He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17)
Get the picture firmly in mind. A man has a snarling dog by the ears. The dog is snapping, barking and spitting at the one who holds him by the ears. He is angry and he wants to bite the man who dared involve himself with something not his own. On the other hand the man knows he must hold on tight to the ears of the dog (causing more pain and aggravation) because if he lets go the dog is going to tear into him. He now wishes he had let the dog alone. Meddling in the affairs not his own finds himself looking down the throat of a barking dog intent on ripping this man to shreds is a moment of clarity. Next time (if he gets out of this situation alive) he will let sleeping dogs lie.
Frankness characterizes the proverbs. This simple proverb is direct. There is an image that is vividly placed within the mind about those who would meddle in affairs not their own. It is not the intent of the Holy Spirit to suggest we do not look out after the needs of our brethren because we are our brother’s keeper. However this proverb points out the dangers of being busybodies, gossips and those who stick their noses into things they should well leave alone. The apostle Paul would exhort the brethren in Thessalonica to lead quiet lives and mind their own business instead of being busybodies in other people’s affairs. That is the danger. Some folk just have a notion they must tell others what and how they ought to do things when they should mind their own affairs.
One of the greatest problems in human relations is gossipers and busybodies. The New Testament epistles are filled with admonitions warning against those who mind the business of others as meddlers. You might as well grab a dog by the ears.
The gossiper stands in Syria and kills in Rome. (Talmud J. Peah. I.I., c. 500)