Hebrew Highlights 118 – Crumbs
Shalom! This is Yuval Shomron coming to you from Jerusalem.
MAR 7:24-30, “And from there He arose and went away to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And He was saying to her, "Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children's crumbs." And He said to her, "Because of this answer go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter." And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having departed.”
I’ve always wondered something about this story. Is it one of those cases where the story and parable are built on the actual setting? We know this is the case many times where the Master took an example from His immediate surroundings. But here, the plot in the story consists of a dialogue between the Gentile woman, and Yeshua, with the woman answering boldly and cunningly.
Perhaps when she entered the house, He was actually sitting at a table eating, and there were actually children around the table, and there were actually dogs under the table catching the crumbs.
I have a feeling there were smiles exchanged in this conversation. At first, the lady is obviously distraught about the condition of her little daughter. She had gone to some lengths to find Yeshua and catch up with Him.
When He said, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs," she seems to have known he was speaking about the Children of Israel. However, she answered very wisely, either in desperation, or perhaps even in relief that Yeshua had given her His attention. Sensing that her “foot was in the door”, so to speak, she knew help would be forthcoming.
This passage is of course blamed as the origin of the objectionable title “gentile dog”. Some people might have felt they had been treated rudely, and left at this point. But our Gentilisha Momma took up the challenge of Yeshua’s somewhat unsympathetic example, and basically said, “OK, I’m a dog. So what? I’ll be happy to take the crumbs.”
Herein lies the proof of her faith. In the Hebrew New Testament, it actually says, “perurie lechem”, or breadcrumbs. We have no way of knowing whether or not this woman had heard of Yeshua’s own claim to be the “Bread of Life”. She may have simply thought of His example as describing a bit of His consideration, or a side mission to His ministry. In any case she accepted that the so-called “crumbs” were all she needed. He said to her, "Because of this answer go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter." And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having departed.”
Here we encounter the second ingredient important in her receiving a positive answer to her plea. Having first been persistent, she was now obedient. She went back home. My guess is that she fully expected to find her precious daughter well and whole. She didn’t say, “Are you sure?” or “Can I get a second opinion?” She simply believed, and received.
At this point, I’d like to notice another important aspect of this passage. Yeshua was sent to the House of Israel. Yet in this case He quite literally “opened the door” to ministry to the gentiles. The most famous forays into the world outside were made later by Peter and Paul. However, I think it was very important that Messiah himself paved the way. You may remember that other stories support God’s intention to carry the Gospel to people other than the Jews. Yeshua ministered, among others, to the Samaritan woman at the well, and also to the Roman centurion.
Our Lord always planned to be savior to the entire world. If you recall the miracle of the loaves and fishes, you know that a loaf of bread can be divided many times among the nations, and there will still be leftovers. He never intended the gentiles to get a “crumby” deal.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem