the weblog of Alan Knox

Of dogs and pigs

Posted by on Jun 1, 2008 in scripture | 3 comments

Today, I taught from Matthew 7:1-6. The last verse contains the following statement by Jesus, which seems to be a parable or allegorical:

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6 ESV)

What do you think Jesus meant by “dogs” and “pigs”? What did he mean by “what is holy” and “pearls”? How do we apply this command today?


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  1. 6-1-2008

    Without consulting a commentary, if I had to guess I would guess it has something to do with the issue of genuine faith and purity – perhaps another accusation against the pharisees.

  2. 6-3-2008

    I can’t believe Jesus literally thought of some as “dogs” or “pigs”. Such an inference does not connect with Jesus on the Cross asking the Father to forgive those crucifying Him on the basis they did not know what they were doing. Certainly those who literally crucified Him were “dogs” trampling the Pearl under foot.

    I think the metaphor is intended to enable our understanding that some will not hear nor receive that which we hold beautiful. These folks react to what we know as beauty in a manner like the disregard of dogs or pigs for a pearl. It doesn’t satisfy the appetite, therefore, it is pawed into the mud.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder in the natural world. Yet, we know and see an eternal beauty which once perceived is regarded as beautiful by all who can see it.

    When speaking to one whose god is his or her appetite, it should not surprise when our apologetics about beauty fall on deaf or even angry ears. In context, perhaps these “dogs” are individuals whom we are attempting to fix with the Truth. Jesus had spoken just prior of taking the speck out of a brother’s eye. Keeping the context of “adjusting” another person, what results from attempting to hold an unregenerated person accountable to the holiness of God?

    He snarls and bites at our judgmental intolerance.

  3. 6-3-2008


    In Philippians, Paul used the word “dogs” to refer to those who were adding law to the Gospel. So, you could be right.

    David (ded),

    That’s very similar to the way that I explained this passage – probably not as well as you explained it though.