Why Did Jesus Call The Canaanite Woman A Dog?


Matthew 15:22-28

22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came and kept crying out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly tormented by a demon.”
23 Yet He did not say a word to her. So His disciples approached Him and urged Him, “Send her away because she cries out after us.”
24 He replied, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 But she came, knelt before Him, and said, “Lord, help me!”
26 He answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to their dogs.”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table!”
28 Then Jesus replied to her, “Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.” And from that moment her daughter was cured.

Why would Jesus call this woman a dog? The word dog that Jesus used wasn’t of a nasty dog which scavenges garbage in His time. The Greek word for dog in verse 26 is kunarion which means a little dog, a house dog or a puppy. Strong’s#2952

Jesus wasn’t insulting her but was trying to do two things.

  1. Before you feed your pet, you make sure that your children have eaten first. God entrusted the Jewish people with the Word of God (the bread), to be a light unto the world. Jesus came first to those who had a personal relationship with God then to the rest of the world. By Jesus going to His own first and feeding them the bread of life, in turn, He commissioned the twelve to go into all the nations and make disciples by feeding them the Word of God.
  2. She knew (as we saw in her persistence) that God promises in His Word that those who genuinely seek Him will be found by Him as seen in Jeremiah 29:13 which says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jesus was trying to show those around Him that her faith was great but He had to deny her request at the moment so that the genuineness of her faith may result in glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7).

The reason she got helped was because she first went to Jesus. Whatever you are going through, cry out to the Lord even though it might seem to you like He doesn’t hear you, don’t give up. He doesn’t answer you immediately so that your faith may grow for your benefit and for His glory and yes, He always hears your prayers. Everything Jesus does is good, if we keep this in mind we will always trust Him and not lose heart.