Surely the churning of milk brings forth butter, and the wringing of the nose brings forth blood:
so the forcing of wrath brings forth strife.
The churning of milk brings forth butter. The wringing, or excessive vigorous blowing of the nose brings forth blood. These are the natural succession of things.
One churns milk for a purpose- to make butter. The product of her labour is no surprise to her, she labours with the full expectation of the end result (butter in this case).
In the same way, the forcing of wrath brings forth strife.
There should be no element of shock, surprise or dismay when the constant provocation of an individual results in strife.
Provocation is designed for a purpose- that purpose is to create strife. When it doesn’t, that is only testament to the power of God that enables man to do that which is contrary to nature.
But, when it does, nature has simply followed it’s course.
Both parties bear guilt. The provoker, and the provoked who succumbed.
A discerning eye knows this…
No matter how rash and godless the response to the provocation, the reaction never absolves the guilt of the instigator.
In fact, the instigator actually revealed more about her character than the responder did. She actually purposed to manipulate her words and actions in such a way to intentionally place a stumbling block in front of her victim. Which suggests that her sin was pre-meditated, and not simply reaction. Her motive was amiss.
The applications of the proverbs are abundant.
Numerous anecdotes come to mind that perfectly align with the context of this verse. Anecdotes pertaining to marriage, parenting, sibling rivalry, friendships… pretty much any earthly relationship since a relationship includes at least 2 sinners.
My guess is though, you have your own anecdote formulating in your mind. We are all too familiar with provocation, and the strife that follows.
However, next time we encounter this succession of events, let us not dismiss the truth that this proverb teaches us. The discerning does not judge a situation by it’s most conspicuous manifestation of sin.
Remember, where strife is manifested, provocation lurks.