LEAVEN and FERMENT (lev'n and far. ment).
In Hebrew we find two distinct words, both translated leaven in the common version of the Bible. This is unfortunate, for there is the same distinction between Seh-ore', -14 '2.7 and mates', Ti.?r.,1, in the Hebrew, as between leaven and ferment in the English. Chemically speaking, the 'ferment' or 'yeast' is the same substance in both cases; but 'leaven' is more correctly applied to solids, 'ferment' both to liquids and solids.
(1) Process of Fermentation. The organic chemists define the process of fermentation, and the substance which excites it, as follows:— 'Fermentation is nothing else but the putrefac tion of a substance containing no nitrogen. Fer ment, or yeast, is a substance in a state of putre faction, the atoms of which are in a continual motion.' This definition is in strict accordance with the views of the ancients, and gives point and force to many passages of Sacred Writ (Exod. xii :t5 ; Matt. xvi :6, it, 12; Mark viii :t5; Luke xii ; xiii :21 ; COL V :5-8 ; Gal. v :9).
(2) Substances Prohibited. Leaven, and fermented or even some readily fermentible sub stances (as honey), were prohibited in many of the typical institutions both of the Jews and Gentiles. Plutarch (Rom-Queest. cix. 6) assigns as the reason why the priest of Jupiter was not allowed to touch leaven, 'that it comes out of cor ruption, and corrupts that with which it is min gled.' See also Aul. Gellius, viii :15. All mented substances were prohibited in the Paschal Feast of the Jews (Exod. xii :8, 19, 20) ; also dur ing the succeeding seven days, usually called 'The Feast of Unleavened Bread,' though bread is not in the original. God forbade either ferment or honey to be offered to him in his temple (i. e. in the symbolical rites), while they were permitted in offerings designed to be consumed as food (Num. XV:20, 21). On the same principle of symbolism, God prescribes that salt shall always constitute a part of the oblations to him (Lev. Hut). Salt prevents corruption or decay, and
preserves flesh. Hence it is used as a symbol of incorruption and perpetuity. Thus St.Paul (comp. Col. iv :6; Mark ix:5o) uses 'salt' as preserva tive from corruption, on the same principle which leads him to employ that which is unfermented (drums) as an emblem of purity and uncorrupted ness.
'The usual leaven in the East is dough kept till it becomes sour, and which is kept from one day to another for the purpose of preserving leaven in readiness. Thus, if there should be no leaven in all the country for any length of time as much as might be required could easily be produced in twenty-four hours. Sour dough, however, is not exclusively used for leaven in the East, the lees of wine being in some parts em ployed as yeast' (Pictorial Bible, vol. i, p. 161).
F. R. L.
To commemoratc Israel's hasty departure from Egypt, without having time to leaven their dough, they were prohibited to use any leaven at the passover-feast, or to offer it on God's altar in any of their meat-offerings (Exod. xii :15-19; Lev. Hitt).
FiguratiVe. On account of the penetrat ing and diffusive nature of leaven it is used sym bolically of moral influence, good or bad : (1) The gospel-church of God, which, from small beginnings, gradually spreads in the world ; the gospel of Christ, which gradually prevails to reform and convert the nations of the world ; and the work of inward grace, which gradually pre vails in, and assimilates the hearts of men to its own likeness (Matt. xiii :33).
(2) The erroneous doctrines, corrupt glosses of the Scripture, or vain traditions of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians, and their corrupt exam ples, whereby many were infected (Matt. xvi : 6, 12).
(3) Scandal, and scandalous sinners, who infect and cast a blot on the church (1 Cor. v :6).
(4) Malice, hypocrisy, and like corruptions in the heart, which exceedingly defile us, and render us infectious to others (I Cor. v :7).
LEBANA (161Va-na), (Neh. vii:48). See LEH