What Does the Proverb Mean?
Mind Your Own Business
The spirit-inspired writer, in the Bible book of Proverbs, said: “As one grabbing hold of the ears of a dog is anyone passing by that is becoming furious at the quarrel that is not his.”—Prov. 26:17.
If a man sees a quarrel or a dispute between persons he may be able to bring peace, especially if he has the authority to do so and if the disputants are agreeable to listen and to reason on his counsel. (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:24-26) But the proverb speaks of the man who becomes involved in the controversy that is not his. He may have started out to mediate but he becomes emotionally stirred up and takes sides. He is like a man who has grabbed a strange dog by the ears. If he lets go, the dog will leap at him and do him injury. If he holds on, he has both hands full and can do nothing else. Likewise, if the person getting mixed up in affairs not his own tries to extricate himself from the quarrel, he is likely to have trouble from both parties. If he holds on he cannot attend to his own rightful responsibilities, and, besides, he only makes the controversy worse. The thing he should really be attending to—his own business—he cannot get done. He will have cause to regret his involving himself in other people’s business.—1 Pet. 4:15.
Avoid Difficulty by Living the Simple Life
Another proverb reads: “The ransom for a man’s soul is his riches, but the one of little means has not heard rebuke [is immune from threats, New English Bible].”—Prov. 13:8.
There are certain advantages in being rich, but having riches is not an ‘unalloyed’ blessing. Particularly in troublous times such as the world is experiencing today, the rich, and men in high political station, often find themselves and their families in danger of being kidnapped and held for ransom. In the more fortunate cases, the rich man can buy his life or that of family members. But often the kidnapped one is murdered. Such threat is always hanging over the head of the rich.
On the other hand, while the man who has little may not have the many conveniences and material things that the rich enjoy, he is more free from being a target of kidnappers and political terrorists. Much more so does this apply to the Christian, whose wants are simple, and who does not spend his time and effort to amass wealth or to gain fame or power. He does not become embroiled in efforts to exert political influence or become involved deeply in the commercial schemes of the world that today are riddled with factions and strife.—2 Tim. 2:4.