The Syrophenician Woman

This story takes place in Matthew 15:21-28:

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”

In verse 26 Jesus says, “It is not meet (suitable, proper) to take the children’s (Israel’s) bread, and to cast it to dogs (Gentiles).” This may sound like Jesus is being a bit harsh, but in actuality the Greek word used for dogs here means little dogs or pets not wild, scavenging beasts. Hence her reply. Jesus was merely saying it’s not proper to take food from children and give it to a pet instead, but the woman knew what could be hers, even as a Gentile.

Though we pray and seem to not receive an answer, still we must continue to seek and pray until we do. Remembering that God answers in three different ways: yes, no, and wait.

This story is also found in Mark 7:25-30.


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