PRAYER: Holy Father, we thank you for imparting your knowledge and wisdom to us. Lord, help us to know the difference. Your WORD guides for our life and our circumstances. Sometimes, we do not clearly see or understand the real essence of your wisdom. So we humbly ask you to give us a discerning heart and mind that we may know and apply your WORD in the right context. In Jesus name. Amen.
Dogs and pigs were at the very bottom rung of life in Jewish thinking; both were despised in the extreme. We see the admonition not to give that which is holy to dogs and swine as being a reference to the religious leaders of the day. We are never to entrust holy (sacred) things to people whose sole intent is to ridicule, find fault, and judge (Matthew 7:1-5). This is the standard operating procedure for the religious leaders with regard to Yeshua's ministry. The revelation(s) given from God are holy (sacred), and if an attempt is made to share that with those who have deemed themselves unworthy (Acts 13:46) of these sacred revelations, they will ill-treat that revelation and turn on the person sharing the gospel and finding fault with him/her and their faith.
At the time both dogs and pigs were poorly regarded. Dogs were part of society, but were half wild and roamed the region in packs that were sometimes dangerous to humans. The word used here refers specifically to dogs without a human master. They were unclean and would eat whatever scraps and carrion they came across. Pigs were the quintessential unclean animal and were closely associated with the Gentile communities in the region which kept them in large numbers. Pearls were a luxury of extreme value.Another question raised by this metaphor is what link there is between pearls and pigs.
One related metaphor is found in Proverbs 11:22: "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.".:451 Alternatively the word pearls can be seen as a reference to the food prepared on holy days, which would never have been given to swine. Alternatively the metaphor may be a reference to the immense appetites of pigs, and to how enraged they will be when they discover they cannot eat the pearls, and since they have no understanding of their greater value, will turn on the giver.
Nolland notes the work of Von Lips that advocates for two separate meanings. Pigs and dogs were thought of very differently. Parables from the period portray such dogs as dangerous urban animals. Pigs, while unclean, were docile and nonthreatening. Similarly while what is holy is clearly something of God's, pearls were a sign of secular wealth with no religious connotations.
THE PRACTICABLE WISDOM
In His sermon, Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representative of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the gospel once it is presented to them. We are not to expose the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have no other purpose than to trample it and return to their own evil ways. Repeatedly sharing the gospel with someone who continually scoffs and ridicules Christ is like casting pearls before swine. We can identify such people through discernment, which is given in some measure to all Christians (1 Corinthians 2:15–16).
The command not to cast your pearls before swine does not mean we refrain from preaching the gospel. Jesus Himself ate with and taught sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10). In essence, the instruction in Matthew 7:6 is the same that Jesus gave to His apostles when He said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:14).
We are to share the gospel, but, when it becomes apparent that the gospel is not welcome, we are to move on.
In addition, this is where we see the greatest need to always prepare the soil prior to sowing any seed. One sows seed to reap a specific harvest; people never sow random handfuls of mixed seed into any soil. The soil must be prepared for the type of seed it is to receive. If a man is going to embrace any pearls (revelations), his heart (soil) must first be prepared to receive it; else it will be trodden under foot.
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