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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Mark 7:27

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."

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And he said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs.

Some have been puzzled by our Lord's attitude of discouraging this appellant for his mercy by such a reply as this; but we may readily believe with Trench that:

He saw in her a faith which would stand the test and knew that she would emerge victorious; and not only so, but with a mightier and purer faith than if she had borne away her blessing at once and merely for the asking.[12]

To this, it may be added that this miracle was performed in the presence of the apostles; and there can be no doubt that Christ's words were designed for their instruction. By giving voice to the common Jewish prejudice against Gentiles, and in the light of the woman's response to it, Christ gave his apostles a never-to-be-forgotten example to prove God's wisdom in extending salvation to Gentiles. At a time when the leaders of Israel were plotting Jesus' death, this lowly Gentile, despite the Lord's apparent rebuff, persevered to claim his mercy. For more on this aspect of the miracle, see my Commentary on Matthew, pp. 231-233.

Children's bread ... the dogs ... What Christ referred to by these expressions was the fact that his primary mission was to Israel, not to Gentiles, to God's "children," not to the "dogs," as the Gentiles were called by Jews. See Matthew's account (Matthew 15:21-28). Now the significant thing about that woman's faith was her perseverance in the face of such a reply. Would not most mortals have departed the scene with anger and resentment? The average person would have said, "He called me a dog; I hate him!" Such was the desperate hope of that poor woman, and such was her astounding faith, that she at once accepted Christ's judgment upon her and made his very words the basis of her continued appeal.

ENDNOTE:

[12] Richard Trench, Notes on the Miracles (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1943), p. 375.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/mark-7.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But Jesus said unto her,.... Not directly and immediately, upon her first request; for he answered not a word to that; but after his, disciples had desired she might be sent away, her cries being so troublesome to them; and after she had renewed her request to him; see Matthew 15:23.

Let the children first be filled: according to this method, our Lord directed his apostles, and they proceeded: as he himself was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, he ordered his disciples to go to them, and preach the Gospel to them, and work miracles among them; and not go in the way of the Gentiles, nor into any of the cities of the Samaritans; but when they had gone through the cities of Judea, he ordered them, after his resurrection, to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem: and this order they observed in other places, where there were Jews; they first preached to them, and then to the Gentiles; knowing that it was necessary, that the word of God should be first spoken to them; and it was the power of God to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile: and the expression here used, though it gives the preference to the Jew, does not exclude the Gentile; nay, it supposes, that after the Jews had had the doctrines of Christ, confirmed by his miracles, sufficiently ministered unto them, for the gathering in the chosen ones among them, and to leave the rest inexcusable; and so long as until they should despise it, and put it away from them, judging themselves unworthy of it; that then the Gentiles should have plenty of Gospel provisions set before them, and should eat of them, and be filled; and should have a large number of miracles wrought among them, and a fulness of the blessings of grace bestowed on them. The Jews are meant, who were the children of God by national adoption; who were first to be filled with the doctrines and miracles of Christ, before the Gentiles were to have them among them; as they were, even to a loathing and contempt of them:

for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs: as by "the children" are meant the Israelites, who were not only the children of Abraham by natural descent, but the children of God, to whom pertained the adoption, by virtue of the national covenant made with them; so by "the dogs", are meant the Gentiles, who were reckoned as such by the Jews; and by the "bread", which it was not fit and proper should be taken from the one for the present, and cast to the other, is designed the ministry of the Gospel; which is as bread, solid, substantial, wholesome, and nourishing; and the miraculous cures wrought on the bodies of men, which accompanied it: now it was not meet and convenient as yet, that these things should be taken away from the Jewish nation, until they had answered the ends for which they were designed, and the Jews should express their loathing and abhorrence of them: which when they did, they were taken away from them, and were ministered to the nations of the world, they contemptuously called dogs; See Gill on Matthew 15:26.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/mark-7.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it] unto the o dogs.

(o) "Dog" here signifies a little dog, and he uses this term that he may seem to speak more reproachfully.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/mark-7.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled — “Is there hope for me here?” “Filled FIRST?” “Then my turn, it seems, is coming! - but then, ‹The CHILDREN first?‘ Ah! when, on that rule, shall my turn ever come!” But ere she has time for these ponderings of His word, another word comes to supplement it.

for it is not meet to take the children‘s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs — Is this the death of her hopes? Nay, rather it is life from the dead. Out of the eater shall come forth meat (Judges 14:14). “At evening-time, it shall be light” (Zechariah 14:7). “Ah! I have it now. Had He kept silence, what could I have done but go unblest? but He hath spoken, and the victory is mine.”


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/mark-7.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Let the children first be filled (απες πρωτον χορταστηναι τα παιδιαaphes prōton chortasthēnai ta paidia). The Jews had the first claim. See the command of Jesus in the third tour of Galilee to avoid the Gentiles and the Samaritans (Matthew 10:5). Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, but he gave the Jew the first opportunity (Romans 2:9.). See note on Matthew 15:24.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/mark-7.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Let the children first be filled

Peculiar to Mark.

The dogs

Diminutive. See on Matthew 15:26.


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The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/mark-7.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

And he said unto her, Let the children first be filled1: for it is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs2.

  1. Let the children first be filled. By the word "first" Jesus suggested that there would come a time of mercy for the Gentiles.

  2. For it is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs. He uses the Greek diminutive "kunarion" for the word "dog", thus indicating a tame pet, and suggesting rather the dependence and subordinate position than the uncleanness of the dog. By so doing he gave the woman an argumentative handle which she was not slow to grasp.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/mark-7.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The Savior did not use the word dogs as an epithet to be applied to this woman, but only as a part of the metaphor, or figure, by which he illustrated his position in respect to her and her nation. He says that, as it would not be proper to give the food intended for the children of a family to the dogs, so it is doubtful whether he ought to bestow upon the Gentile nations those miraculous benefits which he was sent to communicate to God's own chosen people. This was very different from applying the term to her as an opprobrious epithet. Hence the point and beauty of her reply,--that the dogs were not to be entirely neglected, but might at least receive some small share.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/mark-7.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

Ver. 27. To cast it unto dogs] τοις κυναριοις, unto whelps, for more contempt’ sake, as Beza noteth. The pope made Dandalus, the Venetian ambassador, to come before him, tied in iron chains, and to wallow under his table with dogs, while his Holiness sat at supper. Unde ei canis cognomentum apud suos, saith Revius. He was ever after called the dog ambassador.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/mark-7.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Mark 7:27. But Jesus said unto her, &c.— But Jesus, for the trial of her faith, seemed to reject and disdainher, saying, Pray stay, let the children of God's family (his visible church,) be first satisfied with the blessings that I am come to bestow: for as it would be thought very improper and unnatural, that a parent should take away his children's food before they have had enough, and give it to the dogs: so it is not fit that I should deal out these mercies to you, till the Jews, who are the visible household of God, are first served: especially since, for yourGentile abominations, you deserve to be treated as a dog.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/mark-7.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

27.] ἄφες πρῶτον.…] This important addition in Mark sets forth the whole ground on which the present refusal rested. The Jews were first to have the Gospel offered to them, for their acceptance or rejection; it was not yet time for the Gentiles.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/mark-7.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Mark 7:27. ἄφες πρῶτον, let first) He does not give her a decided denial; He seems to mark to her the fact, that she is unseasonably importunate.— χορτασθῆναι, be filled) It would have been to derogate from the rights [privileges] of the Jews, had Jesus bestowed more time on the Gentiles.—[ οὐ γὰρ καλόν ἐστι, for it is not becoming) That which is not in itself becoming, is altogether so in the case of those who duly pray.—V. g.]


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/mark-7.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Mark 1:24"


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Mark 7:27". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/mark-7.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Let the children; God’s covenant children, that is, the Jews.

First be filled; the gospel was first to be offered to the Jews, and to them our Lord’s personal ministry on earth was chiefly restricted. See notes on Mark 7:29 and Matthew 10:5-6.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/mark-7.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

27. ἔλεγεν. Mt. again substitutes εἶπεν, as in Mark 7:14.

Ἄφες πρῶτον χορτασθῆναι τὰ τέκνα. See on Mark 6:42 and cf. Mark 10:14. In Mark 15:36 we have the subj. after ἄφετε. “The children” are the Jews, but πρῶτον implies that the others will have their turn (John 10:16; John 12:32; John 17:20; Acts 1:8; Acts 13:47). This important πρῶτον is omitted in Mt. It mitigates the harsh refusal.

ἐστιν καλόν. The expression is freq. in Mk. Cf. Mark 9:5; Mark 9:42-43; Mark 9:45; Mark 9:47; Mark 14:21. Christ’s reply illustrates the principle that, where faith is strong, He seems to hold aloof, to bring the faith to perfection; whereas weak faith is encouraged (Mark 5:36, Mark 9:23).

τοῖς κυναρίοις. The diminutive is another mitigation. The Gentiles are not called “dogs” but “doggies,” not outside scavengers (Psalms 59:7; Psalms 59:15), but household companions (τὰ κυνίδια τῆς οἰκίας, Orig.). In late Greek, diminutives sometimes lose their force, e.g. ὠτάριον (Mark 14:47), ὠτίον (Matthew 26:51); but the dimin. has point here. Contrast κύνες (Matthew 7:6; Philippians 3:2; Revelation 22:15). Vulg. spoils this by having canibus in Christ’s Saying and catelli in her reply.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/mark-7.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And he said to her, “Let the children first be filled, for it is not the right thing to do to take the children’s bread and toss it to the little dogs.” ’

Jesus used a well known picture. The family meal, the children round the table and pet dogs waiting for scraps of food to be tossed to them. In order to clean the hands (there were no forks) they would often be wiped on a piece of bread and this would then be tossed to any pet dogs. But for someone to take the children’s bread so as to give it to the dogs would not be right. ‘The children’ represented the people of Israel, the Jews, the bread His message and ministry, and the little dogs the Gentiles.

‘The children first.’ His point was that His first ministry was to the Jews and that He represented the God of the Jews. It was they who were primarily chosen by God even though they had turned aside from Him (Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 14:1; Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 1:2). His first aim was to restore those of them who would come. It was only once this was fulfilled that the Gentiles could benefit as well if they responded to the true God. Thus He confirmed that His first ministry was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24).

Here then it was stressed that Jesus had come first of all to win Israel to God. All His preaching up to this point had been to Israelites (including, rarely, Samaritans, who also worshipped the God of Moses) and He saw that as His basic mission. As the Servant of the Lord He must raise up the tribes of Jacob preparatory to being a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6). But it also stressed to her that it was only in this God that what she wanted could be found.

‘The children’s bread.’ Bread had early been closely connected with the children of Israel. The ‘bread of the presence’, the twelve loaves of showbread in the Tabernacle, which was placed on a table in the Holy Place, clearly represented the people of Israel in their twelve tribes. And it was eaten by the priests in order to demonstrate that they all belonged to God. But it ever continued before Him. To take of that bread and give it to the Gentiles would have been seen as an act of the grossest sacrilege.

But bread was the very staff of life, and when the thought came for His people to be fed (Psalms 28:9), and no picture of the shepherd was in mind, the thought would be of bread. See Isaiah 55:2; Jeremiah 3:15; Micah 5:4 (in Hebrew). Thus did bread represent the word of truth. And when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, ‘give us today the bread of tomorrow’ His meaning may well have been the bread of the coming Tomorrow, the Messianic banquet. This is why Jesus could reveal Himself as the bread of life (John 6:35) and finally symbolise the fact at the Passover meal in the Upper Room. That Jesus even hinted at giving this bread to Gentiles would have come as a huge shock to His Apostles, but it did demonstrate that He was ready to do so once the woman acknowledged its source.

‘The little dogs.’ The Jews described the Gentiles as ‘dogs’, and those dogs were not the little pets in some households but the scavenger dogs who roamed the streets and gathered outside towns in order to find scraps. Nothing ‘holy’ must be given to them (Matthew 7:6). They were dirty, disease-ridden and semi-wild. But in His illustration Jesus softened the description, speaking of little pet dogs, while knowing that she would be aware that He had the Gentiles in mind. The illustration left the door open for the woman to come back with a response. All knew that pet dogs would sometimes receive food from the table.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/mark-7.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Mark 7:27. Let the children first be filled. ‘This important addition in Mark sets forth the whole ground on which the present refusal rested. The Jews were first to have the gospel offered to them for their acceptance or rejection; it was not yet time for the Gentiles’ (Alford).


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/mark-7.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Mark 7:27. ἄφες πρῶτον, etc.: a milder word than that in Mt. (Matthew 7:26); it is here a mere question of order: first Jews, then Gentiles, St. Paul’s programme, Romans 1:16. In Mt. we read, οὐκ ἔστι καλὸν, it is not right, seemly, to take the children’s bread and to throw it to the dogs. Mk. also has this word, but in a subordinate place, and simply as a reason for the prior claim of the children. We note also that Mk., usually so full in his narratives compared with Mt., omits the intercession of the Twelve with Christ’s reply. Yet Mk.’s, “first the children,” is really equivalent to “I am not sent,” etc. The former implies: “your turn will come”; the latter: “to minister to you is not my vocation”. This word, preserved in Mt., becomes less harsh when looked at in the light of Christ’s desire for quiet, not mentioned in Mt. Jesus made the most of the fact that His commission was to Jews. It has been thought that, in comparison with Mt., Mk.’s report of Christ’s words is secondary, adapted purposely to Gentile readers. Probably that is the case, but, on the other hand, he gives us a far clearer view of the extent and aim of the excursion to the North, concerning which Mt. has, and gives, no adequate conception.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/mark-7.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Jesus. App-98.

Let the children first be filled. This is a summary of Matthew 15:23, Matthew 15:24, and a Divine supplement, here.

children. Greek. Plural of teknon. See App-108. Not the same word as in Mark 7:28.

meet = good,

dogs = little or domestic dogs. Greek. kunarion. Dim. of kuon. Occ, only here and Matthew 15:26, Matthew 15:27. These were not the pariah dogs of the street, but domestic pets.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/mark-7.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled. 'Is there hope for me here?' 'Filled FIRST?' 'Then my turn, it seems, is coming!-but then, "The CHILDREN first?" Ah! when, on that rule, shall my turn ever come?' But before she has time for these ponderings of His word, another word comes to supplement it.

For it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. Is this the death of her hopes? Nay, but it is life from the dead. Out of the eater shall come forth meat (Judges 14:14). At evening time it shall be light (Zechariah 14:7). 'Ha! I have it now. Had He kept silence, what could I have done but go unblest? but He hath spoken, and the victory is mine.'


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/mark-7.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(27) Let the children first be filled.—The precise form of the answer thus given is peculiar to St. Mark.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/mark-7.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
Let
Matthew 7:6; 10:5; 15:23-28; Acts 22:21; Romans 15:8; Ephesians 2:12

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Mark 7:27". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/mark-7.html.

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