So This is Christ delivering the 'Sermon on the Mount'. And I think he's talking about how to deal with other people because In the same passage, Christ talks about Taking the beam from your own eye, before removing the mote from your brother's eye.

The verse directly after:

Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. (Matt 7:6)

It seems to say don't preach the Gospel (what is holy, and was is -precious as- pearls) to the Dogs and Swine, which I can only imagine as Sinners. But I don't think that is correct! Because the Lord preached to Sinners, and even said that he came for sinners - and not the righteous. (Luke 5:32)

So is the (Holy things/Pearls) not the Gospel?

Who are the Dogs/Swine? And How do I know who is the Dog/Swine?

  • 1
    Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. In particular, this site is about what specific Christian denominations believe, and the biblical basis of those beliefs. If you want the perspective of a particular denomination, this question would be on-topic. See: What topics can I ask about here? As it is, your question has too many possible answers, because different Christians and Christian churches will interpret it differently. Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 13:23
  • Perhaps better suited for hermeneutics.SE as well. I won't submit an answer here for reasons that @LeeWoofenden gave, but I will comment that one Patristic (i.e. Church Father) interpretation of this passage is that one should not speak of holy things to those who one knows will profane them in order to prevent further spiritual harm to come to them.
    – user22553
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 14:15
  • This question would more easily be on topic if you asked what a particular denomination (eg Catholic, Baptist) believes the meaning to be, but you are clearly looking for a 'Truth' answer, which nearly always results in an opinion.. Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 21:41

3 Answers 3


In Proverbs 9.8, 26:1-11 (and many more), the Bible talks about the fool. A fool is characterized as unteachable, therefore unwise in this passage.

The passage tells us that there is no sense to invest into the unteachable. There is only one things you might do: discipline the fool. But still, that does not benefit the fool, but the teachable that watches and takes it to heart.

I always interpreted the dogs and the swines as the unteachable, the fools (for one because of Proverbs 26:11). The holy things and pearls are the pieces of wisdom and truth taken from the word, and certainly include the Gospel.

There is a clear distinction between sinners and fools. Sinners might be teachable, and fools might at a time even have accepted Christ, but are not willing to go deeper and be taught further.

On the other side we are not to judge people. Yet we need to be wise. Proverbs 9:8 tells us that rebuking a fool will have him hate you. That is by no means what we want. Thus, if we find somebody to be unteachable, we stop teaching him. But we certainly do not stop praying for the person.


In the preceding verses Yeshua tells us not to judge:

"Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." Matthew 7:1-5

A brother would be one that follows the Law and loves YHVH with all their heart and soul- either an Israelite or a Gentile that has been converted. That covers one group of people we are not to judge. The other group is the "dogs and the swine":

"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." Matthew 7:6

The dogs and swine are those that are not considered a 'brother' or 'a son of God'. They are people of the nations that do not concern themselves with the righteousness of God's word.

"And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." Matthew 15:22-28

Gentiles are the dogs and swine, yet we have been given favor from God because God is calling everyone to repent:

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17


"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38

So we can tell the dogs and swine to repent, but if they have no desire to fellowship with us, then we are not to throw the precious word of God at them. They don't care and more than likely it will just make them very angry.

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." Proverbs 9:7-9

Why would Yeshua ignore the Cannanite woman? Did he not care if she believed? Did he think that she was better off being sent to an eternal torture chamber to have her flesh burned forever and ever? No, of course not:

"Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.

Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?

When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?

For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.

For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.

Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.

This also cometh forth from YHVH of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." Isaiah 28:23-29

  • Hi anon, If pigs and dogs are in fact Gentiles. The Lord here, advises us against sharing the truth of the gospel with them entirely! Ralph defined 'pigs/dogs' as sinners who refused to learn about the bible. I think (no biblical reference) that Christ probably included the Pharisees - who were jews- as pigs and dogs. I totally agree with what you're saying- that we should share the gospel with those who are willing to listen, otherwise they will despise the treasure of the gospel. And I hate to be picky with details, but I have some doubts that Christ meant Gentiles when he said dogs.
    – Jess L
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 6:11
  • I don't think sharing the gospel is the same as 'throwing what is holy to the dogs'. The gospel is 'the good news'. It has nothing to do with correcting what we believe to be unrighteous behavior. For example, suppose someone is adulterous. It is okay to share the good news and say "Yeshua has saved us from our sins! Repent and believe in YHVH and you will receive the spirit set-apart" , but it is not okay to say "That is a sin! The bible says...." The first example is exclaiming the gospel, and allowing the man's concious to convict him. The second is convicting the man of sin, and judging.
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 6:57

The dog/swine is the man with a hardened heart who refuses the gospel over and over again. "And whosoever shall not hear you, nor receive your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake the dust off your feet." (Matthew 10:14) Here Jesus makes it clear that not everyone will receive your words willingly or with kindness, and that you are without guilt for their lack of faith. He says to shake the dust off your feet and forget about it and that you "Owe no man anything" (Romans 13:8) once the Good News of Jesus Christ has been exposed to them. It's like they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!

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