“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”
“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” – NIV
Not far from where I live is the Tennessee River. When it rains for days on end, like it did not long ago, the river level rises, which causes the dams across the river to have to open their gates. I have seen the water come through those gates with ferocious power.
Sometimes dams fail. When that happens, depending on the size of the dam, lots of property is damaged and people are killed. When the Kaloko Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania burst in 1889, a whole town was washed away, along with 2,200 lives.
In some cases, human error was the cause of dams bursting. And according to Solomon, it’s not always water that destroys.
People who start arguments for no reason, or keep one going when it could have faded away, are like those who meddle with a weak dam. If nothing else, they are as those who would open a floodgate, but not know how to shut it.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Just back away and count to ten?” I wonder how many live could have been saved had they heeded Solomon’s warning?
You never know what hell is waiting to be unleashed when a quarrel is started. It is far, far better to simply walk away than to chip away at a crack in the dam. Drowning in the waters of strife is for fools.