I don’t know about you, but this picture disturbs me. I like dogs and I don’t think treating one like this picture portrays is very nice. I’m sure the dog didn’t appreciate the experience either. I can only imagine that the writer of Proverbs 26:17 had observed a similar incident and he used it to illustrate some practical advice that you and I should probably heed. In chapter 26 verse seventeen he wrote: “Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.” I don’t know about you, but this word picture conjures up some vivid pictures in my mind. I picture a guy standing over a dog with a fist full of ear in each of his hands and a look of triumph on his face. I also see that look fading away as he begins to understand the possible outcomes of the situation he has gotten himself into. It has dawned on him, that while he may have the upper hand on the dog for the moment, sooner or later he is going to have to release the dog from his grip at which time the dog will probably have the upper hand and he will likely have a price to pay for his foolishness. He is going to get bitten.
The illustration of grabbing the dog is to warn us about butting into business that is not any of our business. Notice that this advice is directed to a person who is referred to, not as a friend, a relative, or an acquaintance, but is referred to as, “a passer-by”. You see a friend, a relative, or an acquaintance, would have some level of relationship with one or both of the quarrelers and thus some right or permission to speak into the situation. However, a passer-by is a stranger. A passer-by has no significant relationship and probably has no background information relating to the circumstances of the quarrel and thus has no business speaking into the situation. In other words, the “passer-by”, in most such instances should mind their own business! Ignore the advice of Proverbs 26:17 at your own peril. By ignoring it, you may not suffer an actual bite, but you may experience some very unpleasant consequences that you could have avoided by not meddling!