Mark 7:28

“Yes, Master,” she replied. “Even the dogs under the table do feed on the children’s crumbs.”


to all my siblings
who come to table
with washed hands and faces

you fool no one
after you leave
the floor is a mess

none us are mess free
nor any simply a mess
discernment wherefore art thou


A couple of technical matters are important.

When we hear “answered” or “replied”, it seems like a rational, straight-forward response. The Greek is far stronger, “certainly”, “assuredly”, “exactly”, “yes!”

This is an agreement with the previous statement that is not at all an agreement. Now we can hear the relationship, the play, the “Come on, get real.”

“Lord” is church lingo, The far better translation is simply a term of respect such as “Sir”. Practically, this is the only place this particular word, κύριε (kurie, a title of honor) is used. While the word is found in some manuscripts in 1:50, it is not used in translation. It is also found in 10:51 in some manuscripts but usually translated as if from Matthew or Luke’s version. Read this as you would “M’ Lord” or “Lady” in a Victorian novel.

Just because a healing is being looked for or has already happened doesn’t mean that the seeker or the healed will let the medium through which the healing happened become a deity. From the other side, though, there are apocryphal stories of some surgeons thinking they are G*D.

Justa follows her “Yeah!(?)” with the same “little dog” images and extends it to “crumbs” or “little bread”. In Mark there is a lot of feeding with bread. To reduce the Eucharistic overtones of this to a bit of bread too small to care about brings us back to earth, under the table rather than over it, as were Herod’s party or well-washed Pharisees.

We can almost hear her say, “Did you see what I did there?”

Other references to this back-and-forth are reported by Myers82:

Jesus’ insult may echo a rabbinic saying of the time: “He who eats with an idolater is like one who eats with a dog” (see also Exodus 22:31). But the stipulation that “the children must first be satisfied” suggests a deeper symbolic issue.

A twinkle in Jesus’ eye has been met with a gleam in Justa’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *