ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia

Leaven

  1. Hebrew: seor (Ex. 12:15, 19; 13:7; Lev. 2:11), the remnant of dough from the preceding baking which had fermented and become acid.

  2. Hebrew: hamets, properly “ferment.” In Num. 6:3, “vinegar of wine” is more correctly “fermented wine.”

    In Ex. 13:7, the proper rendering would be, “Unfermented things [Hebrew: matstsoth] shall be consumed during the seven days; and there shall not be seen with thee fermented things [hamets], and there shall not be seen with thee leavened mass [seor] in all thy borders.”

The use of leaven was strictly forbidden in all offerings made to the Lord by fire (Lev. 2:11; 7:12; 8:2; Num. 6:15).

Its secretly penetrating and diffusive power is referred to in 1 Cor. 5:6. In this respect it is used to illustrate the growth of the kingdom of heaven both in the individual heart and in the world (Matt. 13:33).

It is a figure, also, of corruptness and of perverseness of heart and life (Matt. 16:6, 11; Mark 8:15; 1 Cor. 5:7-8).

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