‘Throwing Bread to Little Dogs’
■ A Syrophoenician woman once approached Jesus Christ with the request that he please free her daughter from demon possession. At first he declined, saying: “It is not right to take the bread of the children and throw it to little dogs.” (Matt. 15:26) Why did Jesus Christ say this?
As he explained to this non-Jewish woman, he had been sent exclusively “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt. 15:24) The Jews generally viewed a non-Jew as being like a ceremonially unclean animal, a dog. However, in using the expression “little dogs,” Jesus Christ was not being unduly harsh. He was referring to dogs that might be kept in a home and not to wild dogs of the street. Still, Jesus’ words evidently served to test the faith of the Syrophoenician woman. And she revealed both a right spirit and a strong faith. Drawing on the words of Jesus, she replied: “Yes, Lord; but really the little dogs do eat of the crumbs falling from the table of their masters.” (Matt. 15:27) On hearing this, Jesus Christ commended her great faith and healed her daughter.—Matt. 15:28.