The article intends to grasp the meaning of the phrase "the lost sheep of the house
of Israel" in the Matthean logia of 10:5b-6 (and 15:24). It shows that in recent Matthean research
the phrase has become an abstract salvation-historical category disconnected from narrative and
historical particularity. However, generally seen, scholars have neglected a thorough treatment of
the phrase within both Matthew's own presentation of the story of Jesus and a first century Jewish
eschatological context. In this article the context of the phrase is investigated at several levels.
It argues that it should be read against the backdrop of the political-national framework of the
Messianic Shepherd-King expectation with its attending expectations for territorial restoration.