“Pearls before swine” is such an oft quoted phrase that you’d think it’s meaning would be obvious, yet it belongs to a highly metaphorical quatrane in Matthew 7:6:
Do not give that which is holy to the dogs,
Nor throw your pearls before swine,
Lest they trample them under their feet,
And turn around and rend you.
What does this mean? In Jesus’s day, dogs were considered unclean, and nothing fit for men was given to them, but here, they and the swine (i.e. pigs) are metaphores for those who are unready to hear the message of the kingdom of heaven and will criticize it and attack the one who delivers it. Like the proverbial horse, it is pointless to lead them to the water, because you can’t make them drink. You can’t make anyone who is not ready take the leap of faith; they have to do it themselves.
Image by Heywood Hardy [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]