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Canaanite Woman and Jesus

In Matthew 15, we read -- and this is taken from the Original Gospel of Matthew version:

22) And a Canaanite merchant woman who came out from the lands of the eastwas crying, saying, "Have mercy on me, Oh Master, you son of David. My daughter is tormented by demons." (23) But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and asked him, saying, " Our Master, our Adonwhy do you abandon this woman who is crying out after us?" (24) But he answered and said, "I was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (25) But she came and prostrated herself to the ground before him, saying, " MasterAdon, help me." (26) And he answered and said, "It is not good that a man take bread fromhis children and cast it to the dogs." (27) But she said, " That's certainly true, Lordbut even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall under their master's table." (28) Then Jesus answered and said to her, "Woman, how great is your belief. It will be done to you even as it is in your heart what you asked." And her daughter was healed from that hour.

This essentially implies the message Jesus had was first for Israel, not primarily to Gentiles, implying they were unworthy. What did Jesus mean?

My Opinion

Non-Israelites were virtually synonymous with idolators of false gods, and often described in Jewish literature as 'dogs' due to such behaviors. (There were always the God-fearing Gentiles for whom Jews made exception from that general depiction as a 'dog.')

Jesus does not say the dogs are not allowed to eat. Rather, to feed the dogs in this circumstance, Jesus says would subtract what needs to be given to a man's own children at this time. Hence, the food first must be distributed to the Jews, and then the Gentiles. Jesus meant He was at that moment involved in ministry to the Jews, and in due course the Gentile-idolators would receive their food / lessons.

Or Was This An Insult With A Purpose?

A different interpretation says Jesus intended to insult her, and to humiliate the woman. Jesus supposedly wanted to teach her humility. She was a merchant woman, and wanted her daughter healed. Jesus ignored her at first. Perhaps she was prideful, and needed a touch of humiliation to temper her ego. So one interpretation says:

It is as though he says to the woman, “Good, you are learning humility. But humility is gained not so much when you humble yourself, as when I humble you through humiliations. You then, I say, you are a dog!”

Cornelius A. Lapide summarizes the woman's response in a fashion to elucidate her meaning:

Nourish me then as Thy dog. I cannot leave my master’s table. You cannot drive me from Thee either by rough words or by blows. I will not leave Thee, until thou give me what I ask. Give me therefore, 0 most merciful Lord, only a crumb, give me this least favour of my daughter’s health. Let this one crumb fall among us Gentiles, and I will gather it up.’

What about Jesus' statement that He only came to the Jews.

The common interpetation is as follows:

Theologically, Jesus was sent (as Messiah) to the Jew only. The biblical intent was that the Nation of Israel would accept the Messiah, receive the Spirit, and turn-around and evangelize/minister to the whole world.... The Gentiles were included in the covenant promises to Abraham, but the blessings to them would come "through Abraham" (Gen 12.3). Cf. Jesus remarks in John 4: "Salvation is from the Jews." So, His PUBLIC ministry was semi-confined to the nation of Israel.  (Christianthinktank)

This comment adds:

But, AS A JEW HIMSELF (not as the Jewish Messiah), Jesus had a responsibility to non-Jews. As a private citizen, He was to show kindness to foreigners (Lev 19.33ff; Ex 22.21; Dt 10.18ff). Israel was supposed to be a 'kingdom of priests'--to mediate to non-Israel the blessings of God (Ex 19.6). Jonah is an OT book whose central theme is Jewish evangelism of gentiles (Assyria).

Thus, under this view, Jesus was not excluding gentiles from the kingdom. Rather he was emphasizing that the message first goes to the Jews. Then, under the above view, Jesus' purpose in going to the Jews first is partly so that they would later evangelize gentiles. This is a logical explanation of why Jesus chose 12 apostles who were Jewish. They would then be able to evangelize later to Jewish people.