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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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The Hebrews were forbidden by the law to eat leavened bread, or a food with leaven in it, during the seven days of the passover, Exodus 12:15-19 ; Leviticus 2:11 . They were very careful in purifying their houses from all leaven before this feast began. God forbad either leaven or honey to be offered to him in his temple; that is, in cakes or in any baked meats. But on other occasions they might offer leavened bread or honey. St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 , expresses his desire that the faithful should celebrate the Christian passover with unleavened bread; which, figuratively, signifies sincerity and truth. In this he teaches us two things; first, that the law which obliged the Jews to a literal observance of the passover is no longer in force; and, secondly, that by unleavened bread, truth and purity of heart were denoted. The same Apostle alludes to the ceremony used at the passover, when he says, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump;" that is, a small portion of leaven, in a quantity of bread or paste, corrupts the whole, and renders it unclean. Our Saviour, in the Gospel, Matthew 16:11 , warns his Apostles to beware of the leaven of the Herodians and Pharisees; meaning their doctrines.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Leaven'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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Friday, June 5th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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