What is the Meaning of Jesus’ Words, “Do Not Cast Your Pearls Before Swine”?


“Do not give to dogs what is holy, and do not cast your pearls before swine” (Matt. 7:6a)

These words from the Sermon on the Mount are puzzling! Jesus has just commanded the disciples not to judge, and yet here they are being commanded to recognise that some people are dogs and swine – and to act accordingly! Many of the commentators claim that this verse refers to the preaching of the Gospel to people who eventually become contemptuous of the message. Whilst I appreciate that this unfortunate situation occurs, and demands great wisdom in knowing how to respond,  I do not currently think that this is actually a correct understanding of this particular verse, and in this essay, I attempt to see whether a chiastic analysis of the Sermon on the Mount might help us better understand our Lord’s meaning. I am very open to being persuaded that the traditional interpretation of this verse is the correct one, and would greatly value your help and feedback if you feel that my approach here is wrong and needs correcting.

The essay also includes a chiastic analysis of the Lord’s Prayer.

The essay is quite long, and is actually the first chapter in my book, Biblical Chiasms in the Interpretation of Scripture – an Introductory Reader. (This accounts for the page numbering in the article!)

The article in in the form of a word document and can be freely downloaded by clicking on the link below:



Categories: Chiastic and Other Structures, New Testament Exegesis, The Sermon on the Mount

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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