Power To Relieve The Oppressed
"These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man."
The word “defile” in the Greek is “koinoo” (koy-no'-o) and means to make profane. It also means that a person can make something ceremonially unclean or at least to consider it unclean. It might have been considered an unclean thing to wash one’s hands before eating, but Yahshua said that having a dirty hand did not defile a person. It is used in the K.J.V. by such words as “call common,” “pollute” and “unclean,” but it was not a sin to eat with dirty hands.
“Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.”
Yahshua was in Jerusalem but he was on the way to the regions of Tyre and Sidon. These two cities are usually joined together as they are but a few miles apart and the knowledge of their destruction in the “old testament.” Tyre was thirty-five miles from Galilee and Sidon was sixty miles from Galilee. Both were in the land of Canaan, the gentile coastal region of Phoenicia. These cities were located on the Mediterranean Sea although the word “coasts” here means “parts.”
The scene was very unlike those which were most associated with our Lord's presence. He was here surrounded by abundant tokens of vigorous maritime and naval life. Instead of shepherds, sowers, cornfields, scribes, and Pharisees, there were warehouses, docks, ship-building yards, and sailors, amongst which he moved when he departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
Yahshua went into Tyre with the express reason to conceal himself; he did not want anyone to know where he was [Mark 7:24]. Tyre was the home of Jezebel (surely everyone has heard of her). But in the same generation, a woman from that region had miraculously received food and healing for her child from the prophet Elijah and so became a full believer in Israel's God. Yahshua had said of the leaders of the Jews, “let them alone” and he did that in Tyre.
“And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed."
She is called a Canaanite because of the people from whom she sprung, but Mark calls her a Syrophenician, because of the country where she dwelt. She was a gentile. The Canaanites and Phoenicians have been often confounded. She was not from Galilee and therefore not of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The son of David was a true essential to being the messiah.
She knew of Yahshua and needed his help desperately and kept on crying out loud for his help. However, she implored without ceasing but in a very respectful way. It was short, humble, full of faith, fervent, modest, respectful, rational, relying only on the mercy of God and was very persevering – a list that we could learn from today. She cried and fell at Yahshua’s feet because she had a daughter that was badly infected with a demon. Yahshua could heal her, so she continued to cry out desiring that miracle. She knew that he was capable and would heal her.
The child was grievously vexed with a devil (demoniacal possession). It is agreed on by all sober interpreters of scripture that, at this period of the world, God permitted evil spirits to take possession of, and to afflict, individuals to an extent that he did not before and has not since permitted to show to all, the power and malignity of the opposing one and to exhibit the compassionate kindness of the savior and his power to relieve those thus oppressed.