Jesus calls a Canaanite woman a dog

Matthew 15:22-28 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

PERSONAL COMMENTARY

Many people think that it was offensive for Jesus to call this Canaanite woman a dog. However, I looked up the explanation for this on the Christian Apologist site christian-thinktank.com.

Here is one of their explanations:

The image Jesus has chosen is an image of endearment, not insult. The picture of supper-time, with little kids at the table, and their pet “puppies” (the Greek word for ‘dog’ here is not the standard, ‘outside’ dog–which MIGHT BE an insult–, but is the diminutive word, meaning ‘household pets, little dogs’…) at their feet, maybe tugging on their robes for food or play. The puppies, dear to the children and probably so too to the master (cf. 2 Sam 12.3f: but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.), were to be fed AFTER the children (notice: not DENIED food–there was no “NO” in Jesus image–only “WAIT”). But the temporal order is clear–Jesus must take care of His disciples FIRST, and if meeting her need involved interrupting their rest and GOING SOMEWHERE, then it was going to have to wait.

I guess the woman’s reaction was unmerited when she responded “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” She must have misunderstood Jesus’ “image of endearment.”

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73 responses to “Jesus calls a Canaanite woman a dog

  • Anonymous

    Are you kidding me? That’s what they came up with?

    • Jose

      This is in response to various posts that I read here…

      I read some posts here and it would seem to me that what some here are suggesting is that Jesus had human character flaws during the time he took on human form, and that He made a poor judgement call when He denied the Canaanite woman of her request, after which He then “changed His mind”. I Just want to tell everyone here that these claims are not biblical.
      Hebrews 4:15 says “for we do not have a high priest who is unable to understand our infirmities, but one who was tempted in every way as we are….YET WAS WITHOUT SIN”.
      The lamb in the Old Testament covenant rituals was a symbol of Christ, and if you remember, the lamb that was to be offered up as a sacrifice for the atonement of sin, was to be “WITHOUT BLEMISH”. Why? Because the true lamb of God, Jesus, who was offered up as a sacrifice for the atonement of our sins, was himself WITHOUT BLEMISH. Jesus never sinned; He was without spot or wrinkle.
      Racism would have been a pretty big spot and wrinkle in the garments of Christ’s character. Don’t you think? So it is impossible, then, and anti-biblical, to suggest that racism was the reason why Jesus called the Canaanite woman a dog.
      It was the Jews that were racist against the gentiles, and it was Jesus Himself that broke down the barriers of that deeply rooted hatred.
      Also consider that Jesus was the one that had taught ancient Israel to be a light to the gentiles, and to take in the stranger.
      But now their hearts had turned far from the Godly principles that Jesus himself had taught their fathers many centuries earlier.
      Also consider that Jesus was already teaching the aged at the temple when He Himself was still a child, at which time He already knew who His Father was.
      Luke 2:47 says about Jesus “And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.”
      Again, Jesus was still a youth at the time this was spoken of Him.
      In verse 49 of the same chapter, Jesus replies to His earthly father and mother “wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”
      Jesus very well knew who He was and who his true Father was at a young age.
      John 2:24,25 says “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because HE KNEW ALL MEN, And needed not that any should testify of man: FOR HE KNEW WHAT WAS IN MAN.”
      Jesus could discern men’s hearts. The scriptures clearly reveal on many occasions that Jesus knew what people were thinking, He knew their motives, and He know their pasts. To suggest that Jesus made a poor judgement call when the Canaanite woman first approached Him requesting for mercy, is to deny the mountain of scriptural evidence that would suggest otherwise. He knew perfectly well what was in the woman’s heart before she came to ask of Him, so then how could He make a poor judgment call?
      Peter, after Jesus asked Him 3 times if he loved Him, said to Jesus “Lord, THOU KNOWEST ALL THINGS (John 21:17).
      And the woman at the well, after running to tell the townspeople about her encounter with Jesus, said “Come, see a man, WHICH TOLD ME ALL THINGS THAT EVER I DID: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29).
      I think it’s more likely that Jesus responded to the Canaanite woman in the way He did simply to teach His disciples and us a spiritual lesson, like He did on many other occasions.

  • doc

    Although dogs are supposedly man’s best friend, and are usually fed under the table during a meal or on the scraps after the meal, I think there is an underlying principle revealed in both the Scriptural reference and the Apologetic explanation, and this principle is also revealed throughout Scripture.

    It is the principle of starting at the center and working outwards as it pertains to learning, growing, living, and teaching.

    It is the principle that says we must first learn ourselves before teaching those of our house and before teaching those in our community, or as Luke 24:47 says, “Teach the Good News beginning in Jerusalem”, which was the center of Israel.

    IOW, the principle is that of moving outward from the center, much as a seed grows, how the universe came to be, and how knowledge is dispersed, for example.

    So in a manner of speaking, it wasn’t right that a non-Jew should gain something before the Jews, who were ‘next in line’, received it.

    In addition, I believe Jesus also went through a spiritual growth process before He became to know that He was One with God, and I imagine He had quite a few social prejudicies and fears to overcome on His journey as well.

    But starting with the self and then working outwards is the underlying principle of those types of verses, this being a principle that underscores life itself.

  • David Parham

    I think that i means that Jesus was showing a little bit of humanity. I mean he is in human form and this verse shows human qualities, such as prejudice.

  • L. B. Underwood

    I disagree that this was meant as a term of endearment. Keep in mind, Jesus is God. He new the woman’s heart and what would be the content of that moment before she was born. Notice in the passage the disciples response. Clearly negative and hate filled. My ‘opinion’ is that Chirst was exposing the disciples own bigotry by saying out-loud what the disciples held in their own hearts. He did this because as The Christ, he new of the woman’s faith and how she would respond. The effect was clearly a convicting experiance for the disciples.

  • heardofgod

    Roopster, Roopster, Roop….ster.

    Love ya Man.

    This is the funniest one by far. I appreciate your humor.

    Gotta go with underwood on this one. Jesus helped only two Gentiles in his career (Matthew 8:5, and this one you’ve posted[not counting the mixed blooded Samaritan woman]) and both were commended for their faith to shame those who lacked faith. Jesus knew he was sent to Israel and for what purpose, according to his Vineyard parable (Matthew 21:33-45, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19) specifically Marks version, Jesus says,

    6 “He had ONE more to send, a beloved son; he sent him LAST OF ALL to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’”

    Jesus was the last attempt to gather Jerusalem to him “like a hen gathers her chicks”. After that then the Gentiles would reap the benefits because of Israel’s disobedience. Jesus even said that the disciples would “not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:23) referring to the coming in judgment spoken of in Malachi 3:1-5. So Jesus knew that the time he had was short.

    The reason Christ was called “last of all” was because the seventy weeks of Daniel ran out three and a half years after Jesus died and after that the Apostles went to the Gentiles. Jesus had to fulfill all that was written about him and the Apostles would carry out the rest. But Daniel’s “seventy weeks” were required to be fulfilled first in which it says,

    “Seventy weeks have been decreed for YOUR people and YOUR holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.” (Daniel 9:24)

    If you’ve read Hebrews lately then you know that all these were fulfilled in Christ. Jesus had an agenda as do we all. Jesus said “I have other sheep that are not of this fold”, and it was not known what he meant, most likely, until Peter saw the vision of the sheet and the Lord sent him to Gentiles to see them filled with the Holy Spirit confirming that the Gentiles would also be heirs with the believing remnant of Israel. All this probably took place three and half years after Christ’s death and resurrection to fulfill Daniel 9:27

    “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering;”

    Which Jesus fulfilled with his death because no other sacrifice is needed after His own. The rest of the week would then run out three and a half years later.

    So the reason for these verses spoken of here is to say, 1) I was sent only to Israel to fulfill all that is written and I have only three and a half years and 2) to show the kind of child-like faith that is in the Gentiles to shame those who were the “Sons of the Kingdom” (Matthew 8:12)

    I honestly do not think this was meant to be a term of endearment but I also don’t think that Jesus was calling her a dog. Instead, I truly think he was giving an illustration using the Children/dog example. Parables and metaphors were common with Christ. The woman, realizing his illustration could also work for her, then utilized the same image to make her point.

    I just don’t see the problem with this one.

    In Jesus,

    Sam

  • JOrsak

    HeardofGod is spot on on this one.

    Christians are also referred to as “Sheep.” Anyone who has spent time with Sheep know that they are the stupidest animal alive. So, it is far from an endearing term.

    I just don’t see the big deal with this one either.

  • T.D. Brown

    Simply put this is prophetic to the woman being a gentile. At that time Jesus message was to the house of Isreal. I dont think that in no way shape or form that Jesus was prejudge her

  • TD Mauve

    Christ is a Jewish God, one that can grow and ‘learn’ from an exchange with Man. Here Christ erases once and for all any racist aspects of Christianity. Black Liberation Theology wilts in the sun of the truth of this story.

  • Dave

    Ok …. The words Dogs was used as a term for Gentiles used by the Jewish people of the day. But the very same word can be used as the endearment of puppies under the table also. The words Jesus says can have many meaning at the same time. I think I have an idea about why she said that response.

    “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
    Firstly she calls Jesus ‘Lord’ earlier in her response, recognising who he is.
    Jesus was saying wait because Jesus wanted to give the Jews a chance to respond first. But her response was pleading Jesus to do something for her child. She wanted a little bit as if like a crumb that a puppy joyfully leaps and eats when everyone else is eating. The puppy will get fed later by everyone in the house but it still gets a chance to eat the crumbs. So in essence Jesus chucks her a crumb.

    ok hope that made sense

  • Alexander

    Racist bastard and false profet to boot!

  • Alexander

    By the way, jews never called gentiles dogs. Don’t lie.

    • David

      sorry dude(Alexander) but i must say your ignorance is astounding.the term used by Jews to refer to Gentiles is goym.(not sure about the spelling) the Jews called All other races this word. look it up. the Jews had more love for their cattle than anyone that wasnt jewish. this is fact. do the research. this will continue until gods plan is completed.the Jews will learn the truth. They will be saved.They will repent and kneel before the one true king from the house of David

      • synp

        You do some research.

        Goyim (or גוים) is the plural form of the word Goy (גוי) which means “nation”. The term is used in the bible for Jews as well, when God promises Abram that his seed will become “a great nation” (Genesis 12), the word used for nation is “goy”.

        These days that word is used for the other nations (=non-Jews), and the singular is used to denote a singular non-Jew. But it is not inherently pejorative.

  • Prayer warrior

    Pray For Family That Live Beside me God will put Peace, Love & Joy in there heart. Family next door will get save in The Blood of Jesus Christ… Pray For Each Families Has Jobs With good Pay.
    I do Pray that any of our nation’s leaders who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior would develop a relationship with Him. Pray that those who are believers would grow closer to Him each day. In The Name Of Jesus Christ I Pray. Amen
    Please Pray for Street Bullies In The Name Of Jesus Christ & Pray For Schools
    Prays for President Obama and Wife, & Children’s and his new administration. Your efforts will work powerfully in our nation.
    I’M PRAYING FOR YOU AND OTHER PEOPLE AROUND ME
    Prayer for families is the very foundation that keeps a family unit together. Have you heard the phrase “A family that prays together stays together”? The concept is true – a family that has their focus on praying to the Lord Jesus Christ has a foundation that may be shaken at times, but it will withstand all that comes against them.
    Pray For World Homeless Families. & Please Pray For Homeless Women to… In The Name Of Jesus Christ
    Hear our prayers, O God, In The name of Jesus Christ I Pray
    Hear our prayers, O God;
    Incline your ear to us,
    and grant us your
    Matthew 7:7-11
    Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me. —Psalm 143:1
    Jesus calls the children dear,
    “Come to me and never fear,
    For I love the little children of the world;
    I will take you by the hand,
    Lead you to the better land,
    For I love the little children of the world.”
    Refrain
    Jesus loves the little children,
    All the children of the world.
    Red and yellow, black and white,
    All are precious in His sight,
    Jesus loves the little children of the world.

  • Prayer warrior

    Pray For Israel, & Jews

  • V. Menon

    Religious zealots of all hues will find some sublime interpretation for every naiive and/or idiotic words of the makers of their scripture.

    Look at these facts :

    The woman did not askn to be enlightened, baptised or sermonized. She had a simple and human appeal : please heal my suffering child.

    Did the son of god have to wait till all the suffering jews were healed? Couldn’t the guy who made bread for thousands from a few crumbs heal one gentile child while also healing others?

    If god loves all his children, why a priority listing for jews? Isn’t that racist?

    Jesus didn’t ask the woman to wait nor tell her come later. He simply ignored her in sulk.

    It was the desciples who took pity on her and begged him to heal the child.

    Cross your heart and tell me : If a muslim jihadi called Christians dogs would you interpret that as an endearing term?

    Is dog (not puppy)an endearing term in any race, let alone jews?

    When trapped by his disciples, Jesus turned the table on them. Why did the disciples have to be ashamed? Did they have an occasion to say the kind of words that the woman spoke? Hadn’t they suffered enough insults every time that they approached him with a question? Did they show anything but servitude in return?

    Let’s not forget that Jesus was speaking to the disciples, not the Jews at large. Even the Jews at large listened patiently to his new theories and praised him and pursued him until the day before his trial).

    I have heard Hindu Pundits interpreting Krishna’s urging Arjun to kill his relatives with sublime reasons; I have known Muslim Clerics explain at large why it was important for the Prophet to marry a pre-puberty girl or his own dauaghter-in-law, albeit divorced. . Christianity happens to be a lot more defensive because the sacred book is long-winded and hence more self-contradictory, racist, pornographic, violent and supportive of human sacrifice.

    • Shahin

      to correct you , “Prophet to marry a pre-puberty girl or his own dauaghter-in-law, albeit divorced” Aisha was not pre puberty when he married her she had reached puberty at 9 or 10 years of age. The age of puberty varies slightly with climate and usually, people living in desert climate have reduced ages of puberty and same is the case with arabs. Secondly, he did not marry his divorced daughter in law, Hafsa was the former wife of his freed slave Zaid whom he had ADOPTED as a son.

      • Colisha Harris

        Aisha was not 9 or 10 years old when she married Prophet Muhammad, she was at least 19.

        Aisha was betrothed to Jubayr ibn Mut’im ibn Adi, before Abu Bakr accepted Islam in the first year of the Call (12-13 years before the Hijrah, circa 610 CE). This is uncontested.

        When Abu Bakr planned to go to Abyssinia during the fifth year of the Call (8-9 years before the Hijrah), Mut’im broke off the engagement because Abu Bakr had accepted Islam. This is uncontested.

        Aisha remembered the Revelation of a verse known to have been revealed in the fifth year of the Call or before (i.e., 8-13 years before the Hijrah). This is uncontested.

        She was betrothed to the Prophet two years after the death of Khadija, or a year before the Hijrah (622 CE). This is uncontested.

        Aisha did not accompany her father and the Prophet during the Hijrah, but arrived in Madinah later, and became sick so that all of her hair fell out. This is uncontested.

        Aisha moved in with the Prophet a year or two after the Hijrah, or two to four years after her betrothal. This is unclear from the various reports, which give different time periods, but all are agreed as to the general time frame.

        Aisha was widowed in 11AH (the 11th year of the Hijrah). This is uncontested.

        She was a widow for about forty years and died in 50AH. This is uncontested.

        Among the people who report these facts is one Hisham bin ‘Urwa, the grandson of Asma and Aisha’s grand-nephew, who lived in Madina for 71 years and then moved to Iraq, who reported that Aisha died in 50AH. This is uncontested.

        Aisha’s older sister Asma was ten years older than Aisha. Asma was 27 at the time of the Hijrah, making Aisha 17. This is uncontested. Asma died at the age of 100 in 73AH. 23 years earlier, when Aisha died, Asma was 77. This is uncontested. Thus Aisha was 67 when she died in 50AH, seventeen at the time of the Hijrah, sixteen at the time of her betrothal to the prophet, and nineteen when she moved in with him.

        All of the reports saying that Aisha was six at the time of her betrothal to the prophet come from Iraq, as do all of the reports that she was nine when she moved in with the prophet. There are no reports of this from Makkah or Madinah. This is uncontested. Most of these reports from Iraq came through Hisham bin ‘Urwa, Asma’s grandson, mostly from his father. This is indisputable.

        Hisham bin ‘Urwa is said to have reported (1) that Aisha was nine in the second year of the Hijrah, (2) was widowed in the eleventh year of the Hijrah, and (3) died in the fiftieth year of the Hijrah ~ when his grandmother, ten years older than his great aunt Aisha, was 77.

        The same person who said Aisha was nine in 2AH also said she was 67 in 50AH.

        So the only reports that Aisha was six, or nine, come from someone who also reports that she had to be sixteen when betrothed, and nineteen when she moved in with the prophet.

        And every other report showing her to be much older than six is uncontested and considered reliable, while Hisham’s reports from Iraq are considered unreliable for obvious reasons.

        As for the Prophet Muhammad marrying his “daughter-in-law”, Zainab (not Hafsa) was not his daughter-in-law as Zaid was not his son by blood, but only a ward in his care. Zainab was Prophet Muhammad’s cousin. He had known her since childhood and it was he who had arranged for her to get married to Zaid. If there was to be an attraction why did he not encourage her to marry none but himself?

        The fact of the matter was that Zaid’s marriage proved to be an unhappy one. Zaid was a former slave and as such was held in low esteem in the eyes of Zainab. He mentioned to the prophet that he intended to divorce his wife. But the prophet advised him to keep his wife and avoid divorce. In the meantime, Zaid had intended to divorce her anyway, and eventually Zaid could maintain his marriage no longer. He divorced Zainab and Allah declared in his Glorious Book that he had wedded her to the prophet after the proper waiting period was over.

        The marriage served more than one purpose. First, the prophet was responsible for arranging Zainab’s marriage to Zaid. In a sense, then, he was also indirectly responsible for the unhappiness she felt in her marriage. Her marriage to Prophet Muhammad now provided her the honor she felt she deserved. Second, Zaid had been adopted as the prophet’s son. Eventually, however, the Qur’an prohibited the practice of changing the parental identity of adopted persons. Zaid, then, was no longer to be called “son of Muhammad” but rather “a close friend and brother in faith” The prophet’s marriage to the divorced wife of Zaid was a practical demonstration that the adopted relationship was not equal to a real blood-relationship. A man cannot marry the divorced wife of his real son but he can marry the divorced wife of his adopted son.

  • Sawyer

    As with all things several things are in play here. For one, Jesus did come primarily for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, which meant those who his Father (like a parent but simply the person that actually birthed him (Jesus) into their real Kingdom) so he was protective of his time and energy and of course that entails those who he did locate and was working with. Now comparing it to throwing his “bread” to the dogs wasn’t necessarily a degrading expression. It just wasn’t in his job description, thus was not his Father’s instrution at the time and instructions in the Kingdom of Heaven are of top importance just as they are amoung important organizations on Earth amoung humans. If you are a soldier and can’t follow instructions you are a danger to those around you and yourself. So Jesus had to pick and choose what he would do as there are ramifications. He knew he was hated by many, so he could have been walking into a trap or a difficult circumstance that could jeopardize the timely completion of the task he came to do. He wasn’t working for humans. He was working for the one he called His Father, a real person that humans just couldn’t see at the time but who Jesus knew was real and was present and who he answered to and sought guidence from so much so that when the women responded, he felt to change his mind and help her. Now on the aspect of the use of the word Dog. If I am a teacher of math and I have a college classroom and a grade school student wanders into my classroom if that were possible and started asking for/demanding time from the professor, the professor may say…sorry I don’t have time for 4th graders, my task is with these college students. Would that be a put down to the 4th graders? So it also is with the classrooms of the Kingdom of God. On Earth there are all sorts of grades and all can benefit from the presence of a teacher like Jesus but like I said before he has his post, though when he saw her faith and desire he changed his mind and helped her with her request. Now that is some teacher that is willing to change their mind as all are always capable of upgrading all that we do.

  • talykin

    Jesus calls the woman a dog and there’s no way around it. How dare you to explain or interpret, let alone know what God meant. That’s heresy if I’ve ever heard one. The Bible is a Holy Book and nothing can be written there that requires your apologizing for what our Saviour said. You read the Bible, you shut up and do what it says without thinking. Thinking is of Satan (so is reason and logic, by the way)
    Personally I think the woman was a dog and Jesus helped her regardless. That’s my man!

  • prayerwarrior

    Please Pray for Street Bullies In The Name Of Jesus Christ & Pray For Schools
    Pray For The Family Live Be side me & Around me. Bless There Home & Work & Shool. Bless There health to, & The One’s who do not know Jesus As There Saver Salvation will Get Saved In The Blood Of Jesus.

    Prayer of a Mother whose children are no longer at home. In The Name Of Jesus Christ
    I’M RAYING FOR YOU AND OTHER PEOPLE AROUND ME
    Prayer for families is the very foundation that keeps a family unit together. Have you heard the phrase “A family that prays together stays together”? The concept is true – a family that has their focus on praying to the Lord Jesus Christ has a foundation that may be shaken at times, but it will withstand all that comes against them.
    Prayers for Justice and Peace

  • observer

    If this had been a story with Mohammed refusing to help a Christian woman, referring to his own people as deserving and Christians as dogs, then being pleased and helping her only when she groveled and accepted that title and admitted she deserved only crumbs, no christian apologist would have any problem whatsoever calling a spade a spade. There would be no alcolades for this great “moral teaching” of Mohammed.

    A truly moral object lesson would have occured if Jesus had refrained from indulging/acting out prejudices that everyone is so quick to assume were not his own; refrained from ignoring her, refrained from calling her names, and had simply turned to her and said, “Oh my dear woman, of course I will help! I’m the perfect embodiment of the purest loving compassion towards all races, because all are exactly equal in my sight; nothing could possibly inconvenience almighty me, and that’s what I’m here for!” Period.

    Apologists, if you’re defending something here that you would not defend in any other person’s holy book, stop and take a good hard look at why you’re wearing these special glasses that only work one way. The first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem.

  • Janice

    We must understand that speciel things need be done in special situations at a specific time. But I am not seeing Jesus or God the Father as one who chooses a certain people to give special knowledge and attention to. I believe that there was a great need for a people during this time for this nation of people. It is difficult to talk about religious things nowadays because so many people get offended, take it personal, and get downright outrages. All I will say is that we must pray to God to search our hearts, teach us how to search and know ourselves as well as what God has us in line to do in our life path. Hatred, bickering, downtrodding,verbally assaultiveness, are note asssociated with “Fruits of the Spirit”, bottom line. “I am not seeing this calling of the lady a dog, but I am not going to debate about it, because, it;s neither here nor there. Let’s move on into our present and live into our future. We can interpret the Bible tenfold, and you will ALWAYS find someone who disgree with your interpretive understanding. What is the most important thing here? Arguing and debating over the dog thing or living as witness to God’s love on a daily basis. The time for this is gone, but many keep it alive. I choose to live into the faith given me that God the Father and the Son Jesus loves us all and have always loved us, and at time is not pleased with the things we do and the choices we make. Allow yourself to go past argumentative interpretations and move more towards Godly mental manisfestations for your heart.

    Peace

  • barnes

    Wow u guys … i used to get so angry about people like ‘observer’ above who has written a load of gobbledegook, about my god that loves me with all my faults, but i feel its fair to say you did all your observing with your eyes closed. Also why should be angry and argue with you and fight the battles for the Almighty when the Almighty always ends up bailing me out of my scrapes. for you observer wherever you are – whether you ever read this again or not, i pray that the Grace that god gave to us freely (his son Jesus) will fill your life and give you the faith u need to be able to see clearly. and i love you man/ or woman, cos that all i can do esp since god always loves me.

    In ref to this passage what i believe i shows is Jesus was asked a quest by a gentile in a place filled with Jews… no by some of you above saying it was not in his job description when he came down or he was only human… wow dangerous thoughts indeed. He was GOD – just in human form. in matter. how could he perform his miracles yeach his disciples and save the rest of humanity past and present by just being human??? come on. you look at the best most perfect person in the world that you could think of people would say, mother theresa, etc etc… but why wasn’t the salvation and fate of the world and all mankind resting on the shoulders of some poor woman? because she was not GOD incarnate… jesus was… and the above post that said – we should just take from the bible live it literally and never think?? well why does the bible bother telling us o meditate on the word?? also u think u could pick the bible – every word of it literally and live by it? come on? why would a god so infinite in his wisdom create dna and sperm plants, cell every minute thing that’s so complex no genius human has replicated, give us a book that ws just… abc – without meaning just literal, do this do thst. and then what would be th epoint o having the holy spirit to interpret the word? hmm didnt think bout tht huh?

    if u dont know ask god – even if you think uknw ask god. Its like when u was at school and u spelt a word wrong but u didnt know it was spelt wong. check check check with Him and he will answer. xxx Peace and Love Barnorelle out!!

  • arnes

    barnes, he doesn’t want your love he want’s your reply on things he spoke of. Why every time christians are asked logical questions or given logical thoughts they revert to “I’ll pray for you/love you/respect you” but give no clear answer?

    If Jesus (as is written in Bible(s)) only wanted to show that jews come first and THEN non-jews he could have used a better example and not the one using DOGS. If I give an example where I use a word DOG to relate to you barnes, would you not be offended deeply? I would and every normal person would too.

    I have read some portion of one Bible (I don’t know which) and I’m not a christian and I stopped because what I read there was completely different than I knew is used in many christian movies.

    For example, death of Judas has several contradicting versions which christians try to solve by harmonising and claiming that versions actually don’t contradict. Judas returned 30 silver pieces he got for his betrayal but he also bought a field with those RETURNED silver pieces, hanged himself then his body fell HEADLONG and his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Oh yeah, and he was trampled ALIVE by horses.

    I mean, seriously people, do you REALLY BELIEVE that Bible(s) are not tinkered with?!?

    And that is only a fraction. Yet even while knowing these discrepancies christians still believe that all are words of God all while not really caring for real historical facts.

    Do you know how many christian books were burned by the most important person of christianity – Constantine? Yes, I placed emperor Constantine who strangled his wife in a boiling water and killed his son too as a most important person in christianity for the good reason. He was the one who made christianity what it is today. He used jewish sect (at that time), changed it to his liking and the liking of non-jews – pagans (like Romans and Greeks who were accustomed on trinities, god’s family, sons of God(s), etc.) and made it mainstream. Even chrismass is based on pagan Saturnalia holiday and northern Yulsa deity. Please check ancient roman custom on Saturnalia and Yulsa holiday and you will SEE that christianity today IS NOT teaching which Jesus gave.

    IT IS CHANGED BY emperors and kings to suit their liking. And those that didn’t fit into their idea of christianity were burned.

    Constantine was a smart emperor he turned teachings of Jesus which were different with every “old man” (preost, later priest) and standardised it, stripped things that were very local and made it so that entire empire can accept it. He knew pagans view of christianity and knew how to ease them the conversion. What came was fusion of pagan worship and christianity just like what happened in south american countries or in other countries. Pagan deities survive by FUSION.
    Constantine went from bishop to bishop and using his influence asked them would they be “against” proclaiming Jesus as “of one substance with God”

    Todays christianity is imperialistic christianity which exists to (at that time) bring religious standardisation to the empire. Constantine knew too many different beliefs means disorder and chaos so he did what he thought a best thing for the empire.
    Even christian historians doubt his “conversion” because he continued to practice all pagan lifestyle like before.

    Now you have to ask yourself, why would a pagan wanted to make christianity a state religion of the empire? Give yourself that logical question and in searching for the answer don’t just look at bible websites. Look at objective historical books.

  • Die Boodskapper

    Here follows the true meaning of Jesus and the canaanite woman. Quoted from the old KJV.

    1) The version in Mark 7 indicates that this canaanite was from the area of Sidon. So in Genesis 10:15 indicates an area where the canaanites settled.

    2) Israelites were forbidden to mix with the Canaanites. Genesis24; Genesis 28; Deutronomy 7 on and on…..

    3) The finally to cap it all, to cast this for all time to come the Prophet Sagaria says it all, and it is God himself that speaks…..

    SAGARIA 14:21

    In that day there will be no canaanite in the house of the lord….EVER!!!

    4) This when Jesus told the Canaanite He was only send for the lost sheep of Israel fo the 12 tribes. He was in fact fullfilling prophesy. Sagaria 14:21

    5) Jesus also makes this clear in MATT 10:5-6

    6) So we can see that Israel is a phisical entity to this day.

    7) If you know your Old Testament you will know that Israel currently are divided in two kingdoms namely the Jews and the Israelites. I you have trouble finding this. Just google it on Wikipedia.

    Jesus was send for the sins of the world??

    Not quite lets have a look….

    8) MATT 1:21 And you will bare a son and you must call him Jesus because it is Him that will be the redeamer of his people ISRAEL!!!!

    Need I say more…..HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  • Tsone

    Read this for a better analysis of the text in question.

    The text needs to be observed in a historical and cultural context. Jesus was Jewish, and he knew how the Jewish viewed the Canaanites back then:

    “From a religious standpoint, Greeks had no status in the Jewish religion or God’s kingdom. A Canaanite, the enemy of God’s people, would have been despised. One might conclude that through the eyes of Jewish men, a Greek- Canaanite woman would have been considered sub-human, perhaps to the extent of being unworthy of life itself.”

    If you keep this in mind, Jesus actually breaks away from the social norm by responding to the “sub-human” woman’s plea by healing her demon-possessed daughter. Most of Jesus’ Jewish followers probably thought he was there only for Israel, but this act was to show they were wrong. If Jesus was the Messiah, he already knew they would not accept him as the Messiah, hence this act.

    PS. They also had Canaan dog breed around. I don’t know if they called the breed “Canaan dog” back then… but anyways, Jesus might have actually made a pun here referring the woman literally a Canaan dog, i.e. the breed. This probably has some special type of connotation, which I’ve not yet understood…?

    PPS. Have you noticed Canis is the genus, which dogs belong to? The words “Canaan” and “Canis” (latin) are quite close.

  • mikey

    What if Jesus was showing his funny side. His disciples tell him to not even bother with her. What if he was proving a point to his disciples. For them to realize that they were the ones being prejudice. What f Jesus was having fun with the situation and the woman caught on to it.

  • Bible Study

    Jesus did not call her a dog, he said it is not right to take the childrens meat and give it to dogs. Is this not a true statement. Do you not feed your children first. Jesus said many things that are true to see if people had an evil heart. If the woman would have had an evil heart believing that he was speaking of her because of the timing of this true statement, she would have thought he was evil, then got upset and walked away unsaved. But she knew, or believed, that he would not turn her away like some dog, but that he would give to her because he loves all like children. So she stayed with him and he did. Had she been a dog in his sight, he would not have given of the childrens meat to her. Since he does what is right and he gave to her, he must not have thought she was a dog huh. Therefore, he wasn’t calling her a dog, but letting her own heart judge her.

  • scribecorner

    Hey there, just came across this post and I must say I understand how disgusted you may feel about Jesus calling the woman a dog. I totally understand how you feel about this. I am not going to argue with you and by all means I have nothing against you. But have you heard of the phrase- “actions speaks louder than words”. Okay let’s consider this wise phrase which doesn’t come from the Bible you so detest. So in these verses what are the actions?
    1)A Canaanite woman came to Jesus
    2)When she pleaded with Jesus, He ignored her
    3)The disciples so fed up with the constant plea of the woman, ask Jesus to send this annoyance away. (A little background on this, the disciples were Jews and yes, the Jews hated the Gentiles especially the Canaanites because of the long history of wars between them. I urge you to do a little unbiased research on this.)
    4)Jesus answered. Now before we go into what Jesus answered and how He ignored this woman let’s take a look at the disciples’ attitude towards non-Jews or Gentiles. Many of them had an attitude against Gentiles. Let’s consider Jesus wanted to deal with this attitude and highlight the fact that He came to save more than just the Jews, but the whole world, including you and I. Jesus knew that the woman had much faith. So, He put the disciples to test and also the woman’s faith to test. How did the disciples react? They definitely didn’t react in love, like they were supposed to. Rather than pleading with Jesus to help this woman they wanted Him to shoo her away just because she was from Canaan.
    5)The woman’s faith carries her through, she knows her healing comes from the Lord. She also did not object to Jesus’ answer (wonder why?). She pursues and pleads with Him again.
    6) The answer that came from this woman taught the disciples a lesson.
    7) Jesus commends her faith and grants her request. The daughter was healed.
    So the final outcome is He healed her daughter irrespective of her being a Canaanite. Here I am a non-Jew, who wasn’t raise in a Christian family, but chose to be Christian and not by force or coercion. Here I am saying I am so glad Jesus came to seek, save and heal all gentiles including the bad ones like me. Well much prayer and love to you and your family. Hope you are not offended, meant to just present to you the other side of the debate :). peace.

    • arnes

      I’m not angry at Jesus at all because I don’t believe in authenticity of Bible(s). So anything against Jesus in there I don’t accept.

      I just like to take comment on these things to show errors in Bible to make people see that it was a work of men. Men who were very human.

      As for the dog example I stick to my claim. Here’s why:

      First, like I said before one could use a less insulting metaphor than that with a dog.
      Second, if he wanted to show his disciples that he was also preaching to non-jews… why not just say:
      “Hey, listen up! I’m not sent just for jews but for all people on the Earth! Stop looking down upon gentiles!” PERIOD.
      Whole Bible would be filled with instructions from Jesus to go forth and spread this teachings to whole world.

      All we have is Paul’s dream.
      And even when some started to preach to gentiles jewish christians came to them and warned them that teachings of Jesus are not for gentiles. Peter defended this idea but not with words or even actions of Jesus but his own opinions. Spreading of teachings of Jesus was Paul’s and Peter’s idea, NOT of Jesus!

      Thirdly, one could somehow say: “OK gentiles took teachings of Jesus, but AT LEAST they could follow all ceremonies and rituals that Jesus followed: circumcision, abstaining from pork, etc.” But no! Christians say: “Well, those were jews where Jesus was preaching (always evading to say that he was a jew himself) so we can eat pork, and don’t need to circumcise ourself because we’re not jews.

      Such hypocrisy!
      Even though prohibition of pork is in the Bible you divide the Bible on what is/is not for whom.

      The Old Testament was added to the Bible (which means a collections of books, letters, etc.) in order to give a certain “holiness” to the Bible because, believe it or not Bible was lacking it in the beginning!
      Since jewish Old Testament had long history and “holiness” Bible needed it to give weight to it’s holiness.

      In the beginning most christians were jews(of jewish origin who followed teaching of Jesus to follow the laws of Moses) but after roman attack and pillage many were killed and those outcast christians (gentile christians) became flag bearers of christianity. From then on gentile christian hatred against jewish christians flamed because they constantly reminded them that they were not to exist at all.

      New Testament is mostly collections of letters of Paul. How is he authority on what Jesus said?
      He never met him!

      • yallways

        Oh judge lest thou be judged my little dork. I see you have no true knowledge of what Christ was really saying nor who He really was. Ye Dog! But that’s okay. Despite your downfalls and ignorance like that of a dog, your faith will still sustain you. Even regardless of the fact that you will carry on the wrong message and corrupt the world with your tongue. Your faith will still sustain you because your faith is a product of verses here and verses there but your knowledge is not of the Spirit. So you know He IS and you know he HEALS but, like a dog, you carry on just eating and being nourished by the crumbs whilst not knowing the true joy of having the meal.

  • dan

    Wow Hey clueless “O daughter of Babylon … happy is the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock! – Psalms 137:8a,9″

    This is speaking of the sins of Babylon and they are happy in doing evil !!!!

    Wow can you really be so confused …

  • Bible Study Online

    There are no errors with the bible only in the understanding of it. The bible has hidden meanings that cannot be understood with natural wisdom. Jesus said except “you drink my blood and eat my flesh you have no life in you”. He did not mean this literally just as the commandments for sinners to be stoned in the old testament. To be stoned represents having the word of god given to you. Jesus is the “stone” which is put at nought of you builders according to the bible. So when we stone someone, it is metaphoric of presenting Jesus to them because they are in sin. We do not have to did up Jesus body to drink his blood and eat his flesh to be saved either. If we did, we would be in trouble because his body was raised and he now is in heaven. The bible is poetic and cannot be follow with natural wisdom. THis is why the bible tells us that natural man cannot receive the word of God. There is no error in scripture and this is seen by many who have spiritual understanding. With spiritual understanding, there are no contradictions or impossiblities, like stoning someone. Giving a sinner the gospel of Jesus is stoning them spiritually. The old testament is a natural picture of something spiritual as written in Hebrews 10.

    • arnes

      Do you understand that you use your own human logic and explanations (which are very bad anyway) to explain something that is supposed to be from God to people.

      “The bible has hidden meanings that cannot be understood with natural wisdom.”

      Really? Natural wisdom? For whom is it made for then?

      “To be stoned represents having the word of god given to you.” Wow. I’m speechless. By your account Jesus was using a lot of methaphors for very simple ideas.
      Can I try it? If someone say: “I’ll beat you with a baseball bat!” perhaps he meant that he’ll give me a religious lecture.

      “Jesus is the ‘stone’ which is put at nought of you builders according to the bible.
      So when we stone someone, it is metaphoric of presenting Jesus to them because they are in sin.”

      No this line doesn’t tell that but tries to tell this:
      You try to build (live your life correctly) but without the essential Jesus block. It has no connection to stoning the sinners.

      “The bible is poetic and cannot be follow with natural wisdom. THis is why the bible tells us that natural man cannot receive the word of God. There is no error in scripture and this is seen by many who have spiritual understanding.” So I have to be unnatural to be able to receive it. It all sounds a bit …you know…those cults that try to tell you that in order to find the truth you have to believe strongly in cults ideas. But if I become strong believer I’ll stop asking questions, won’t I?
      And I’ll use then the same metaphors like you are using right now to swindle other people?

      “With spiritual understanding, there are no contradictions or impossiblities, like stoning someone.”

      I know, I know. With “spiritual understanding” you can justify just about ANYTHING!

      “Giving a sinner the gospel of Jesus is stoning them spiritually.”
      Please stop.

      To conclude, using metaphors is always the best way to stay vague and to explain just about everything. When people start using it repeatedly to justify something than it means they’re out of real arguments.
      Words, words and more words. Natural man cannot understand the word of Bible but you sure can and are expert at explaining what Jesus meant some 2000 years before.

      Also, ‘natural man’ could be talking to people who can’t read because world was filled with illiterate people back then. See, another explanation. I now have power to justify just about ANYTHING!!!

  • Christian

    God forgive them for they know not what they do.

  • Bible Study Online

    I am not a natural man, the bible teaches that when we receive the spirit of God we are spiritual beings. And yes, even Jesus said he would speak in parables that those who are without (unsaved without the spirit) could not understand because they have (natural) eyes but see not and ears to hear (natural) but cannot hear (what the spirit is saying). I’m sorry but the bible is deeper than what appears on the surface and the bible itself is clear that it is metaphoric with parables, it’s in there if you would read it all. It also says that we are to compare spiritual things with spiritual, and we search the deep things of God, not what appears on the surface, the bible contains mysteries, hidden wisdom, it even tells us this within itself. And no Jesus was not speaking of eating his literal flesh when he told us we have no live in us except we eat his flesh and drink his blood. No one did this naturally, but he agreed they were still his disciples because they did it spiritually. God is not evil, he just wrote things that evil men will use because they can’t see past their own evil heart of unbelief, they are blind to spiritual truth, but Jesus is able to open their eyes, it they would just ask. Some may laugh, but if they could only see, the bible tells us many will mock because they don’t understand. But that is ok, it doesn’t make it untrue, just unseen by the natural mind. Without the spirit, all are natural and are blind to spiritual truth, Jesus alone can open the eyes of the spiritually blind. Another metaphor I might add. Oh and Jude (in the bible) said that many will speak evil of what they understand not, but what they know NATURALLY, as natural brute beasts, and in those things (natural understanding) they corrupt themselves. Oh the depth and the wisdom of God that has very intelligent men and women in the dark because his ways are so far above theirs. God bless.

  • Muhammad Nabeel

    So Jesus called us pet dogs..!

  • Zach Dawes

    I ran across your blog when doing some research on this strange and troubling text. I agree that there are a lot of unholy things in the bible, and there are many Christians (like myself) who find it repulsive. However, there are those (like myself) who try to approach the texts from an anthropological perspective and find a progression toward a of violence in the biblical narrative, which some have rightly called a “text in travail.” That is, the bible records a lot of unholy things that are wrongly attributed to the divine, but read anthropologically the bible tells a story of the struggle to overcome the tragic human tendency to justify unjustifiable things (such as the violence described in Psalm 137.8-9) by removing the veil that seeks to hide the lie of divinely ordained violence. I would suggest works by Rene Girard (and others who follow his theory) for a helpful analysis of the lie of divine violence that is present in the bible and yet in the process of being exposed as the biblical thought progresses toward a renunciation of violence and the embrace of mercy and compassion to all. I’ve found the following essay extremely helpful in understanding what is going on in the story of this “canaanite” woman: http://www.tsm.edu/sites/default/files/Faculty%20Writings/LeMarquand%20-%20The%20Canaanite%20Conquest%20of%20Jesus.pdf

  • Zach Dawes

    I ran across your blog when doing some research on this strange and troubling text. I agree that there are a lot of unholy things in the bible, and there are many Christians (like myself) who find it repulsive. However, there are those (like myself) who try to approach the texts from an anthropological perspective and find a progression toward a renunciation of violence in the biblical narrative, which some have rightly called a “text in travail.” That is, the bible records a lot of unholy things that are wrongly attributed to the divine, but read anthropologically the bible tells a story of the struggle to overcome the tragic human tendency to justify unjustifiable things (such as the violence described in Psalm 137.8-9) by removing the veil that seeks to hide the lie of divinely ordained violence. I would suggest works by Rene Girard (and others who follow his theory) for a helpful analysis of the lie of divine violence that is present in the bible and yet in the process of being exposed as the biblical thought progresses toward a renunciation of violence and the embrace of mercy and compassion to all. I’ve found the following essay extremely helpful in understanding what is going on in the story of this “canaanite” woman: http://www.tsm.edu/sites/default/files/Faculty%20Writings/LeMarquand%20-%20The%20Canaanite%20Conquest%20of%20Jesus.pdf

  • BASEDBOY

    He called her a bitch.

  • Sam

    re: Zach Dawes… thank you for the brightest comment on this blog!! i also stumbled on this blog while looking up the passage (to reply to a friend’s facebook post on bloodshed in bibical quotes). like politicians and others in the public eye, it’s ridiculous to try to justify or condemn someone based on holding them to the highest possible standards of never having had even one documented interaction that may reflect poorly on their perfection. i agree that his actions spoke louder than his words, his context of the hatred between their peoples led to perhaps a peer pressure kind of criticism of the lady’s heritage but also eased his followers into the conversation that led her to show her humility and strength/need as well as Jesus to show he’d do the good deed. it also is consistent with her (and His) faith as well as deeds being the sources and criteria for goodness (ahh, yet another hot topic).

  • Tom S.

    Jesus called her a dog…period! Jews didn’t have pets in those days, any more that other semitic people did. Dogs were despised and abused, and if they were kept at all it was as guard animals, never as household pets. The “puppy” explanation is so contrived, that is ridiculous and laughable.

  • David

    As a Christian, I have struggled with this one. However, I have come to the following conclusion. Perhaps out of truth, perhaps out of necessity. Anyway, it seems to me that one of the key factors in the miracles that Jesus performed was the participation of the individuals faith and beliefs. Almost every time a miracle was performed the interaction varied. For example, the centurion believed that like in his hierarchy of command, Jesus need not visit his home, but only give the word. Jesus gave the word. The woman with the issue of blood believed that, “if she could only touch the hem of His robe”. She did. The man with leprosy believed that, “if you want to, you can heal me”. Jesus responded, “I want to”. All of these and more seem to tap into spiritual faith through worldly belief. What I see in this parable is a woman who cries out, “Lord, son of David have mercy on me.” In the single statement she defines her relationship as disconnected ethnically and unworthy. I believe that Jesus’ tone of response was not as harsh as we think. I think He spoke at her belief that she was not worthy. Therefore He unlocked a belief that was sufficient to heal. Paraphrased for tonality it would sound like this. Woman: I know I am not worthy because I am not a Jew but have mercy on me. Jesus: If what you believe is that I am not here for you, and you are no more than a dog why would I help you? Woman: (with sudden awareness in her voice) Because even as lowly as I am, a dog would still get scraps from the masters table. Jesus: (with a “you got it now” tone) There ya go, that’s all the faith you need, your request is granted”.

    It seems that Jesus longed to and ultimately did repair the separation of man from God.

  • joanne

    That commentary was a joke. Just another example of modern christianity twisting the scriptures and trying to turn jesus into a soft, fuzzy teddy bear (or cute little puppy dog?!) who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Something my pastor said last evening – if professing christians were honest, atheists would be few.

    I used to be an atheist until I looked in the bible and realized that most of professing christianity does not follow the jesus that is in the bible. I wonder why they don’t just get their own religion instead of pretending to be christians?

    I’m with Tom S. … a dog is a dog. Period. I think the purpose of this scene was to show HER heart. So many today say they believe that Jesus is the Christ but they are not willing to follow him (i.e. pretend christians). And then when someone holds the TRUTH in front of their face, they get offended, say the truth bearer is ‘judging’ or ‘condemning’ them, and yell and scream (all of which is against the teachings of Christ). Yet an honest professing christian would LOVE and embrace the truth, even if it hurts. They would follow after it no matter the cost.

  • Erod1014

    I am a christian & so have an issue with this story abouth this gentile woman been called a dog by Jesus. It’s not His character. He is sweet, gentle & compassionate. I don’t understand it. I know his delays always had a purpose, ex: Lazzarus death, when He took 4 days to get there & the man was already dead. Nothing I have read in this blog satisfies my puzzlement. I also wonder if the jews who have accept Him as their Messiah, where would the gentiles be standing right now? Would us be still part of the plan? I was taught not to question the Bible & accept it as it is. I have for many years. But this fact about this gentile woman troubles me. I know He came for the house of israel, so where were we in His plan if the jews had accepted him. Anyone have any biblical insights?

  • joanne

    Erod – I suggest you re-read the gospels and get a clearer picture of Christ. There are plenty of times he called people what they were. A few names that come to mind: hypocrite, fox, blind guides, child of hell, full of dead man’s bones, unclean, serpents, generation of vipers, etc.
    He also drove people out of the temple while turning over tables and so on.

  • Matthew

    I am a Christian and a pastor and this is one of my favorite stories from the Gsopels.

    The way I read this story is that Jesus does insult the woman. It doesn’t sound like an especially mean-spirited insult to me (like “pig” would have been) but it’s still not very nice. He’s basically placing her beneath the Jews in importance.

    The woman humbles him with her answer, reminding him that God’s mercy should trump race and clan. She catches the son of God in a narrow-minded mistake and calls him on it. It’s very much in the tradition of Abraham arguing with God over the fate of the cities of the plain, or Job raging against God about the injustice of his suffering. When anyone, even God (or Jesus), says or does something this out of line, the faithful thing to dois call them on it (that’s why Job is praised and his friends who are trying to defend God are condemned, BTW).

    Jesus shows his humanity in his insulting remark, but what comes next is the heart of the parable. Jesus, caught in a mistake, concedes the woman’s point. He doesn’t say, “Don’t you dare question me!” or curse the woman, or do anything against her. Essentially, his actions say, “You are right, I was wrong. I will do what you ask.” He heals the child and never makes this kind of dismissive remark to a foreigner again.

    Jesus sees his mistake and changes his mind. His honesty and compassion are stronger than his need to be right. I find it very inspiring.

  • David

    joanne – I agree that Jesus had no problem getting in people’s faces on certain topics. He seemed especially passionate regarding hypocrisy and those who attempted to block access to God. My explanation is, of course, an attempt to understand something that seems a bit disjointed. In only a few sentences we go from “you’re not worthy” to “you have great faith and you daughter is healed”. So my intention was not to “warm and fuzzy” this but it was my attempt to try to understand the context. I will be the first to admit that I don’t have the answers, I just wanted to weigh in on the topic of discussion and share my walk with everyone in trying to better understand. I am sure as I pursue Him I will get it wrong a lot, I just hope He appreciates my pursuit, ’cause I’m gonna fall a lot.

    • joanne

      David – I was by no means accusing you of making it ‘warm and fuzzy’ … just saying that that is the image most professing christians today try to give Jesus [specifically, I was pointing the finger at the commentary you quoted in your post]. Their Jesus wouldn’t send hardly anyone to hell and he certainly would not call people names or expect them to quit sinning.

      Or, in the case of what the commenter Matthew said just above your comment, Jesus just needed to be put in his place. I cannot believe a ‘pastor’ would actually think Christ was committing a sin (pride). Christ was tempted as we are yet he was without sin. He is not Job and he is not Abraham. He is God in the flesh. Christ would not need to be humbled by a woman and put in his proper place!!! Matthew (the commenter) said Christ saw his mistake and changed his mind. His honesty and compassion are stronger than his need to be right. WHAT? This is heresy.

      I stand on what I said originally – This woman could have got offended and walked away sorrowful or angry or whatever, but instead SHE humbled herself, and went after the truth. She revealed her heart.

  • Erica

    I’m with Joanne on this one, and even as a child and a female, I’ve never found it troubling. On the contrary, as a little girl hearing this story, I was struck by the natural play–and even “play-acting”, if you take my meaning–between Christ and this woman. I’ve always pictured a grin on his face at her snappy answer, an answer that may have shocked desciples and guests with its bald demand.

    Look, this woman was foreign (strike one), and female (strike two) and DEMANDING (strike three, and she should be out). In a typical, human household of the time, she would be chucked out on her ear. Jesus, however, wasn’t typical, and she knew it. And HE knew she knew.

    I’m filled with admiration by two things: how many of Jesus’ interactions were engineered to point out the “incomplete” (immature?) belief of his desciples (and thus us) TO his desciples (and thus us). And I’m also struck by each of Jesus’ interchanges with women, and how he insisted on his desciples’ acknowledgement of a woman’s capacity for keen, mature and profound faith. And Jesus never let his desciples forget it…EVER.

    Plus, there’s the “foreign” thing, with all its implications for our salvation (praise GOD!). I picture a modern voice of his saying, “You want to play games with faith, boys? You want to tut-tut all but the most holy of Jews? Well, HERE’S faith!”

    Faith won’t say “no”. Faith refuses to take “no” for an answer. Faith doesn’t demur, or sidle up to God, or play games, play favorites, or stand on ceremony. Faith is agressive. It INSISTS on being heard.

    Faith is the woman with the issue of blood, touching Christ’s rainment, not only because she was in desperate trouble, but because her trouble and sharpened her faith into a keen and blazing certainty that he WOULD help. Jesus didn’t just “say” “Your faith has made you well”. He didn’t just…say it to “say it!”

    This woman at Jesus’ feet…she didn’t demand help to flirt with him. And he didn’t throw out a casual insult to her, either. His was a challenge, not just to her, but to his other listeners. “Why should you deserve my grace, you…a foreigner and not one of this Good Ol’ Boy Club?”

    And she answers, in metaphor, “Because even we foreigners await your pleasure, and trust you will fill us with your goodness. We’re your children, too!”

    “YES!” Jesus says. “This one, at least, GETS IT!”

  • Kirk

    Why not let Jesus word just stand, without trying to read something else into it? In Genesis we read that God will put enmity between Satan’s SEED & Eve’s SEED. People always want to say it does not mean that Satan has offspring one earth. God told Abraham his SEED would be many nations & many Kings, so I guess Abraham has no SEED either and this just means something other than what it says?
    Maybe the Canaanite woman was a mix of Adams seed & Satan’s seed like in Gen 6:4. Jesus said he came ONLY for the lost sheep of Israel. All races on earth can’t be Israelites. So the church has been telling the world salvation is for everyone when it’s clearly not. I hate to burst christians bubble but all races did not come from Adam as you were taught in church. It’s absurd for anyone to believe that. Cain killed Able and Cain told God everywhere I go in the earth people will be out to kill me. WHAT PEOPLE!? And Cain went to the far land of Nod were he took a wife & built a GREAT city. Who was this wife if not his sister from Adam & Eve? And it takes hundreds if not thousands of people to build a great city. There were pre-Adamites on earth before Adam was formed. That’s the only way God can look righteous when he orders the killing of every Canaanite man, woman, child & infant. One scripture says take the children to the edge of town & kill them. Jesus was talking about children & said these are the likes of the Kingdom of Heaven as tho children who die go to heaven, yet children are to be killed? If they were Mongrels from Adams sons & daughters mating with the peoples around them then yes it makes sense. God told them time & time again not to take husbands & wives from the peoples around them. Not because those peoples were sinners and Israelites were not, but because they were either pre-adamites or the offspring of fallen angels Gen 6:4.

  • Paula

    So the moral of the story is, even if the son of God calls you a dog, just keep trying and maybe he’ll change his mind? Or try to see past the sting of his insult and give him the benefit of the doubt? It’s stuff like this that has me seriously rethinking a lot of things. I’m tired of fighting for making sense of senseless situations and giving him the benefit of the doubt. I’m just tired of the guessing game.

  • StPaul

    I think it is quite clear when Jesus says himself that he was only “sent to the lost sheep of Israel”. Calling the gentile woman a dog, whether you see it affectionate or an insult is beyond the point. The point is, Jesus is portrayed to have not answered her at first, as though very reluctant to even speak to her. This reluctance in itself shows clearly that Jesus (or at least this depiction of him) was not the kind, merciful character we have come to know.

    Therefore, the fact he himself claimed to be sent only to the lost sheep of Israel i.e the Jews, would make it more sensible for a) him to insultingly call her a dog, and b) makes it more likely that he did not answer her at first due to his reluctance, which in turn is due to his bias against non-Jews.

  • Bubba

    So, let me get this straight. You can handle worshiping a God who elevated a group of people that committed genocidal atrocities against Gentiles to the position of “Children of God”, “His Chosen People”, and yet you are alarmed by the fact that Jesus called a Gentile woman a “dog”? Do you not realize that the Bible is little more than an account of how much “God” loves the Jews and hates the Gentiles? Talk about swallowing an elephant an choking on a gnat! Just a few years ago (2010), Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – a highly regarded religious authority in Israel – spoke the plain truth regarding the view of orthodox Jews on Gentiles: “Goyim (i.e. Gentiles) were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel. That is why gentiles were created.” Of course, Jewish organizations in the West denounced Rabbi Yosef’s words. Who needs that kind of press? But Rabbi Yosef is merely repeating “God’s” promises to the Jews in the Bible (Deuteronomy 15:6, Isaiah 14:1-2, 49:22-23, 61:5-7, etc.). Jesus was missioning to the Jews only. He wanted them to overcome their sectarian differences so they could unite, overthrow the Roman occupation, and establish a divinely inspired state which would eventually come to rule over the entire world. That was and remains the traditional role of the Messiah in Judaism. If Jesus granted the Gentile woman her wish, it was only because she did not contradict him when he confronted her with a Jewish view of things: If you are a Gentile, you can only be saved if you submit to the rule of the Jews, as a dog submits to the rule of its master. For all of you Gentiles who can read Matthew 15:22-28 and remain whole-heartedly Christian, I say this: You are, indeed, good and willing slaves, and you shall enjoy a place beneath the feet of the Jews, both upon the earth and in the “New Jerusalem”. For the rest of you: Free yourself entirely from the insanely bigoted notion that the Jews (or the Christian, or the Muslims) have some kind of monopoly on God. God gave you a heart and a mind. Use them both wisely, and you’ll do fine. If that’s not enough for you, if you require a set of laws and governance, replete with threats of eternal punishment, to tell you what to believe and what to do, then maybe you really aren’t fit for anything other than slavery…

  • Healing our Institutions (Starting with the Boy Scouts) | Commentary by Allan

    [...] a dog, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” (Matthew 15:22-28), is offensive. As for science, Einstein’s theory of relativity is widely accepted, but [...]

  • Kwadwo Obeng

    The reply of Jesus seems overly harsh, especially in view of his referring to the woman and her black ancestry as “dogs.”
    The Jews called the Gentiles “dogs” in the same way we would call a black person a “nigger”.

    See John 4:9: 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a]”

    Remember, they used to have separate fountains for Blacks and White in the U.S. and apartheid South Africa.

    Jesus’ calling the woman a dog was a term of contempt not endearment. Brothers and sisters do not call each other ‘dogs’. This is how Jews of his day felt about Canaanites, who are depicted as Black people. Being descendants of Canaan who was cursed by Noah. The curse was later transferred to all of Ham’s children. Hence the ‘curse of Ham’ on Mizriamites (Kemites of Egyptians), Kushites (Ethiopians) and other Africans.
    Jesus was a Jewish man with a god complex. Here he was referring to all Africans (blacks) as dogs. Jesus was racist and certainly not a divine being worthy of our worship.

    Calling us gentiles, dogs, is like Caucasians calling Black People the ‘N’-word.

    My question is why are African people all crazy about worshipping this racist pretender of a savior and as our king? We are brain-stained (brainwashed) by Europeans with their religion of Christianity and Jews with Judaism.

    Jesus should not be god of African people.

  • Tom Cavanaugh

    I was reading the responses to the passage where Jesus called non Jews dogs. I feel that most of you missed the real problem with this passage.

    Jesus in his own words said he came to save the Jews. He failed in his mission. The Jews didn’t accept him then and don’t to this day. Since most Christians believe that Jesus was God what follows is that God failed. In Mathew 23 verse 37 Jesus admits he failed in his mission.

  • Christian

    Didnt the disciples behave as dogs while this poor woman was pleading for her daughters health? Could he be calling them dogs? Is not her need for her daughter more akin to the childrens bread whereas the disciples lack of compassion makes them like dogs who dont derserve to be fed first? Could she be then defending the disciples? Or could he not be harsh to show the disciples what such a standpoint looks like? Could he not read their hearts and know they were viewing her as such, and expose them? His answer ‘I was only sent to lost sheep of Isreal’ is in response to the disciples request to send her away, and allows the woman to come forward. If he is saying what it seems he is at first glance, then how come his answer to the disciples allows her to come forward? Was he being sarcastic? Did he actually say you’re a dog? Or did he draw a metaphor between the nation of israel expecting a messiah through prophecy prior to salvation everywhere else. Did he not send the disciples ahead of him throughout israel during his ministry, before sending them to the whole world after his resurrection? In Mark gospel, he says let the children be fed first, hence does he ever say the dogs wont be fed. This parable to me seems to highlight timing of things rather than hierarchy of jews above everyone else. You do whats needed first then whats second, first the blade, then the ear then the full grain within the ear. If he’s rascist why go in that area, or even heal her daughter at all? I consider being called by God a dog a truth, I am a dog for my sins, and I’ll relish his crumbs that fall. The smallest crumb, Lord, will suffice, your grace is sufficient. I’m not unwilling to hear what everybody’s had to say, I’m interested. Notice how she changes from ‘Son of David’ to ‘Lord’, was she using a jewish title not being a jew and believing in David anyway to win favour, something the Pharisees did ‘teacher we know you are good…’. Doesn’t he really consider the pharisees the actual dogs? Doesn’t this woman and the centurion have to show incredible faith before a miracle, ‘I dont deserve you under my roof’? Can you truly humble yourself before The Lord? Does he expose bigotry of disciples instead of joining in? Have not the disciples and Him come to this region for a rest he promised them? Is their need a priority as well, can he just get up and go and save her daughter when they need the rest? Or can he do both at the same time, by giving them rest and her a crumb for her daughter from afar? Are the ‘children’ the disciples, the woman or the nation of israel? If this is to be taken at face value and is racist, then if I were corrupt and in charge, I would have taken it out of the bible to conceal such contradiction, but it was left in when edited, therefore is there not a hidden meaning? Is this healing only but a crumb of what he did in Israel? My dog always wants crumbs before his dinner, I love him so much. Maybe I’m wrong, but Lord I want the truth to set me free, I’ve had racism all my life, but the Lord has saved me and will save me more. God bless.

  • Christian

    Also, he doesnt say ‘we were only sent to the lost sheep of israel’ or ‘you weren’t sent only to the lost sheep of israel’. He is answering the disciples in their request to tell her to go away. they could have been saying, send her away by healing her! to which he prompts them to heal her, if they have enough faith of a mustard seed, as his mission was to israel who were expecting him but rejected him. He does send the disciples to all nations eventually, once all is fulfilled. Is he telling them to realise their mission is to be just that? To which they can’t and he heals her daughter after such a massive display of faith and understanding of the order of things and humility. Like the centurions humility? So many questions! I suppose the obvious conclusion people jump to is racism and cruelty on His part. But then why not say it in even plainer terms, ‘Go away, I hate all non-jews, you are a dog’ as opposed to parable/metaphor speech and healing eventually.This makes me think there is much more to this than meets the eye. Yeshua always speaks this way, and even one sentence can take ages to grasp, or even get close.

  • Christian

    I’m gonna keep coming back here as I understand it better and wait for replies! I’m really interested in these lines of scripture. Notice how he calls her ‘Woman’, the only other person he calls ‘woman’ is… Mary, his mother. ‘whoever does the will of my father is my mother…’. At the beginning of his ministry ( to Mary) ‘woman why do you ask this of me before my time?’ and at the end… ‘woman behold your son, son behold your mother’. He has elevated this pagan to the name he has called his mother at key times in his life. How impressed is he with this pagan? Also, the woman is a sinner, as are we all, but also a pagan worshiping idols. Far from the ‘children’ who the bread has to go to first. The bread should go to the righteous, let alone to sinners, let alone to pagan sinners. There is a chasm of a difference. ‘it is not proper to give that which the righteous should have ( which sinners will get) to the pagan sinners’!

  • Christian

    Canaanite’s were the most brutal of pagans, barbaric even by other pagans standards. They were in the practice of child sacrifice through burning children. “Do you want me to save your daughter from demons so that you can burn her and sacrifice her to you gods?” Perhaps, Yeshua (Jesus) was right and she is as a dog compared to children in his metaphor, or comes from dogs?! How come this woman is in no way offended, rather she agrees, but we are offended? We are quick to drop God if he doesn’t fit our view of him. She doesn’t drop God at all. ‘if he said that i can’t go on believing in him’, ‘what kind of man is this?’ ‘ i would never say that’. I’ve probably been encountered with some deep questions from studying this, and probably failed the test. Could I have believed in Yeshua despite him sounding a certain way, instead of believed in Him that His metaphor may be right, as she agreed. Though I knew there was something deeper at work here than just a race issue. I’m a dog, I would have been crueler to her. And her steadfast faith has put everyone to shame. She’s saying “no matter what you say, I know you have love for me and my daughter, as you are love.” Can she see he is tired from his ministry at that point in time? He was limited to israel, as he was limited by his flesh to how much he could do. He was sent on a specific mission, by His sender, The Father. He is so exhausted, “seeing you’re tired, can you just give me a crumb, and not the full ministry, even if i am what I am, or there is a massive difference between me and them”. ” I would rather be your pet, than a queen elsewhere”. No matter how many times a mother ignores her child, the child will just scream louder and louder. “Mum doesn’t love me” is unthinkable, even if she says “be quiet, pipe down, its not your turn, stop bothering me, I can only do so much, you’re annoying me, stop behaving like a dog, you’re not as good as your brothers who behave much better!”. I’m not trying to make excuses or anything, it just seems a cryptic text. To be honest I love Yeshua despite it all in any case or explanation, as I’ve seen his love while I was in hospital and I became christian that day. Some of what I’ve said here has been revealed to me by The Holy Ghost, most through research, so I cant take credit, I thank The Lord my Savior for inquisitiveness. But studying the scriptures without strong faith is nothing, a lesson this scripture has taught me, or refined. I can’t reconcile apparent harshness with His love I knew before reading any scripture. “You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very scriptures that testify about me”. You can’t come to the Son unless the Father draws you close, if the Father doesn’t draw you close you cant come. But those who the Father has given the Son, NO-ONE shall snatch them away. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

  • wombat

    First off, what idiot told you it was racist? Sexist, sectist, even potentially jingoist maybe, but there was no suggestion of racism.

    The analogy whether you suggest racism or not puts her “beneath” Jesus. Even if you claim it wasn’t any of these supposed sinful behaviors it was at the very least condescending. This is what makes the response so powerful, yes i am beneath you and i seek you anyway. Dont apply your idea of an unblemished life to Christ, being condescending may be socially unacceptable, but it is not in any sense a sin.

  • Azazel

    Horseshit lol Jesus was prejudice towards the gentiles quite clearly, and its ridiculous that people believe any of the nonsense and or attempt to not make throw mythological character out to be something he wasn’t.

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  • tortillared

    I had to laugh at the original article. Read & discuss the entire passage. Read the entire Bible and discuss how this passage fits in with the entire Bible.

    The Bible is the only book where everyone is an expert on but so few actually read the Bible. 95 to 98% of people claiming to have read the Bible actually only read passages or pieces of the Bible, probably ammounting to less than 1/3 of the Bible. Read the Bible cover to cover, if you treat each book of the Bible as a chapter, it will only take a month, 3 months at the most.

    No one would do that with any other book in circulation. Can you imagine people having a website discussing Moby Dick when they only read a couple of chapters?

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