Verses 6-12

“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 rent you.”

Dogs and swine, besides being ceremonially unclean, were peculiarly repulsive to the Jews, and also to most of the ancients in general.

“that which is holy unto the dogs”
Literally:  “The holy to the dogs.”–

THE HOLY: (Grk.-to hagion)—It is not clear to what “the holy” is referring: perhaps to ear-rings or to amulets, but that would not appeal to dogs

          There may be the possibility that “holy” may refer to earrings.  There are two Hebrew words which are similar to each other, especially considering that Hebrew has no written vowels.  The word for holy is kadosh (K D SH), and the Aramaic word for earring is kadash (K D SH).  The consonants are the same, and in primitive written Hebrew the words look exactly the same.  Also, in the Talmud “An ear-ring in a swine’s snout” is a proverbial phrase for something which is entirely strange and out of place.  It is possible that the original phrase ran:  “Give not an earring to the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine,” in which case the parallelism would be perfect.
          Trench, in his commentary, (Sermon on the Mount, p. 136) says that the reference is to the meat offered in sacrifice that must not be flung to dogs: “It is not that the dogs would not eat it, for it would be welcome to them; but that it would be a profanation to give it to them, thus to make it a skubalon,  (Ex 22:31). The yelping dogs would jump at it. Dogs are like wolves and infest the streets of oriental cities.
          The holy or sacred thing; could really refer to anything, especially of the sacrificial kind, which had been consecrated to God.  By some, the word “holy” has been supposed to mean flesh offered in sacrifice, which is made holy, or separated to a sacred use. But it probably here means anything connected with worship–admonition, precept, or doctrine.

          DOGS: (Grk.–kusi)–Dogs were regarded by the Jewish law as being unclean animals. They probably used here to represent snarling, scoffers or gainsayers; savage or snarling haters of truth and righteousness.

The characteristic of ravenous dogs is brutality. To try to instill holy things into such low, unclean, and sordid brutal minds is useless. Also, to the Jews, “goyim” (their word for Gentiles) really meant dogs.  Both Paul and Peter use this word, “dog” as a term for evil-doers (Phil. 3:2; II Peter 2:22).  In Rev. 22:15 Christ also uses this term for evil-doers, or those outside of God.

“neither cast your pearls before the swine.”
Literally:  “Nor throw your pearls before the swine.”–The impure or coarse, who are incapable of appreciating the priceless jewels ofthe
Word of God.

PEARLS: (Grk.–margaritês)–In the Greek word for pearl we have in the name Margarita (Margaret).

Pearls look a bit like peas or acorns and would deceive the hogs until they discovered the deception. The wild boars haunt the Jordan Valley still and are not far removed from bears as they trample with their feet and rend with their tusks those who have angered them.  Pearls are used here to denote anything peculiarly precious (13:46; Rev.17:4; 18:12-16).  In this place they are used to denote the doctrines of the Bible.

         SWINE: (Grk.–choirôn)–This refers to those who would trample the precepts of the Bible under feet; that is, men of impurity of life; corrupt, polluted, profane, obscene, and sensual men who would not know the value of the Word of God, and who would tread it down as swine would pearls.

            The meaning of this proverb is, “Do not offer your doctrine to those violent and abusive men, who would growl and curse you; nor to those peculiarly debased and decadent, who would not perceive its value, would trample it down, and abuse you.”

“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, ‘The dog {is} turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire:  (II Peter 2:22).

This verse furnishes an illustration of Jewish introverted parallelism. The usual mode of poetry among the Hebrews, and a common mode of expression in proverbs was by using a parallelism, that is, where one member of a sentence answered to another, or expressed substantially the same sense with some addition or modification. Sometimes this was alternate, and sometimes it was introverted–where the first and fourth lines would correspond, and the second and third. This is the case here. The dogs would rend, but the swine would trample the pearls under their feet, but the dogs would not do this.  Pearls look somewhat like peas or acorns and would deceive the hogs until they discovered the deception. The wild boars haunt the Jordan Valley still and are not far removed from bears as they trample with their feet and rend with their tusks those who have angered them.

“and trample them”
Literally: “Lest they trample them.”–Trample them under foot as things having no value to them.  

“and turn (again) and rent you”
Literally: “And turning, they charge you.”  As dogs do. Religion is brought into
contempt, and its professors insulted, when it is forced upon those who cannot value it and will not have it.

Jesus seems to be telling them that while the indiscriminately zealous have need of this caution, let them be on guard against too readily setting their neighbors down as dogs and swine, and excusing themselves from endeavoring to do them good on this poor plea.

          TURN AGAIN: (Grk.–straphentes)—Literally:  “turning” showing a continuous action.  This Greek word pictures the quick, sharp turn of the boar.  Note that the word again is in italics.  This means that it was not in the original Greek text and we have here another case of the English translators adding words to the Word of God.

         RENT:  (Grk.–rhexosin)—This Greek word literally means “break;” and expresses the peculiar character of the wound made by the boar’s tusk, which is not a cut, but rather is tear or rip.


“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

The terms used here are with reference to prayer.  ASK indicates presentring a petition; SEEK indicates an earnest search. KNOCK shows perseverance in spite of hindrances. The three represent earnest prayer. There are here three different forms presented of seeking the things which we need from GodASKING, SEEKING and KNOCKING.

Ask, and it shall be given”
Literally:  “Ask, and it will be given to you”–Earlier in this sermon Jesus gave them His model prayer; and now He is giving them assurance that God welcomes prayer.

ASK: (Grk.–aiteō)-This implies a simple petition; i.e., turn beggar at, the Door of Mercy.

          Jesus is emphasizing to these Jews that they are destitute of all spiritual good, and it is God alone who can give it to them; and they have no claim but what His mercy has given them on itself.  He is telling them that every one that asks aright, that prays in faith, and in submission to the will of God. He does not always give the very thing which is asked, but He gives what would be best for us.
          A parent will not always confer the very thing which a child asks, but he will seek the welfare of the child, and give what he thinks will be most for its good. Paul asked that the thorn from his flesh might be removed, but God did not literally grant the request, but told him that His grace should be sufficient for him, (II Cor. 12:7-9). Ask with confidence and humility. In every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto
God.  SEEK!

seek and ye shall find”
Literally:  Seek and you will find.”–
Seek with care and application. Add your own diligent endeavours to your asking:

SEEK: (Grk.–zêteō)–Literally mean, “to seek for.”–Continue to ask of  God the blessings which you need;  i.e., turn beggar at the Door of Mercy

          Jesus is telling them they have lost their God, their paradise, their soul; that they are destitute of all spiritual good, and it is God alone who can give it to them; and they have no claim but what His mercy has given them.
           They should look about them; to leave no stone unturned; that there is no peace, no final salvation for them till they get their souls restored to the favor and image of GodSEEK with care and application.

knock, and it shall be opened unto you”
Literally: ”knock, and it will be opened to you.”

         KNOCK: (Grk.–krouō)—Be in earnest; keep knocking, be persistent or forceful; be sincere.  KNOCK with earnestness and perseverance at the door of His mercy and grace, with sincerity and earnestness, in the way of His appointment, and you shall be admitted to communion with God. 

           In His light you will see light, and of His fullness receive according to all your wants. Men, in order to judge and act rightly with regard to their duty to themselves and their fellow-men, need wisdom and strength from above: they should therefore habitually ask them of God.; and those who do this in dependence on Christ Jesus may expect, for His sake, to receive them.
           ASK…SEEK…KNOCK.  ASKING  is a simple use of voice, SEEKING is a motion of the body, and KNOCKING is an effort to open and pass through obstacles.  The Jews were a nation who loved to prayer.  The rabbis had a saying about prayer:  “God is as near to His creatures as the ear to the mouth.”

“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

There are here three different forms presented of seeking the things which we need from
GodASKING  , SEEKING, and KNOCKING. The latter is taken from the act of knocking at a door for admittance.

“For every one”
Literally: “For each {one}.”–Jesus here is using the universal “every one,”  but He is really referring to every one of a class.

This term is modified by the prescribed conditions of acceptable prayer (6:14-15; James 1:6; 4:3; I John 5:14).  The “every one” would mean Jews in the Great Tribulation and those Gentiles who would be Tribulation Believers.

“that asketh receiveth”–Of course, it is presumed that he asks aright–that is, in faithand asks what is agreeable to God's will. and with an honest purpose to make proper use of what he receives.

“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?”          

or what man… will he give… a stone?
Literally: “Or who is a man from you…he will not give him a stone.”  The assurance of an answer to prayer is based on the fact that God is our Father. 

He treats His children every bit as a good and wise as an earthly parent would. No kind parent would mock his child by answering his cry for bread with stones.  Bread is a symbol of the food staple of life.

            OR:  (Grk.–ê)—Meaning, “Is not what I say true?” or “If you don’t think so, what man of you yourselves would act otherwise towards his own son?”  Jesus is now answering their doubts as to whether God give an answer to prayer at all, or at  least does He give what we desire.

“whom if his son ask bread,”
 Literally: “his son would ask a loaf of him.” Will he not readily give his son bread if he has it?

          BREAD:  (Grk.–artos)—Usually baked in a flat round form, and about as thick as your thumb.   Bread and fish were the chief articles of food of the Galilean peasant.

            “will give him a stone?”–This statement of Jesus’ was a proverb in many countries.

          STONE: (Grk.–lithos)—Some stones look like loaves of bread, considering that the bread in that day was flat and round in form. So the devil suggested that Jesus make loaves out of stones (Matt. 4:3).

“Of if he ask a fish, will he give him a sepent?”

“if he ask a fish”
Literally: “If he should ask a fish.” 

“will he give him a serpent?”
Literally: “will he give him a snake?”–This may be referring to
eels (electric eels).

A stone might resemble a cake, but if given it would deceive the child. A serpent might resemble an eel, but if given it would be both deceptive and injurious. We often misunderstand God's answer thus; but our sense of sonship should teach us better.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?”

“If ye, then, being evil”
Literally: “If then, you being evil.”–You who are radically and diabolically depraved yet you feel yourselves led, bynatural affection, to give those things to your children that which are necessary to support their lives. What a picture is here given of the goodness of God!

Men who have the natural affection of parents, even though sinful men, will not do such things. How much more will your Father Who is in heaven, whose nature is infinite goodness, mercy, and grace, give good things:  His grace and Spirit, the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13,) to them who ask Him?  Bad as our fallen nature is, the fatherhood in us is not extinguished. What a heart, then, must the Father of all fathers have towards His pleading children! In the corresponding passage in Luke 11:13, instead of “good things,” Jesus asks whether He will not much more give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.  Whoever believes that the term “Father,” as applied to God, is more than a figure of speech, must believe in prayer.

            “how much more”–Jesus is fond of the a fortiori argument.

Fortiori argument is a form of argumentation which draws upon an existing condition in a proposition to argue in favor of a second proposition that is held to be implied in the first. In using this form of argument, Jesus here begins with the premise of earthly fatherly love to emphasize the love of our Heavenly Father.

            “good gifts”–Things which are needed and truly beneficial.

The readiness of a kind, affectionate parent to give necessary food to a famishing child, is but a faint illustration of the readiness of God to give all needed good to those who rightly ask Him.  In the parallel passage (Luke 11:13), it says, instead of “good gifts,” says, “the Holy Spirit,” as though this is heaven's greatest blessing.

“There all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do y even so to them:  for this is the Law and the prophets.”

            Literally: “Then.”  To sum it all up.

“all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them”
Literally: “All things you desire that men may do to you, so also you do to them.”–Luke (Luke 6:31) puts the Golden Rule parallel with 5:42. It was used by such philosophers as Hillel, Philo, Socrates, Confucius. The Golden Rule is the distilled essence of that ‘fulfilment’ (Matt. 5:17) which is taught in the sermon” (McNeile). Jesus puts it in positive form.

This does not imply that we are always to do to others as they wish, but what we would like to have done to ourselves if we were placed in their condition and they in ours. We might injure them by complying with their foolish wishes. A maxim similar to the Golden Rule is found in the teachings of various sages; Among the Greeks, Socrates said, “What stirs you to anger when done to you by bothers, that do not to others;” Buddha and Confucius“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others”  among the Orientals, and the great Jewish teacher Hillel“Do not do to thy neighbor what is hateful to thyself.” But the other teachers do not come up to Jesus’ standard. Their maxim is negative and passive. They say: “Do not do to others what you would not have done to you.” It is a rule of not doing, rather than of doing.

The general meaning of it is this: “Guided by justice and mercy, do unto all men as you would have them to do to you, were your circumstances and theirs reversed.” All that you expect or desire of others in similar circumstances, do to them. Act not from selfishness or injustice, but put yourself in the place of the other, and ask what you would expect of him then. This would make you impartial, candid and just. It would destroy avarice, envy, treachery, unkindness, slander, theft, adultery, and murder. It has been well said that this law is what the balance-wheel is to machinery. It would prevent all irregularity of movement in the moral world, as that does in a steam-engine. It is easily applied, its justice is seen by all men, and all must acknowledge its force and value.

 “for this is the law and the prophets”–
“This is the substance of all relative duty; all Scripture in a nutshell."–How well it is called "the royal law!” (James 2:8; compare Rom. 13:9).

         It is true that similar maxims are found floating in the writings of the cultivated Greeks and Romans, and naturally enough in the Rabbinical writings. But so expressed as it is here–in immediate connection with, and as the sum of such duties as has justly been displayed, and such principles as had been before taught–it is to be found nowhere else  
            It is not, of course, what (in our wayward, capricious, gasping moods) we should wish that men would do to us, that we are to hold ourselves bound to do to them; but only what, in the exercise of an impartial judgment, and putting ourselves in their place, we consider it reasonable that they should do to us, that we are to do to them.  That is, this is the sum or substance of the O.T. It is nowhere found in so many words, but it is a summary expression of all that the Law required. The sentiment was in use among the Jews. Hillel said to a man who wished to become a proselyte, and who asked him to teach him the whole law, “Whatever is hateful to you, do not do to another.”