Proverbs 17:14
New International Version
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

New Living Translation
Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.

English Standard Version
The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

Berean Study Bible
To start a quarrel is to release a flood; so abandon the dispute before it breaks out.

King James Bible
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

New King James Version
The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.

New American Standard Bible
The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.

NASB 1995
The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.

NASB 1977
The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.

Amplified Bible
The beginning of strife is like letting out water [as from a small break in a dam; first it trickles and then it gushes]; Therefore abandon the quarrel before it breaks out and tempers explode.

Christian Standard Bible
To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out.

American Standard Version
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: Therefore leave off contention, before there is quarrelling.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
He that sheds blood provokes judgment before a Ruler.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Rightful rule gives power to words; but sedition and strife precede poverty.

Contemporary English Version
The start of an argument is like a water leak--so stop it before real trouble breaks out.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The beginning of quarrels is as when one letteth out water: before he suffereth reproach he forsaketh judgment.

English Revised Version
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before there be quarrelling.

Good News Translation
The start of an argument is like the first break in a dam; stop it before it goes any further.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Starting a quarrel is [like] opening a floodgate, so stop before the argument gets out of control.

International Standard Version
Starting a quarrel is like spilling water— so drop the dispute before it escalates.

JPS Tanakh 1917
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water; Therefore leave off contention, before the quarrel break out.

Literal Standard Version
The beginning of contention [is] a letting out of waters, "" And leave the strife before it is meddled with.

NET Bible
Starting a quarrel is like letting out water; stop it before strife breaks out!

New Heart English Bible
The beginning of strife is like breaching a dam, therefore stop contention before quarreling breaks out.

World English Bible
The beginning of strife is like breaching a dam, therefore stop contention before quarreling breaks out.

Young's Literal Translation
The beginning of contention is a letting out of waters, And before it is meddled with leave the strife.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Better a Dry Morsel in Quietness
13If anyone returns evil for good, evil will never leave his house. 14To start a quarrel is to release a flood; so abandon the dispute before it breaks out. 15Acquitting the guilty and condemning the righteous—both are detestable to the LORD.…

Cross References
1 Thessalonians 4:11
and to aspire to live quietly, to attend to your own matters, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you.

Proverbs 20:3
It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute, but any fool will quarrel.

Proverbs 25:8
do not bring hastily to court. Otherwise, what will you do in the end when your neighbor puts you to shame?


Treasury of Scripture

The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

beginning

Proverbs 17:19
He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.

Proverbs 26:21
As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

Proverbs 29:22
An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

leave

Proverbs 13:10
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 14:29
He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.









(14) The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water.--The drops which ooze through a tiny hole in the bank of a reservoir soon swell into an unmanageable torrent; so from insignificant beginnings arise feuds which cannot be appeased. Solomon constructed large pools (Ecclesiastes 2:6) beyond Bethlehem, and is supposed to have brought the water from these by an aqueduct into Jerusalem.

Before it be meddled with.--The same expression is used at Proverbs 18:1; Proverbs 20:3. It probably means before (men) show their teeth, a metaphor from an angry dog.

Verse 14. - The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water. The small rift in the bank of a reservoir of water, if not immediately secured, is soon enlarged and gets beyond control, occasioning widespread ruin and destruction; so from small and insignificant causes, which might at first have been easily checked, arise feuds and quarrels which extend in a wide circle, and cannot be appeased. Palestine was largely dependent upon its reservoirs for the storage of water, perennial springs being of rare occurrence. The three pools of Solomon in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, which were connected by channels with Jerusalem, are still to be seen in all their massive grandeur; and, indeed, every town had its reservoir, or tank, as we find in India at the present time. These receptacles had to be kept in good repair, or disastrous consequences might ensue. On the tendency of a quarrel to grow to a dangerous extent, a Bengal proverb speaks of "going in a needle and coming out a ploughshare." Vulgate, Qui dimittit aquam, caput est jurgiorum, which seems to mean that the man who needlessly lets the water of a cistern run to waste gives occasion to quarrels. But St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 5:13), commenting on the passage, interprets differently: "It is well said by Solomon, 'He that letteth out water is a head of strife.' For the water is let out when the flowing of the tongue is let loose. And he that letteth out water is made the beginning of strife, in that, by the incontinency of the lips, the commencement of discord is afforded" (Oxford transl.). Probably, however, in the Latin, as in the Hebrew, the particle of comparison is suppressed, so that the clause means, "As he who lets out water, so is he who gives occasion to strife." Therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with. The last word חַתְלַֺגּלַּע is of doubtful interpretation. It occurs in Proverbs 18:1 and Proverbs 20:3, and is variously translated, "before it rushes forward," "before it grows warm," "before a man becomes wrathful." But Hitzig, Nowaek, and others take it to signify, "before men show their teeth," like angry dogs snarling at one another. The moralist advises men to subdue angry passions at once before they become exacerbated. The Vulgate seems to have quite mistaken the clause, translating, Antequam patiatur contumeliam, judicium deserit, which seems to mean that a patient, peace-loving man (in contrast with the irascible) avoids lawsuits before he is involved in a lasting quarrel. Septuagint, "The beginning (ἀρχὴ) of justice gives power to words; but discord and contention lead the way to want." The Greek commentators see here an allusion to the clepsydra, the water clock which regulated the length of the speeches in a court of law; but the reference is by no means clear.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
To start
רֵאשִׁ֣ית (rê·šîṯ)
Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's 7225: The first, in place, time, order, rank

a quarrel
מָד֑וֹן (mā·ḏō·wn)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 4066: A contest, quarrel

is to release
פּ֣וֹטֵֽר (pō·w·ṭêr)
Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 6362: To cleave, burst through, to emit

a flood;
מַ֭יִם (ma·yim)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 4325: Water, juice, urine, semen

so abandon
נְטֽוֹשׁ׃ (nə·ṭō·wōš)
Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's 5203: To pound, smite, to disperse, to thrust off, down, out, upon

the dispute
הָרִ֥יב (hā·rîḇ)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 7379: Strife, dispute

before
וְלִפְנֵ֥י (wə·lip̄·nê)
Conjunctive waw, Preposition-l | Noun - common plural construct
Strong's 6440: The face

it breaks out.
הִ֝תְגַּלַּ֗ע (hiṯ·gal·la‘)
Verb - Hitpael - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 1566: To expose, lay bare


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OT Poetry: Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is like breaching (Prov. Pro Pr)
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