They will turn again and rend you — Matthew 7:6
This post is just a compilation of quotes from Bible commentaries on Matthew 7:6. It needs no further explanation from me, as I’m sure our readers can draw their own conclusions and applications. My only thoughts are that since so may commenters have accurately nailed the meaning of this verse, it’s a shame that we rarely hear it applied to domestic abusers.
Here is the verse in a few different translations:
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (ESV)
Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. (NLT)
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (NASB)
Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (American King James)
Do not give a sacrifice to dogs; neither throw your pearls before wild boars, lest they trample them with their feet, and return to run you through. (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:
the word “holy” has been supposed to mean “flesh offered in sacrifice,” made holy, or separated to a sacred use; but it probably means here “anything connected with religion” — admonition, precept, or doctrine. . . . The meaning of this proverb, then, is, do not offer your doctrine to those violent and abusive people who would growl and curse you; nor to those especially debased and profligate who would not perceive its value, would trample it down, and would abuse you.
Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible:
Give not that which is holy to the dogs. Here the phrase is used in a metaphorical sense; and is generally understood of not delivering or communicating the holy word of God, and the truths of the Gospel, comparable to pearls, or the ordinances of it, to persons notoriously vile and sinful: to men, who being violent and furious persecutors, and impudent blasphemers, are compared to “dogs”; or to such, who are scandalously vile, impure in their lives and conversations, and are therefore compared to swine;
neither cast ye your pearls before swine. But since the subject Christ is upon is reproof, it seems rather to be the design of these expressions, that men should be cautious, and prudent, in rebuking and admonishing such persons for their sins, in whom there is no appearance or hope of success; yea, where there is danger of sustaining loss;
lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you: that is, despise the admonitions and reproofs given, and hurt the persons who give them, either by words or deeds; see Proverbs 9:7
Vincent’s Word Study:
That which is holy — The holy thing, as of something commonly recognized as sacred. The reference is to the meat offered in sacrifice. The picture is that of a priest throwing a piece of flesh from the altar of burnt-offering to one of the numerous dogs which infest the streets of Eastern cities.
Pearls before swine — Another picture of a rich man wantonly throwing handfuls of small pearls to swine. Swine in Palestine were at best but half-tamed, the hog being an unclean animal. The wild boar haunts the Jordan valley to this day. Small pearls, called by jewellers seed-pearls, would resemble the pease or maize on which the swine feed. They would rush upon them when scattered, and, discovering the cheat, would trample upon them and turn their tusks upon the man who scattered them.
Turn — The word graphically pictures the quick, sharp turn of the boar.
Rend — Literally, break; and well chosen to express the peculiar character of the wound made by the boar’s tusk, which is not a cut, but a long tear or rip.
People’s New Testament
The dog was regarded an unclean animal by the Jewish law. They probably represent snarling, scoffing opposers. The characteristic of dogs is brutality. To try to instill holy things into such low, unclean, and sordid brutal minds is useless.
The swine were also unclean. They would have no use for pearls, and perhaps would rush upon those who scattered the pearls. So, too, there are men so dull, imbruted and senseless, as to reject the pearls of truth. It is our duty to help and to try to save others, but we must use common sense.