Casting Pearls before Swine

Today, I am discussing [amazon_link id=”0521680824″ target=”_blank” ]allegory[/amazon_link] which teaches a lesson through [amazon_link id=”0064300951″ target=”_blank” ]symbolism[/amazon_link].

The [amazon_link id=”0310435641″ target=”_blank” ]Bible[/amazon_link] verse Matthew 7:6 states, “Do not give what is holy to [amazon_link id=”0810996537″ target=”_blank” ]dogs[/amazon_link], and do not throw [amazon_link id=”0943763541″ target=”_blank” ]pearls[/amazon_link] before [amazon_link id=”0131134612″ target=”_blank” ]swine[/amazon_link], lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” This Bible verse was delivered during a well-known speech (the Sermon on the Mount) given by [amazon_link id=”0310309409″ target=”_blank” ]Jesus Christ [/amazon_link]to his Disciples. Essentially, to “cast pearls before swine” is to share something of value with those who cannot appreciate it. (It is important to note that this allegory is meant for those who cannot appreciate versus those who choose not to appreciate something.) This [amazon_link id=”0830745823″ target=”_blank” ]fable[/amazon_link] that Jesus is telling is considered an allegory (a short moral story often with animal characters conveying a meaning other than the literal.)

“What is holy” denotes meat offered up in sacrifice to God. The dogs and swine stand for unappreciative people that demean the value of what is offered to them. Realize that a dog does not care whether his [amazon_link id=”0470423544″ target=”_blank” ]meal[/amazon_link] comes from the altar or the garbage; pigs have appreciation for neither the beauty nor the value of pearls. Hence, one cannot hold a person responsible for a lack of [amazon_link id=”0802432522″ target=”_blank” ]gratitude[/amazon_link] when they are unable to understand the [amazon_link id=”0470424605″ target=”_blank” ]value[/amazon_link] of what is offered to them.

“[amazon_link id=”1449401066″ target=”_blank” ]Pearls Before Swine[/amazon_link]” is a famous and well-regarded comic strip created by Stephan Pastis. Using animal characters including a pig, mouse, zebra, and crocodile, many of Pastis’ strips demonstrate someone with a lack of appreciation for what they have. ( is free.)

There are many allegorical lessons found in the Bible. Animals are frequently found in fairy tales, fables, and folk lore. Do you have a favorite?


Attention Students: to cite this web article in the current MLA-style, please use the example below.

Dixon, Catherine Jo. “Casting Pearls before Swine.” Feast Of Languages. Catherine Jo Dixon, 24 Jan 2011. Web. [today’s date].

Note: The citation entry on the “Works Cited” or “Bibliography” page must have a “hanging indent.” The second line should be indented 5 spaces.

1. Name of Author. (Last Name, First Name.)
2. “Title of Work.”
3. Title of the Web Site (italicized)
4. Publisher of the web site,
5. Date of Publication.
6. Medium of Publication (in this case, the Web).
7. Date of access in “day, month, year” format.

English literature students most commonly use the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) style to write their papers. This citation reflects the [amazon_link id=”1603290249″ target=”_blank” ]MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition[/amazon_link] and/or the [amazon_link id=”0873522974″ target=”_blank” ]MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition[/amazon_link]. For additional information, I recommend a free online writing lab from Purdue University: “The Purdue OWL” which has current, credible information and reliable examples.

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