As sheep in the midst of wolves (w probata en meswi lukwn). The presence of wolves on every hand was a fact then and now. Some of these very sheep ( Acts 10:6 ) at the end will turn out to be wolves and cry for Christ's crucifixion. The situation called for consummate wisdom and courage. The serpent was the emblem of wisdom or shrewdness, intellectual keenness ( Genesis 3:1 ; Psalms 58:5 ), the dove of simplicity ( Hosea 7:11 ). It was a proverb, this combination, but one difficult of realization. Either without the other is bad (rascality or gullibility). The first clause with arna for probata is in Luke 10:3 and apparently is in a Fragment of a Lost Gospel edited by Grenfell and Hunt. The combination of wariness and innocence is necessary for the protection of the sheep and the discomfiture of the wolves. For "harmless" (akeraioi) Moffatt and Goodspeed have "guileless," Weymouth "innocent." The word means "unmixed" (a privative and kerannumi), "unadulterated," "simple," "unalloyed."