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Greek: Me dote (2PAAS) to agion tois kusin, mede balete (2PAAS) tous margaritas umon emprosthen ton choiron, mepote katapatesousin (3PFAI) autous en tois posin auton kai straphentes (APPMPN) rexosin (3PAAS) humas.
Amplified: Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
NLT: Don't give what is holy to unholy people. Don't give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: "You must not give holy things to dogs, nor must you throw your pearls before pigs - or they may trample them underfoot and turn and attack you." (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Do not give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the hogs lest perchance they trample them under their feet and having turned, lacerate you. (Eerdmans)
Young's: 'Ye may not give that which is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before the swine, that they may not trample them among their feet, and having turned -- may rend you.
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces: Me dote (2PAAS) to agion tois kusin, mede balete (2PAAS) tous margaritas umon emprosthen ton choiron, mepote katapatesousin (3PFAI) autous en tois posin auton kai straphentes (APPMPN) rexosin (3PAAS) humas (Dogs) (Swine) (Pearls) (ISBE article on Dog) (Mt 7:10:14,15; 15:26; Proverbs 9:7,8; 23:9; 26:11; Acts 13:45, 46, 47; Philippians 3:2; Hebrews 6:6; 10:29; 2Peter 2:22) (Proverbs 11:22) (Mt 22:5,6; 24:10; 2Corinthians 11:26; 2Timothy 4:14,15)
Do not give what is holy to dogs - If someone isn’t open to listen to you, there’s no reason to continue speaking.
Jamieson, F, B -
Give (1325) (didomi) means to give based on decision of will of the giver. Although the tense is not imperative, the force is that of an imperative or command. We are to speak the truth in love, but we are not to allow love to color or distort our sense of discernment. Note in this warning Jesus is not trying to discourage us from sharing the gospel, but is calling for discernment which is ever looking for listeners with prepared and not antagonistic hearts.
In Hebrews we read that ...
This verse makes it clear that Jesus does not exclude every kind of judgment in Matthew 7:1-2 for here He just as plainly commands a certain kind of right judgment or discernment in this verse, for such discrimination is necessary in order to determine who is a dog and a hog!
Holy and pearls (see discussion below) are somewhat indefinite and as discussed surely include the gospel message but also apply to other holy things besides the gospel, such as the Holy Word, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Name, etc. We are refrain from giving out these holy, precious things out of respect for them more than out of contempt for the opposers. In fact, in this very sermon, Jesus would still call us to "love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you" (notes Matthew 5:44)
Dogs (2965) (kuon) in the ancient world does not refer to dogs as we currently think of them for they were seldom household pets but instead were largely half-wild, dirty, greedy, snarling, vicious, flea-bitten, diseased, mongrel scavenger, that often ran in packs. They are often on the point of starvation and were known to devour corpses, and attack humans, in the night. Clearly literal "dogs" in the ancient word were dangerous and despised.
Kuon -5 times in the NAS and always translated "dog" or "dogs": (Matt 7:6; Luke 16:21; Phil 3:2; 2 Pet 2:22; Rev 22:15)
For example we read God's prophet Abijah's harsh message to the wife of the evil Jeroboam declaring...
Paul used the term "dogs" in his letter to Philippi warning the converts to...
The Jews used "dog" as a derogatory term referring to Gentiles in general. In Philippi, Paul turned the tables so to speak and actually referred to Jews (probably Judaizers) who professed to believe in Christ but depended upon keeping the Law and the rituals of Judaism in order to "merit" salvation. Thus in this sense Paul uses "Dogs" to refer to false teachers.
Barclay has a helpful note on dogs
Dogs and swine (5519) describe profane people who treat spiritual matters with contempt. They are unbelievers who are enemies of the gospel and are people to avoid. This verse does not mean that the blessings of the gospel are not to be offered to the Gentiles (remembering that Jews in Jesus' day frequently referred to Gentiles as "dogs"), but rather that precious spiritual truths should not be pressed upon those who are either unready or unwilling to accept or appreciate their value. The verse continues logically in the train of thought developed in the sayings which immediately precede it. While judging others is not the prerogative of man, there are, nonetheless, those whose uncleanness and violence prevent the sharing of the most noble truths of the Christian faith.
Brothers (referred to in Mt 7:3-5) and “dogs” or “swine” must not be treated alike. Believers must discriminate carefully, clearly indicating that Jesus' command to stop judging in Matthew 7:1 was not meant to exclude discerning judgment, but only condemnatory, critical judgment.
Swine are just as contemptible and filthy as dogs. The OT mentions swine among the unclean animals (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8) and the eating of swine flesh is an abomination in (Isa. 65:4; 66:3, 17) Swine are not only unclean animals but can be vicious and are capable of savage attacks against people. The wild boar of the wood was frequently met with in the woody parts of Palestine, especially in Mount Tabor. In Psalm 80:13 the powers that destroyed the Jewish nation are compared to wild boars and wild beasts of the field.
The phrase “what is holy” or set apart from the common and profane and consecrated to God is used synonymously with "pearls".
Pearls (3135) (margaritēs) were usually regarded as precious stones in Jesus' day. Pearls are found in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean and were brought into the western culture through Alexander the Great’s conquests. Pearls were priced way beyond the purchasing power of the average person and in order to obtain a pearl of great value a merchant might have to sell all his possessions (cf Mt 13:46)
Margaritēs is used by Jesus as a figure of speech for what is of supreme worth. The Jews used "margaritēs" to refer to a valuable saying. Jesus is saying that whatever is very precious in the spiritual realm should be treated with reverence and not entrusted to those who, because of their utterly wicked, vicious, and despicable nature, are like dogs and hogs.
Trample (2662 (katapateo from katá = intensifies meaning + patéo = tread, trample, fig to treat contemptuously) means to step down forcibly upon often with the implication of seeking to destroy or ruin. The idea is to spurn, to reject with disdain, treat contemptuously, treat with rudeness and insult or thoroughly despise someone or something. Jesus pictures hogs trampling the pearls with their feet, thus treating them with utter disdain.
In Matthew Jesus returns to Nazareth, His home town, and we read that
So here we see Jesus practicing the same principle He is laying down for His disciples to practice.
D A Carson comments that...
Spurgeon comments that...
Turn (4762) (strepho from trope = a turn or revolution) means to twist, turn quite around or reverse.
Tear (4486) (rhegnumi) means to break in pieces, disrupt or lacerate as dogs would do.
Clearly to be an undiscerning simpleton (as might occur in one who took the meaning of "do not judge" to an extreme interpretation which Jesus did not intend) can place one in a dangerous position (cf "trample", "tear to pieces"!)
Paul gives us an example of a vicious opponent of the gospel warning Timothy to beware of...
The French philosopher Voltaire would certainly fit the picture of a spiritual "dog and a hog", who violently opposed God, His Holy Word and His precious Son. How tragic that one of the most fertile and talented minds of his time (which parenthetically bears witness to the common grace and longsuffering of our great Father), was such a vicious opponent of truth, using his pen to retard and demolish Christianity as much as humanly possible. Once speaking about our Lord Jesus Christ, Voltaire uttered the unspeakable words "Curse the wretch!" Voltaire was so self deceived and arrogant that he once boasted that within
God however is not mocked beloved (see Galatians ) and so not surprisingly shortly after Voltaire's death the very house in which he printed his vicious anti-Christian literature became the home of the Geneva Bible Society! A nurse who attended Voltaire at the time of his horrible death vowed "For all the wealth in Europe I would not see another infidel die." Voltaire's' physician, Trochim, also attended the infidel up to the time of his last breath, and is quoted as hearing Voltaire's last desperate (rightly so) cry
Voltaire is the epitome of the type of individual citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven must refrain from sharing the precious and holy truths of God.
We are not to continue to present the gospel to those who repeatedly mock, scorn and deride it. To be sure, this determination sometimes is obvious as in the case of rank infidels but in other situations requires God's wisdom (see role of prayer in Matthew 7:7-8) and Spirit controlled guidance. There is a limit Jesus says and when that time arrives, it is high time for the ambassador of Christ to depart company.
And so we see Jesus instructing His disciples...
In the same way Jesus pronounced judgment on the Galilean towns which for the most part rejected the light of His presence and His gospel..
And we see Paul's reaction to the rejection of the Gospel by the Jews of Corinth...
Writing to Titus on the Isle of Crete Paul instructed him...
Herod Antipas was a dog...swine, who heard John gladly, Mark recording...
This same Herod turned on John the Baptist and had him beheaded him (see Mt 14:1-12; Mk 6:14-28; Lu 9:7-9). Later, Jesus Christ refused to give what was holy to Herod...
And after Jesus rose from the dead He showed Himself to no one who was not a believer.
In the parable of The Barren Fig Tree Jesus explained that God was patience, but His patience was not endless...
Solomon presents a similar principle regarding bestowal of "holy things" on dogs and hogs...
Jesus' teaching is in fact imminently logical for if we were to remain in the company of those who constantly ridicule the small gate and narrow way of the Gospel, we would by default, fail to enter other "fields" which Jesus described in other passages declaring...
Hendriksen writes that...
J Vernon McGee tells the following story...
CAUTION TO BE USED IN REPROVING
IN the holy Scriptures there are not only such directions as are necessary for the saving of the soul, but such also as are of a prudential nature, calculated for the rectifying of our judgment, and the regulating of our conduct, in less important matters. A pious person would obtain salvation, though he should not be discreet in his mode of communicating instruction or reproof to others. But it is desirable that “the man of God should be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works:” and therefore he should attend as well to those admonitions which are of secondary importance, as to those which relate to the fundamental points of faith or practice. The words before us are connected with the prohibition respecting the judging of others. To judge others uncharitably will expose us to similar treatment from them, as well as to the displeasure of Almighty God. Before we presume to judge others at all, we ought to be diligent in searching out and amending our own faults; without which we are but ill qualified to reprove the faults of others. We ought also to consider the state of the person whom we undertake to reprove: for if he be hardened in his wickedness, and disposed to resent our well-meant endeavours, it will be more prudent to let him alone, and to wait for some season when we may speak to him with a better prospect of success. Such is the import of the caution in our text; from whence we may observe,
I. That religious instruction is often most unworthily received—
The value of religious instruction is but little known—
[Education in general is esteemed one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy; nor is any sacrifice, whether of time or money, deemed too great for the obtaining of the benefits arising from it. A richly-furnished mind, a cultivated taste, a polished manner, are distinctions which the richer part of the community particularly affect: and they are most envied who possess in the highest measure such accomplishments. But divine knowledge is considered as of little worth: though it would enrich the soul beyond all conception, and adorn it with all the most amiable graces, and is therefore most fully characterized by the name of “pearls,” yet has it no beauty, no excellency, in the eyes of carnal men: the generality are as insensible of its value as swine are of the value of pearls, which they would “trample under their feet” as mire and dirt. Of this however we may be assured, that instruction, even though it be in a way of reproof, lays us under the deepest obligation to him who gives it&&.]
Many, instead of being pleased, are only irritated and offended at it—
[Nothing under heaven has ever given more offence than this. Men may utter lewdness and blasphemy, and create but little disgust: but let them bear their testimony against sin, or proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, and instantly an indignation is excited in every bosom. In the house of God indeed a certain licence is allowed, provided the preacher be not too faithful: but in a private company the mention of such things is considered as a death-blow to social comfort, and is reprobated as an insufferable nuisance. Even in the public ministry those who “labour with fidelity in the word and doctrine” are not unfrequently treated with every species of indignity. No name is too odious for them to bear, no opposition too violent to be raised against them.
It is supposed indeed by some, that the offence excited by ministers arises from the erroneousness of their statements, or the injudiciousness of their manner. But what then shall we say to the treatment which Christ and his Apostles met with? Did our blessed Lord want any qualification that could recommend his doctrine? Did he not exhibit “the meekness of wisdom,” and “speak as never man spake?” And was not Paul guided and instructed by God himself in his ministrations? Yet were both he and his Divine Master represented as babblers and deceivers; and one cry was raised against them both, “Away with them; it is not fit that they should live.”
Nor is it more against the doctrines of Christianity that this prejudice exists, than it does against its practice. The doctrine of “Christ crucified is still to some a stumbling-block, and to others foolishness:” and the same anger that rankled in the bosoms of Herod and Herodias against John, who condemned their incestuous connexion, is called forth at this time against any one who shall condemn the customs of the world&&. Our Lord’s words may still be used by all his faithful followers, “The world hateth me, because I testify of it that the works thereof are evil&&.” Doubtless the inveteracy of wicked men will shew itself in different ways and different degrees, according to the different circumstances under which it is called forth: but no times or circumstances have ever superseded the necessity of attending to the caution in the text: there ever have been multitudes who would take offence at the kindest efforts for their welfare&&, and, like ferocious “dogs, would turn again and rend you.” Reprove iniquity, and you will still be deemed “the troublers of Israel;” and those who are reproved will say of you, “I hate Micaiah, for he doth not speak good of me, but evil.”]
From this aversion which men feel to religious instruction, it appears,
II. That great caution is to be used in administering it—
The direction in our text was given to the whole multitude of those who heard our Lord’s discourse; and therefore may be considered as applicable,
1. To ministers—
[Though it is not to be confined to them, it does not exclude them. Doubtless where numbers of persons are assembled to hear the word of God, it is not possible to suit oneself to the disposition and taste of every individual. The rule which God himself has laid down must in such cases be followed: “He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully&&.” A minister must “warn men, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear:” he must “commend himself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God,” “keeping back nothing that is profitable unto them,” but “declaring unto them the whole counsel of God.” Still, however, the caution in the text is necessary for him. He should consider the state of his hearers, and should adapt his discourses to their necessities. Our blessed Lord, knowing how full of prejudice the Jews were, “spake the word to them in parables, as they were able to hear it.” In like manner, though we must not seek the applause of man, (for “if we please men, we cannot he the servants of Jesus Christ;”) yet we should endeavour to “please all men for their good to edification:” we should argue with them on principles which they acknowledge; we should be content to give “milk to babes,” and to reserve the “strong meat” for such as are able to digest it. We should pay attention to every thing that may lessen prejudice and conciliate regard: and, though we must not affect “the wisdom of words, which would only make void the cross of Christ,” we should “search out acceptable words,” and be especially careful to “speak the truth in love.” Our great object should be not to “deliver our own souls,” (though doubtless we must be careful to do that,) but principally to “win the souls” of others.]
2. To Christians in general—
[As “men do not light a candle, to put it under a bed or under a bushel, but to give light to those who are in the house,” so God, when he illuminates any soul, expects that the light he has imparted should be diffused for the good of others. But in endeavouring to instruct others, we should consider the tune, the manner, the measure of instruction, that will be most likely to ensure success. In particular, we should not press matters when our exhortations are contemned as foolish, or resented as injurious. Not that our concern should be about ourselves, as though we feared either the contempt of men, or their resentment; but we should be afraid of hardening them, and thereby increasing their guilt and condemnation. As to ourselves, we should gladly “suffer all things for the elect’s sake:” but for them we should “weep, as it were, in secret places&&,” and “gladly spend and be spent for them, though the more abundantly we love them the less we be loved.” If, indeed, after all our labour, we find that our efforts are only rejected by them with disdain, we may then with propriety leave them to themselves, and, like the Apostles, bestow our attention on more hopeful subjects&&. As the priests imparted of the holy food to every member of their families, but gave none of it to dogs, so may you give your holy things to others, and withhold it from those who have shewn themselves so unworthy of it.]
We will now apply the subject,
1. To those who are strangers to the truth—
[From the indifference which is usually shewn to divine things, it is evident that the value of religious knowledge is but little known. If we could inform persons how to restore their health, or how to recover an estate, or how to obtain any great temporal benefit, they would hear us gladly, and follow our advice with thankfulness; but when we speak of spiritual benefits, they have no ears to hear, no hearts to understand: they are ready to say to us, as the demoniac to Christ, “Art thou come to torment us before our time?” But let it not be so with you. Think in what light God represents such conduct&& — — — what regret you will hereafter feel&& — — — and what augmented punishment you will endure&& — — — And may God “open your hearts, that you may attend to the things” that belong unto your peace, before they be for ever hid from your eyes!]
2. To those who know it—
[Whilst we exhort you to be cautious in admonishing others, we would caution you also against being soon discouraged. Think not every one assimilated to dogs or swine because he resists the truth for a season; but give “line upon line, and precept upon precept,” and “instruct in meekness them that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, by whom they have been led captive at his will.”
And whilst you take upon you to admonish others, be willing to receive admonition also yourselves. It is not every religious professor that is so open to conviction as he ought to be&&, and that will receive reproof like David, esteeming it as “an excellent oil, that shall not break his head&&. Watch over your own spirit, therefore, and exemplify in yourselves the conduct you require in others.]