθη [2 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind pass) "Was leavened" is from zymoo, which means "to leaven" or "to cause to foam." In the passive, it means "to be leavened" or "to ferment."

ὅλον. [23 verses](adj sg masc acc) "The whole" is holos, which means "the whole," "entire," "complete," "complete in all its parts," "wholly," "altogether," "on the whole," "speaking generally," "utter," "actually," "really, "the universe," and "safe and sound."

KJV Analysis: 

The  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom  - The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the rule, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "rule" or "reign" seems more appropriate.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven  - The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It is also plural here. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods.

is  - The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

like -- -- The word translated as "like" is an adjective that means "like," "resembling," and "matching." 

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

leaven,  - "Leaven" is sometimes translated as "yeast." It is from a root word meaning "to mix." This was a time when yeast didn't come in little packets, but was maintained as a live culture, in this case, in the uncooked bread dough itself. Some of this dough was set aside as a "starter," kept warm in a jar to grow. Then part of that starter mixture was mixed into the fresh dough, which was left to rise and grow the yeast. Interestingly, the earliest beer was made by putting yeast bread into water.

which . -- The word translated as "which" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

woman  - "Woman" is from the Greek noun meaning "woman" or "wife."

took,  -- (WF) The word translated as "took" primarily means "take." However, it means "receive" in the same sense that we use "get" to mean "receive" and has many different uses as we use "get" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing.  It is in the form, not of a verb, but an adjective modifying the subject.This verb is in the form of an adjective modifying "woman." The only meaning the modifies "a woman" very well is "understanding." This is the same adjective applied to "a man" in Matthew 13:31.

and -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "it" in the Greek source. It was added because the previous verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

hid  - "Hid" is from a Greek verb meaning "to hide in" or "to conceal in." It is the Greek form of our word "encrypt." Here, "enfolds" is probably the closest literal translation though "encrypt" is the symbolic meaning.

in -- The word translated as "in" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

three  - This is the number three.

measures  - (CW) "Measures" is misleading here because we might think "a cup of flour" but the Hebrew unit of measure is very large, a peck and a half, which works out to about 50 cups of flour. A five pound bag of flour has about 16 cups, so this is about  three 5-lb bags. Since there are three measures, the total is  about 150 cups of flour, which is like 45-pound bag or barrel full of flour.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

meal,  - "Meal" is the Greek word that means "wheat-meal," "barley-meal," or, generally, "meal," as in "coarse flour,"

till  - The word translated as "til" means "until" but it also means "in order that."

the -- (WW) The word translated as "the" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

whole  - "Whole" is a word that means "whole," "complete," and "whole in all its parts."

was -- This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

leavened. -- The word translated as "leavened' means "to leaven" or "to ferment." However, it also means "to foam or bubble up." This and the noun "leaven" have the same root. The form is passive.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "took" is not an active verb but a participle, "understanding."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "measures" is should "7 1/2 pound bags."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "the" should be something more like "this."

NIV Analysis: 

The  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom  - The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the rule, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "rule" or "reign" seems more appropriate.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven  - The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It is also plural here. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods.

is  - The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

like -- -- The word translated as "like" is an adjective that means "like," "resembling," and "matching." 

yeast,  - "Yeast" is sometimes translated as "yeast." It is from a root word meaning "to mix." This was a time when yeast didn't come in little packets, but was maintained as a live culture, in this case, in the uncooked bread dough itself. Some of this dough was set aside as a "starter," kept warm in a jar to grow. Then part of that starter mixture was mixed into the fresh dough, which was left to rise and grow the yeast. Interestingly, the earliest beer was made by putting yeast bread into water.

that. -- The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

woman  - "Woman" is from the Greek noun meaning "woman" or "wife."

took,  -- (WF) The word translated as "took" primarily means "take." However, it means "receive" in the same sense that we use "get" to mean "receive" and has many different uses as we use "get" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing.  It is in the form, not of a verb, but an adjective modifying the subject.This verb is in the form of an adjective modifying "woman." The only meaning the modifies "a woman" very well is "understanding." This is the same adjective applied to "a man" in Matthew 13:31.

and -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "it" in the Greek source. It was added because the previous verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

mixed - (WW) "Mixed" is from a Greek verb meaning "to hide in" or "to conceal in." It is the Greek form of our word "encrypt." Here, "enfolds" is probably the closest literal translation though "encrypt" is the symbolic meaning.

into -- The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

about sixty pounds -- -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "about sixty pounds" in the Greek source. This math also seems off by a factor of 50%, but my numbers coiuld be wrong and the message of a lot of flour is right,

untranslated "three"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the number three.

untranslated "measures"  -- (MW) "Measures" is misleading here because we might think "a cup of flour" but the Hebrew unit of measure is very large, a peck and a half, which works out to about 50 cups of flour. A five pound bag of flour has about 16 cups, so this is about  three 5-lb bags. Since there are three measures, the total is  about 150 cups of flour, which is like 45-pound bag or barrel full of flour.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

flour ,  - "Flour" is the Greek word that means "wheat-meal," "barley-meal," or, generally, "meal," as in "coarse flour."

until - The word translated as "until " means "until" but it also means "in order that."

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

worked . -- (WW, WF) The word translated as "worked' means "to leaven" or "to ferment." However, it also means "to foam or bubble up." This and the noun "leaven" have the same root. The form is passive not active.

all -  (CW) "All" is a word that means "whole," "complete," and "whole in all its parts."

through the dough. -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "through the dough" in the Greek source.

  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "took" is not an active verb but a participle, "understanding."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "mixed" should be something more like "hid" or "buried."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "about sixty pounds" doesn't exist in the source.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 22 2020