‘Don't Cast your Pearls before Swine’!

This is a biblical saying found in Mathew 7.6. The words used are “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” It was part of a sermon delivered by Jesus on the Mount. It is possible that the words may have originated in France as there is a French equivalent found in a much earlier period - 'jeter des perles aux pourceaux'. It is essentially an advice given by Jesus to his disciples that they should not be preaching the Bible to persons who were incapable of understanding or appreciating it. The phrase has since been used often in the context of offering advice or things of great value to people who are incapable of appreciating it.

Teaching the good things to bad persons would be like pouring water into a vessel which has a hole. Everything goes to waste! Such men will and never learn to appreciate the goodness in life. To appreciate anything in life, one needs to be cultured and have a certain level of refinement. A level of knowledge is required to be able to understand the fine side of anything and enjoy it. A man who is so focused on his objectives and goals in life will never be able to appreciate a rainbow in the sky or a flower that is just peeping out on the roadside. He will be so intent on achieving his objectives for the day / for the month / for the week/ in his life that these seemingly minor details will just pass him by. Similarly, fine music can never be appreciated by anyone who does not have an ear for music or who is not willing to spend some time listening to it. Giving him a music album as a gift would be to cast pearls before swine!

Making an effort to cook a nice meal for someone who just gulps it down unmindfully is just a waste of time. Smiling at a sourpuss neighbor who stubbornly refuses to look your way is just the same. A swine is most often taken as a perfect example of filth and dirt. It represents all that is unclean and as a standard for the levels that mankind must never reach. It is the lowest of the low and the filthiest of all living beings. It is best avoided and not one gives anything of value to a swine. One does not have to feed it with cake or fine food. Anything that falls off the dining table or even decaying left over food will suffice for the swine. To the swine, it makes no difference whether it is feasting at a king’s table or from the gutters. Then why waste time, effort and understanding in inviting it to a royal feast? We should rather lend a helping hand or teach good things to people who recognize the worth of such things. This is the essence of the saying that one should not cast pearls before a swine.

Atreyee Roy (have 690 posts in total)

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