Bible Book List

Proverbs 30:1-5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

VII. Sayings of Agur and Others

Chapter 30

[a]The words of Agur, son of Jakeh the Massaite:

The pronouncement of mortal man: “I am weary, O God;
    I am weary, O God, and I am exhausted.
I am more brute than human being,
    without even human intelligence;
[b]Neither have I learned wisdom,
    nor have I the knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has gone up to heaven and come down again—
    who has cupped the wind in the hollow of the hand?
Who has bound up the waters in a cloak—
    who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is that person’s name, or the name of his son?”[c]

[d]Every word of God is tested;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.


  1. 30:1–6 Scholars are divided on the original literary unit. Is it vv. 1–3, 1–4, 1–5, or 1–6? The unit is probably vv. 1–6, for a single contrast dominates: human fragility (and ignorance) and divine power (and knowledge). A similar contrast is found in Jb 28; Ps 73; Is 49:1–4. The language of self-abasement is hyperbolic; cf. 2 Sm 9:8; Ps 73:21–22; Jb 25:4–6. Agur: an unknown person. Massaite: from Massa in northern Arabia, elsewhere referred to as an encampment of the Ishmaelites (Gn 25:14). But Heb. massa may not be intended as a place name; it might signify “an oracle,” “a prophecy,” as in Is 15:1; 17:1; etc.
  2. 30:3–4 Agur denies he has secret heavenly knowledge. The purpose of the denial is to underline that God directly gives wisdom to those whose conduct pleases him.
  3. 30:4 The Hebrew text has the phrase “do you know?” at the end of v. 4, which is supported by the versions. The phrase, however, does not appear in the important Greek manuscripts Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and spoils the sense, for Agur, not God, is the questioner. The phrase seems to be an addition to the Hebrew text, borrowed from Job 38:5, where it also follows a cosmic question.
  4. 30:5–6 Verse 5, like the confession of the king in Ps 18:31 (and its parallel, 2 Sm 22:31), expresses total confidence in the one who rescues from death. Agur has refused a word from any other except God and makes an act of trust in God.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


1 of 1

You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more

Viewing of
Cross references