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Matthew 15:21-28

Context
A Canaanite Woman’s Faith

15:21 After going out from there, Jesus went to the region of Tyre 1  and Sidon. 2  15:22 A 3  Canaanite woman from that area came 4  and cried out, 5  “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is horribly demon-possessed!” 15:23 But he did not answer her a word. Then 6  his disciples came and begged him, 7  “Send her away, because she keeps on crying out after us.” 15:24 So 8  he answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 15:25 But she came and bowed down 9  before him and said, 10  “Lord, help me!” 15:26 “It is not right 11  to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” 12  he said. 13  15:27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, 14  “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 15:28 Then 15  Jesus answered her, “Woman, 16  your faith is great! Let what you want be done for you.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.

1 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

2 map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

3 tn Grk “And behold a Canaanite.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).

4 tn Grk The participle ἐξελθοῦσα (exelqousa) is here translated as a finite verb. The emphasis is upon her crying out to Jesus.

5 tn Grk “cried out, saying.” The participle λέγουσα (legousa) is redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.

6 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then.”

7 tn Grk “asked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.

8 tn Grk “And answering, he said.” The construction in Greek is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation. Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the disciples’ request.

9 tn In this context the verb προσκυνέω (proskunew), which often describes worship, probably means simply bowing down to the ground in an act of reverence or supplication (see L&N 17.21).

10 tn Grk “she bowed down to him, saying.”

11 tn Grk “And answering, he said, ‘It is not right.’” The introductory phrase “answering, he said” has been simplified and placed at the end of the English sentence for stylistic reasons. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

12 tn Or “lap dogs, house dogs,” as opposed to dogs on the street. The diminutive form originally referred to puppies or little dogs, then to house pets. In some Hellenistic uses κυνάριον (kunarion) simply means “dog.”

sn The term dogs does not refer to wild dogs (scavenging animals roaming around the countryside) in this context, but to small dogs taken in as house pets. It is thus not a derogatory term per se, but is instead intended by Jesus to indicate the privileged position of the Jews (especially his disciples) as the initial recipients of Jesus’ ministry. The woman’s response of faith and her willingness to accept whatever Jesus would offer pleased him to such an extent that he granted her request.

13 tn Grk “And answering, he said.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokriqeis) is redundant and has not been translated.

14 tn Grk “she said.”

15 tn Grk “Then answering, Jesus said to her.” This expression has been simplified in the translation.

16 sn Woman was a polite form of address (see BDAG 208-9 s.v. γυνή 1), similar to “Madam” or “Ma’am” used in English in different regions.



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