1. Understanding the meaning of  the word “measure” 

Father told me to write on the topic “What Is The Equivalent Of Three Measures Of Meal? This question emerged because Jesus said that the woman in the Parable of the Leaven hid leaven in  “three measures G4568 of meal, till the whole was leavened” (Matthew 13: 33 & Luke 12: 21).   I was rather amused to discover from the crossmatch of scripture that “three measures of meal” appeared only three times in scripture.  In the first instance, Abraham told Sarah to quickly make cakes “with quickly three measures of fine meal.” 

The scenario was one in which the three members of the God family visited Abraham. Jesus must have had Sarah in mind when He spoke specifically about these three measures of meal. He must have remembered how a Kingdom of Kings and Priests was about to be established in the earth through the descendants of Abraham:

Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, H7058 knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth – Genesis 18: 6.

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal (meal = aleuron), till the whole was leavened – Matthew 13: 33.

It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures G4568 of meal, till the whole was leavened. – Luke 13: 21.

 

2. New Testament meaning of measures

The word measures or saton (G4565) appears only twice in the King James Version of the New Testament.   According to Strong’s in blueletterbible.org, the Hebrew word cĕ’ah (H5429) is the root word for saton.  We see, however, that cĕ’ah does not indicate the value in weight of the measure:

Make ready quickly three measures H5429 of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes – Genesis 18: 6.

five measures H5429 of parched corn,  – 2 Samuel 25: 18.

two measuresH5429 of seed. – 1 Kings 18: 32.

To morrow about this time shall a measure H5429 of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures H5429 of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. – 2 Kings 7: 1.

So a measure H5429 of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures H5429 of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD – 2 Kings 7: 16.

it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures H5429 of barley for a shekel, and a measure H5429 of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria – 2 Kings 7: 16.

 

3. Ephah is the weight associated with the word meal or flour in the scriptures

I searched for the word meal in the scriptures in order to determine the measurements of weight used in association with it.  The word ephah was used three times:

  • three measures of fine meal, H7058 – Genesis 18: 6
  • the tenth part of an ephah (H374)  of barley meal H7058 – Numbers 5: 15.
  • an ephah (H374) of flour H7058 – Judges 6: 19
  • one ephah (H374) of flour H7058 – 1 Samuel 1: 24
  • and threescore measures of meal H7058 – 1 Kings 4: 22

 

a.  The ephah was a measure of weight in the scriptures

The Lord requires His people to have a perfect and just weight. In other words, the weight must be exact.

  • Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, H374 H374 – Deuteronomy 25: 14.
  • But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure H374 shalt thou have – Deuteronomy 25: 14.
  • Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, H374 and a just bath – Ezekiel 45: 10

 

b. The omer = the tenth part of an ephah.

The 10th, synonymous with a tithe, was an important weight given for special offerings. For example, the priests gave an omer on the day of their anointing and it was the weight of offerings for sin and jealousy. Sheaf and sheaves are also used as synonyms for the omer  which is thought to be equivalent to  2 litres (Strong’s in blueletterbible.org).

  • Now an omer (`omer /H6016) is the tenth part of an ephah H374 /Now an omer is one-tenth of an ephah – Exodus 16: 36.
  • then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah H374 – Leviticus 5: 11.
  • This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the LORD in the day when he is anointed; the tenth part of an ephah H374 of fine flour – Leviticus 6: 20.
  • Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah H374 of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy – Numbers 5: 15.
  • And a tenth part of an ephah H374 of flour for a meat offering – Numbers 28: 5.

c. The significance of the omer:

i. each Jew was commanded to collect one omer of manna daily except on the day before the sabbath when they collected two omers. Their daily bread was provided quite generously and they had no excess and no lack – Exodus 16: 16 –  22.

ii. God commanded the Jews to bring a sheaf (omer) of the firstfruit to the priest to be waved to the Lord on the day after the Sabbath. An unblemished lamb was also to be simultaneously offered. This was to be celebrated when they reaped the first harvest in Canaan – Leviticus 23: 10 – 12.

Leviticus 23: 14 seems to suggest that they would have begun to reap the harvest as soon as they entered the land. This is because the scriptures say that they would not “bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears” until the day that they brought that offering to the Lord.  This is a picture of God’s miraculous wealth transfer and provision of bread that one did not work for.

iii. The Jews were then commanded seven sabbaths from the Sunday of the sheaf offering. On the 50th day, they were to give a new offering to the Lord (two wave loaves of two tenth deals & burnt offerings) – Leviticus 23: 15 – 17). This symbolized multiplication and increase.

iv. Jews were also commanded to participate in a national social welfare program for the poor. During harvest time, they were leave sheafs in the fields for the stranger, fatherless and widow. The burden of provision for the needy was the responsibility of each Jew, not solely that the government or the church. The poor will be fed if each citizen open his/her hand and stretches out to take care of them (Deuteronomy 24: 19).

Boaz was such a caring provider that he commanded his employees to allow Ruth, his future wife, to gather up the omers/sheaves that fell as they harvested the crops (Ruth 2: 7 & 15).

d. Here is the prophetic parallel of the omer. 

The omer, or tithe of the ephah, was to be offered to God on the Sunday after that firsst sabbath after entry into Canaan. This is a picture of  the resurrected Jesus ascending to God.  He is the firstfruit of all those who will be resurrected.

Pentecost or the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is represented on the fiftieth day after the offering, with the doubling of the offering speaking to the addition of new souls to the Kingdom of God.

 

 c. The ephah and bath are equivalent measures

  • The ephah (‘eyphah /H374) and the bath (bath/H1324) shall be of one measure (token /H8506), that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer (chomer/H2563) , and the ephah the tenth part of an homer: the measure (mathkoneth/H4971)  thereof shall be after the homer – Ezekiel 45: 11 
  • The homerfn will be your standard unit for measuring volume. The ephah and the bathfn will each measure one-tenth of a homer

 

4.  Conversion table (based on current understanding of scripture)

Epahah = 10

Omer = 1/10 of an ephah

bath = ephah

10 baths/10 ephah = 1 homer

(ten baths are an homer – Ezekiel 45: 14)

1 homer = 1 piece of silver.

Hosea bought his adulterous wife  “… for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley” (Hosea 3: 2). Her value was less than that of a  homer of barley seed which was valued in earlier times at fifty shekels of silver (Leviticus 27: 16).

Conclusion

Three measures of fine meal could be equivalent to 30 ephah. One ephah is estimated to be about 22 liters. This would have been a lot of flour with which to make bread. I have to assume that maybe Abraham invited all of his employees to eat with the God family after the meal was prepared.

We see later in scripture that his steward had a developed and cultivated a close relationship with the Father. This is revealed in his prayer for guidance and the specific way in which he decreed the kind of wife that Isaac should have. His acknowledgement of the guidance of the Father and His Angels are also very clear in the text of Genesis 24.

Blessings, peace and angelic prosperity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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