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Sayings of Agur

30

The words of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle.

 Thus says the man: I am weary, O God,

I am weary, O God. How can I prevail?

2

Surely I am too stupid to be human;

I do not have human understanding.

3

I have not learned wisdom,

nor have I knowledge of the holy ones.

4

Who has ascended to heaven and come down?

Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of the hand?

Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?

Who has established all the ends of the earth?

What is the person’s name?

And what is the name of the person’s child?

Surely you know!

 

5

Every word of God proves true;

he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

6

Do not add to his words,

or else he will rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.

 

7

Two things I ask of you;

do not deny them to me before I die:

8

Remove far from me falsehood and lying;

give me neither poverty nor riches;

feed me with the food that I need,

9

or I shall be full, and deny you,

and say, “Who is the Lord?”

or I shall be poor, and steal,

and profane the name of my God.

 

10

Do not slander a servant to a master,

or the servant will curse you, and you will be held guilty.

 

11

There are those who curse their fathers

and do not bless their mothers.

12

There are those who are pure in their own eyes

yet are not cleansed of their filthiness.

13

There are those—how lofty are their eyes,

how high their eyelids lift!—

14

there are those whose teeth are swords,

whose teeth are knives,

to devour the poor from off the earth,

the needy from among mortals.

 

15

The leech has two daughters;

“Give, give,” they cry.

Three things are never satisfied;

four never say, “Enough”:

16

Sheol, the barren womb,

the earth ever thirsty for water,

and the fire that never says, “Enough.”

 

17

The eye that mocks a father

and scorns to obey a mother

will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley

and eaten by the vultures.

 

18

Three things are too wonderful for me;

four I do not understand:

19

the way of an eagle in the sky,

the way of a snake on a rock,

the way of a ship on the high seas,

and the way of a man with a girl.

 

20

This is the way of an adulteress:

she eats, and wipes her mouth,

and says, “I have done no wrong.”

 

21

Under three things the earth trembles;

under four it cannot bear up:

22

a slave when he becomes king,

and a fool when glutted with food;

23

an unloved woman when she gets a husband,

and a maid when she succeeds her mistress.

 

24

Four things on earth are small,

yet they are exceedingly wise:

25

the ants are a people without strength,

yet they provide their food in the summer;

26

the badgers are a people without power,

yet they make their homes in the rocks;

27

the locusts have no king,

yet all of them march in rank;

28

the lizard can be grasped in the hand,

yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

 

29

Three things are stately in their stride;

four are stately in their gait:

30

the lion, which is mightiest among wild animals

and does not turn back before any;

31

the strutting rooster, the he-goat,

and a king striding before his people.

 

32

If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,

or if you have been devising evil,

put your hand on your mouth.

33

For as pressing milk produces curds,

and pressing the nose produces blood,

so pressing anger produces strife.

 


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Pr 30:1-33.

1. This is the title of this chapter (see Introduction).

the prophecy—literally, "the burden" (compare Isa 13:1; Zec 9:1), used for any divine instruction; not necessarily a prediction, which was only a kind of prophecy (1Ch 15:27, "a song"). Prophets were inspired men, who spoke for God to man, or for man to God (Ge 20:7; Ex 7:14, 15, 16). Such, also, were the New Testament prophets. In a general sense, Gad, Nathan, and others were such, who were divine teachers, though we do not learn that they ever predicted.

the man spake—literally, "the saying of the man"; an expression used to denote any solemn and important announcement (compare 2Sa 23:1; Ps 36:1; 110:1; Isa 1:24, &c.). Ithiel and Ucal were perhaps pupils.

2-4. brutish—stupid, a strong term to denote his lowly self-estimation; or he may speak of such as his natural condition, as contrasted with God's all-seeing comprehensive knowledge and almighty power. The questions of this clause emphatically deny the attributes mentioned to be those of any creature, thus impressively strengthening the implied reference of the former to God (compare De 30:12-14; Isa 40:12; Eph 4:8).

5. (Compare Ps 12:6; 119:140).

6. Add … words—implying that his sole reliance was on God's all-sufficient teaching.

reprove thee—or, "convict thee"—and so the falsehood will appear.

7-9. A prayer for exemption from wickedness, and the extremes of poverty and riches, the two things mentioned. Contentment is implied as desired.

8. vanity—all sorts of sinful acts (Job 11:11; Isa 5:18).

9. be full … deny—that is, puffed up by the pride of prosperity.

take the name … vain—This is not (Hebrew) the form (compare Ex 20:7), but "take" rather denotes laying violent hold on any thing; that is, lest I assail God's name or attributes, as justice, mercy, &c., which the poor are tempted to do.

10. Accuse not—Slander not (Ps 10:7).

curse … guilty—lest, however lowly, he be exasperated to turn on thee, and your guilt be made to appear.

11-14. Four kinds of hateful persons—(1) graceless children, (2) hypocrites, (3) the proud, (4) cruel oppressors (compare on Pr 30:14; Ps 14:4; 52:2)—are now illustrated; (1) Pr 30:15, 16, the insatiability of prodigal children and their fate; (2) Pr 30:17, hypocrisy, or the concealment of real character; (3 and 4) Pr 30:18-20, various examples of pride and oppression.

15, 16. horse leech—supposed by some to be the vampire (a fabulous creature), as being literally insatiable; but the other subjects mentioned must be taken as this, comparatively insatiable. The use of a fabulous creature agreeably to popular notions is not inconsistent with inspiration.

There are three … yea, four—(Compare Pr 6:16).

17. The eye—for the person, with reference to the use of the organ to express mockery and contempt, and also as that by which punishment is received.

the ravens … eagles … eat—either as dying unnaturally, or being left unburied, or both.

18-20. Hypocrisy is illustrated by four examples of the concealment of all methods or traces of action, and a pertinent example of double dealing in actual vice is added, that is, the adulterous woman.

20. she eateth … mouth—that is, she hides the evidences of her shame and professes innocence.

21-23. Pride and cruelty, the undue exaltation of those unfit to hold power, produce those vices which disquiet society (compare Pr 19:10; 28:3).

23. heir … mistress—that is, takes her place as a wife (Ge 16:4).

24-31. These verses provide two classes of apt illustrations of various aspects of the moral world, which the reader is left to apply. By the first (Pr 30:25-28), diligence and providence are commended; the success of these insignificant animals being due to their instinctive sagacity and activity, rather than strength. The other class (Pr 30:30, 31) provides similes for whatever is majestic or comely, uniting efficiency with gracefulness.

26. conies—mountain mice, or rabbits.

28. spider—tolerated, even in palaces, to destroy flies.

taketh … hands—or, uses with activity the limbs provided for taking prey.

32. As none can hope, successfully, to resist such a king, suppress even the thought of an attempt.

lay … hand upon thy mouth—"lay" is well supplied (Jud 18:19; Job 29:9; 40:4).

33. That is, strife—or other ills, as surely arise from devising evil as natural effects from natural causes.




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