Try out the new BibleStudyTools.com. Click here!

Healing a Phoenician Woman's Daughter.

6-3. HEALING A PHOENICIAN WOMAN'S DAUGHTER.
(Region of Tyre and Sidon.)
a MATT. 15:22-28; b MARK 7:24-30.

      b And he entered into a house, and would have no man know it [Jesus sought concealment for the purposes noted in the last section. He also, no doubt, desired an opportunity to impact private instruction to the twelve]; and he could not be hid. [The fame of Jesus had spread far and wide, and he and his disciples were too well known to escape the notice of any who had seen them or heard them described.]

  25 But {a 22 And} behold, b straightway a a Canaanitish woman b whose little daughter [the word for daughter is a diminutive, such as often used to indicate affection] an unclean spirit, having heard of him [having formerly heard of his power and having recently heard of his arrival in her neighborhood], a came out from those borders [this does not mean, as some construe it, that she crossed over into Galilee from Phoenicia; it means that she came out of the very region where Jesus then was], and cried, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David [Sympathy so identified her with her daughter that she asked mercy for herself. The title "son of David" shows that the Jewish hopes had spread to surrounding nations and that some, like this woman and the one at Jacob's well, expected to share in the Messianic blessing]; my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.

  23 But he answered her not a word. [God's unanswering silence is a severe test of our faith.]

  b 26 Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by race. [The Macedonian conquest had diffused Greek civilization throughout western Asia till the word Greek among the Jews had become synonymous with Gentile. The term Canaanite was narrower and indicated an inhabitant of Canaan--that is, a non-Jewish inhabitant of Palestine. The term Syrophoenician was narrower still. It meant a Syrian in Phoenicia, and distinguished the Phoenicians from the other Syrians. Phoenicia was a narrow strip near the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea. It was some twenty-eight miles long with an average width of about one mile. Canaan means lowland; Phoenicia means palmland. The Canaanites founded Sidon ( Genesis 10:19 ), and the Phoenicians were their descendants.] And she besought him that he would cast forth the demon out of her daughter.   a And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. [The woman by her loud entreaties was drawing to Jesus the very attention which he sought to avoid. The disciples therefore counseled him to grant her request for his own sake--not for mercy or compassion, but merely to be rid of her.]

  24 But he answered [answered the disciples, not the woman] and said, I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [Jesus had not forborne answering her prayers through lack of feeling, but from principle. It was part of the divine plan that his personal ministry should be confined to the Jewish people. Divine wisdom approved of this course as best, not only for the Jews, but for the Gentiles as well. Variations from this plan were to be few and were to be granted only as rewards to those of exceptional faith.]

  25 But she came b and fell down at his feet. a and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. [The narrative indicates that Jesus had left the house and was moving on, and that the woman obtruded herself upon his notice by falling in front of him and obstructing his way.]

  26 And he answered and said, b unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet [suitable, becoming] to take the children's bread and to cast it to the dogs. [By the use of the word "first" Jesus suggested that there would come a time of mercy for the Gentiles. He uses the diminutive for the word dog, thus indicating a tame pet, and suggesting rather the dependence and subordinate position than the uncleanness of the dog. By so doing he gave the woman an argumentative handle which she was not slow to grasp.]

  28 But she answered and saith {a said,} b unto him, Yea, Lord; a for even the dogs b under the table eat of the children's crumbs. a which fall from their masters' table. [Jesus had suggested that domestic order by which dogs are required to wait until the meal is over before they receive their portion; but with a wit made keen by her necessity, she replies by alluding to the well-known fact that dogs under the table are permitted to eat the crumbs even while the meal is in progress; intimating thereby her hope to receive and before all the needs of Israel had first been satisfied. By using the word dogs Jesus did not mean to convey the impression that he shared the Jewish prejudices against Gentiles; a construction which would be contrary to Mattviii 1:1 Luke 4:25 Luke 4:26 Luke 10-12 .]

  28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: b For this saying go thy way; a be it done unto thee even as thou wilt. gone out of thy daughter. [Thus by its ending this little incident illustrates the doctrine that men should pray and not faint ( Luke 18:1-8 ). The woman's experience has been often repeated by other parents who have prayed for children which, if not demon-possessed, was certainly swayed by diabolical influences. The woman's faith is shown in many ways: 1. She persisted when he was silent. 2. She reasoned when he spoke. 3. She regarded this miracle, though a priceless gift to her, as a mere crumb from the table of his abundant powers. It is noteworthy that the two most notable for faith--this woman and the centurion--were both Gentiles.] a And her daughter was healed from that hour.

  b 30 And she went away unto her house, and found the child laid upon the bed, and the demon gone out. [The posture of the daughter indicated the physical exhaustion which would naturally succeed the intense nervous strain of demoniacal possession--especially the last paroxysms produced by the departing demon.]