Syrophoenician

SYROPHOENICIAN (sī'rō-fē-nĭsh'ăn, Gr. Syrophoinikissa). An inhabitant of the region near Tyre and Sidon, modern Lebanon. A Greek woman, born in Syrian Phoenicia, by persistence and humility won from Jesus healing for her daughter (Mark.7.26; cf. Matt.15.22).


SYROPHOENICIAN sī rō fĭ nĭsh’ ən or sī rŏfĭ nēsh’ ən (Συροφοινίκισσα, G5355). This proper adjective describes a woman encountered by Christ when He journeyed to the region of Tyre and Sidon (Mark 7:24-26). By means of this word her racial extraction is traced to that of the Phoen. stock which resided in Syria. Another group of Phoenicians, known as the Carthaginians or Libyphoenicians, belonged to N Africa. The broader category of which she was a part is also given by Mark: she was a Greek or Gentile, i.e. a non-Jew. A further detail is added by Matthew; writing for Jewish readers, he refers to her as a Canaanite, the earlier name of the tribe occupying the lowlands which later became Phoenicia (Matt 15:22). Her difficulty in obtaining her request from Christ illustrates quite well the prior claim of the Jews on the ministry of Christ at His first advent.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

si’-ro-fe-nish’-an, sir-o- (Surophoinissa, Surophoinikissa; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek has variant Sura Phoinikissa; the King James Version Syrophenician): The woman from the borders of Tyre and Sidon whose daughter Jesus healed is described as "a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race" (Mr 7:26), and again as "a Canaanitish woman" (Mt 15:22). This seems to mean that she was of Canaanite descent, a native of the Phoenician seaboard, Greek in religion, and probably also in speech. The names Syria and Phoenicia are both applied to the same region in Ac 21:2,3. Syrophoenician may therefore denote simply an inhabitant of these parts. According to Strabo (xvii.3), this district was called Syrophoenicia to distinguish it from the North African Lybophoenicia.