Matthew 15:26 It is not good to take the children's bread

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

A Canaanite (that is, non-Judean) woman, asks Jesus to heal her daughter.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Isn't it good to take the loaf of the children to toss to the doggies?

My Takeaway: 

We all have our own priorities.

KJV : 

Matthew 15:26 It is not meet to take the children's bread and to cast it to dogs.

NIV : 

Matthew 15:26 “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Referring to the Canaanites as dogs is a surprising statement from Jesus, but in Greek this verse is much lighter and more humorous than in English. As we saw with the previous verse (Matthew 15:24), this looks like a negative question. The word translated as "meet/right" here is usually translated as "good" in the NT, but

This verse has a parallel in Mark 7:27, but that version uses very different vocabulary. This is one of those cases where Matthew and Mark seemed to have different sources instead of taking the same verse from a shared document of Jesus's quotes (the Q document). Some background, according to theology.edu, the Canaanites were among the most immoral forms of pagans, who literally worshiped immorality, practiced religious prostitution, and sacrificed their children to their gods. In Exodus and Deuteronomy, the Israelite were instructed to exterminate the Canaanites so that they wouldn't be infected by their immoral beliefs. Given this, "dog" might have been a common insult used b the Jewish toward Canaanites or, more generally, toward all foreigners.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐκ (partic)  "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἔστιν ( verb 3rd sg pres ind act ) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible."

καλὸν (adj sg neut nom/acc) "Good" is from kalos, which means "beautiful," "good," "of fine quality," "noble," and "honorable." It is most often translated as "good" juxtaposed with "evil" in the New Testament, but the two ideas are closer to "wonderful" and "worthless," "noble" and "base."

λαβεῖν (verb aor inf act) "To take" is from lambano means to "take," "take hold of," "grasp," "seize," "catch," "overtake," "find out," "detect," "take as," "take [food or drugs]," "understand," "take in hand," "undertake," "take in," "hold," "get," "receive [things]," "receive hospitably," "receive in marriage," "receive as produce," "profit," "admit," "initiate," "take hold of," "lay hold on," "seize and keep hold of," "obtain possession of," "lay hands upon," "find fault with," "censure," "to apprehend with the senses," "to take hold of," and "to seize." It is also specifically used to mean "seized with emotion."

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ἄρτον (noun sg masc acc) "Bread" is from artos, which means specifically a "cake of whole wheat bread," and generally "loaf," and "bread."

τῶν (article pl neut gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

τέκνωνκαὶ (noun pl neut gen) "Children's" is from teknon, which means "that which is born," "child," and "the young." --

βαλεῖν (verb fut/aor inf act ) "To cast" is from ballo, which means "to throw," "to let fall," "to cast," "to put," "to pour," "to place money on deposit," "push forward or in front [of animals]," "to shed," "to place," "to pay,"to throw [of dice,] ""to be lucky," "to fall," "to lay as foundation," "to begin to form," "to dash oneself with water," and "to bathe."

τοῖς (article pl neut dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

κυναρίοις. (noun pl neut dat diminutive) "Dogs" is from kynarion, which means "little dog," and "puppy."

KJV Analysis: 

It -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is  - When the verb "it" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This word begins the sentence.

meet  - (CW) The word translated as "meet" means "beautiful," "noble," or "of good quality." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil." "Meet" in older English meant "suitable," which is closer to the idea of the Greek word here than the English "good," which is the way it is usually translated.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

take  - The word translated as "take" primarily means "take," but it is often translated as "receive" in the NT. "Take" is closer to its Greek meaning, but and it has many different uses as we use "take" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

children's  - The word translated as "children's" means "child" and "the young." It is one of the several words that Jesus used to refer to children (see this article). This word has the most specific sense of "children."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

bread,  - The word translated as "bread" means "small loaf or cake of bread." It is more like a slice of bread today. As a symbol, Christ "bread" is Christ's metaphor for everything nourishing, spiritually more than physically.

and -- -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "and" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

cast  - The word translated as "to cast" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw," as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." In dice, it means "to throw" the dice, but with the sense of being lucky.

it-- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

dogs. -- (CW) The word translated as "dogs" is the diminutive of the word that means "dog," so "puppies" or "doggies," in English.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "meet" is usually translated as "good."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "bread" is not shown in the English translation.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "and" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "dogs" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "dogs" is the diminutive form so "puppies."

NIV Analysis: 

It -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is  - When the verb "it" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. This word begins the sentence.

right - (CW) The word translated as "right " means "beautiful," "noble," or "of good quality." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil." "Meet" in older English meant "suitable," which is closer to the idea of the Greek word here than the English "good," which is the way it is usually translated.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

take  - The word translated as "take" primarily means "take," but it is often translated as "receive" in the NT. "Take" is closer to its Greek meaning, but and it has many different uses as we use "take" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

children's  - The word translated as "children's" means "child" and "the young." It is one of the several words that Jesus used to refer to children (see this article). This word has the most specific sense of "children."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

bread,  - The word translated as "bread" means "small loaf or cake of bread." It is more like a slice of bread today. As a symbol, Christ "bread" is Christ's metaphor for everything nourishing, spiritually more than physically.

and -- -- (IW) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "and" in the source we use today.

toss- The word translated as "to cast" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw," as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." In dice, it means "to throw" the dice, but with the sense of being lucky.

it-- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

dogs. -- (CW) The word translated as "dogs" is the diminutive of the word that means "dog," so "puppies" or "doggies," in English.

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "right" is usually translated as "good."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "bread" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The Greek word translated as "and" is  not the one we used today.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "dogs" is the diminutive form so "puppies."

Front Page Date: 

Jan 30 2021