view as web pdf Dogs under the table

A very fine cameo is given in Mark 7:24-30, where Jesus talks to the Syrophenician woman. She pleads with him to heal her daughter, but he answers: “Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs”. She says to him, “Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs”. The word for “dogs” in both cases, and also in the equivalent passages in Matthew 15:26,27, is the Greek kunarion, which means a little dog, a pet house-dog (see Young’s Concordance).

There is another Greek word for ‘dog’, used in Matthew 7:6: “Give not that which is holy unto dogs”; and Luke 16:21: “moreover the dogs came and licked his sores”; this word is kuōn, which means a wild pariah dog of the streets. However, Jesus does not use this word when speaking to the Syrophenician woman but, in compassion, the more gentle word, a little dog, thus showing that in time all Gentiles would be granted the opportunity of eating from the children’s table. She had very great insight into the growth and wonder of the true gospel.


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