Matthew 15:21-28

Matthew 15:21-28
A Women’s Lectionary – Proper 6


21 JesusA leftB that place and went awayC

Notes on verse 21a

A “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
B “left” = exerchomai. From ek (from, from out of) + erchomai (to come, go). This is to go out, depart, escape, proceed from, spread news abroad.
C “went away” = anachoreo. 14x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + choreo (to make space, receive, have room for, progress, depart so as to make room; figuratively, living open-heartedly); {from choros (a particular space or place); from chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn)}.  This is to withdraw, depart, retire, or leave. It can give a sense of seeking safety from harm or of retiring.

to the districtD of TyreE and Sidon.F 

Notes on verse 21b

D “district” = meros. From meiromai (to get your allotment or portion). This is a part, a share, or a portion.
E “Tyre” = Turos. 11x in NT. From Phoenician t-s-r (rock; “after the rocky formation on which the town was originally built”). This is Tyre, the capital of Phoenicia. See
F “Sidon” = Sidon. 10x in NT. From Phoenician tsydon (Sidon; probably meaning fishery or fishing town). This is Sidon – a city in Phoenicia. See &

22 Just thenG a CanaaniteH womanI

Notes on verse 22a

G “just then” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
H “Canaanite” = Chananaios. 1x in NT. From chanaan (Canaan); from Hebrew kenaan (Canaan, his descendants, and the land where they settled; perhaps meaning lowlands, describing their land or subjugated in reference to being conquered by Egypt); from kana (to be humble, subdue; properly, bend the knee). This is Canaan – perhaps a reference to Phoenicia.
I “woman” = gune. Perhaps from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.

from that regionJ came outK and started shouting,L, M

Notes on verse 22b

J “region” = horion. 12x in NT. From horos (limit, boundary). This is a boundary on land or a coast. It could be district, region, territory, or frontier.
K “came out” = exerchomai. Same as “left” in v21. See note B above.
L “started shouting” = krazo. This is to cry out, scream, shriek. It is onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call. Figuratively, this means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt.
M {untranslated} = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.

“Have mercy onN me, Lord,O SonP

Notes on verse 22c

N “have mercy on” = eleeo. From eleos (mercy, pity, tender mercy, or compassion; generally understood in action by word or deed). This is to have pity on, show mercy to, be compassionate; often used for God’s grace. When we sing or say “kyrie eleison” (Lord, have mercy), it is from this root verb.
O “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
P “Son” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.

of David;Q my daughterR is tormented by a demon.”S 

Notes on verse 22d

Q “David” = Dauid. From Hebrew David (David); from the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
R “daughter” = thugater. This is daughter, a related female or one who lives with you.
S “tormented by a demon” = kakos + daimonizomai. Kakos is 16x in NT. From kakos (bad, evil, harm, ill; evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm; deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character; can be contrasted with the Greek poneros, which is that which bears pain – a focus on the miseries and pains that come with evil; also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue). This is wrongly, badly, cruelly, with bad motives, misery connected to affliction. It can be physically badly or morally badly, i.e. evilly. Daimonizomai is 13x in NT. From daimon (evil spirit, demon, fallen angel); perhaps from daio (giving out destinies). This is being demon-possessed or under an evil spirit’s power. This root is where the word “demon” comes from.

23 But he did not answer her at all.T And his disciplesU cameV

Notes on verse 23a

T “at all” = logos. Literally, “a word.” Related to {untranslated} in v22. From lego (see note M above). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
U “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
V “came” = proserchomai. Related to “left” in v21. From pros (for, at, towards) + erchomai (see note B above). This is to approach, draw near, come up to. It is also used figuratively to mean worship.

and urgedW him, saying,X “Send her away,Y for she keeps shouting after us.” 

Notes on verse 23b

W “urged” = erotao. From eromai (to ask) OR from ereo (to say, tell, call, speak of). This is asking a question or making an earnest request. It is used between someone with whom the asker is close in some sense. So, they anticipate special consideration for their request.
X “saying” = lego. Same as {untranslated} in v22. See note M above.
Y “send…away” = apoluo. From apo (from, away from) + luo (to loose, release, untie; figuratively, to break, destroy, or annul; releasing what had been withheld). This is letting go, setting free, or releasing. So, it can be to discharge, dismiss, divorce, pardon, or set at liberty.

24 He answered, “I was sentZ only to the lostAA sheepBB of the houseCC of Israel.”DD 

Notes on verse 24

Z “sent” = apostello. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (to make to stand, stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand firm, be steadfast)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
AA “lost” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.
BB “sheep” = probaton. Probably from probaino (to go forward literally or to advance in years); {from pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + the same as basis (a step, pace, foot); {from baino (to walk, to go)}}. This is literally easily led and so a sheep or another grazing animal. Also use figuratively of people who are led easily.
CC “house” = oikos. This is house – the building, the household, the family, descendants, the temple.
DD “Israel” = Israel. From Hebrew Yisrael (God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring); {from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god)}. This is Israel the people and the land.

25 But she cameEE and kneltFF before him, saying, “Lord, helpGG me.” 

Notes on verse 25

EE “came” = erchomai. Related to “left” in v21 & “came” in v23. See note B above.
FF “knelt” = proskuneo. From pros (advantageous for, at, to, toward, with) + kuneo (to kiss); {may be related to kuon (dog)}. This is to do reverence, kneel, to prostrate oneself in homage, to worship.
GG “help” = boetheo. 8x in NT. From boethos (helping or helper; one meeting urgent need); perhaps from boe (to cry, shout for aid; mimics the sound of a desperate shout for help with deep emotion); {from boao (cry out, make a distress call, ask for desperately need assistance); from boe (a cry, shout)} + theo (to run). This is running to help someone who has made an urgent call for help – coming to their rescue. Originally, this was used in a military context, but came to apply more generally to assistance in time of intense distress.

26 He answered, “It is not fairHH to takeII the children’sJJ foodKK and throwLL it to the dogs.”MM 

Notes on verse 26

HH “fair” = kalos. This is good, noble, beautiful, correct, or worthy. This is external signs of goodness like beauty, demonstrations of honorable character, showing moral virtues. A different word, agathos, speaks of intrinsic good.
II “take” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
JJ “children’s” = teknon. From tikto (to beget, bring forth, produce). This is a child, descendant, or inhabitant.
KK “food” = artos. Perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is bread or a loaf. It is a loaf as raised.
LL “throw” = ballo. This is to throw, cast, rush, place, or drop. It is throwing, but it could be with more or less velocity and with more or less force/violence.
MM “dogs” = kunarion. Related to “knelt” in v25. 4x in NT. From kuon (see note FF above). This is a little dog.

27 She said, “Yes,NN Lord, yet even the dogs eatOO the crumbsPP that fallQQ from their masters’RR table.”SS 

Notes on verse 27

NN “yes” = nai. This is yes, truly, indeed. It is a strong affirmation.
OO “eat” = esthio. This is to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust.
PP “crumbs” = psichion. 2x in NT. From psich (crumb) OR from psallo (to twang, play, sing psalms, pluck a stringed instrument such as a harp); {from psao (to rub)}. This is a crumb or small morsel. It can specifically refer to a breadcrumb.
QQ “fall” = pipto. This is to fall literally or figuratively.
RR “masters’” = kurios. Same as “Lord” in v22. See note O above.
SS “table” = trapeza. 15x in NT. Probably from tessares (four; figuratively, can mean total inclusion or universality) + peze (by foot or land) or pezos (by foot or land); {from pous (foot)}. This is a table – whether for eating or conducting business. Literally, four feet. This is where the word “trapeze” comes from.

28 Then Jesus answered her, “TTWoman, greatUU is your faith!VV

Notes on verse 28a

TT {untranslated} = O. 17x in OT. This is O or oh – used to speak to someone or express a strong feeling.
UU “great” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
VV “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

Let it be doneWW for you as you wish.”XX And her daughter was healedYY from that moment.ZZ

Notes on verse 28b

WW “be done” = ginomai. Related to “woman” in v22. See note I above.
XX “wish” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
YY “healed” = iaomai. This is to heal, particularly from a physical illness, but it could also be a spiritual difficulty. This is to cure or make whole in a literal or figurative sense.
ZZ “moment” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.

Image credit: “Jesus and the Canaanite Woman” in the Netherlands. Photo by Chris Booms, 2001.

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