The Words of Agur

30 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.[a](A)

The man’s oration to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal:[b]

I am more stupid than any other man,[c]
and I lack man’s ability to understand.(B)
I have not gained wisdom,
and I have no knowledge of the Holy One.(C)
Who has gone up to heaven and come down?(D)
Who has gathered the wind in His hands?
Who has bound up the waters in a cloak?(E)
Who has established all the ends of the earth?(F)
What is His name,
and what is the name of His Son—
if you know?(G)
Every word of God is pure;[d](H)
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.(I)
Don’t add to His words,(J)
or He will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.(K)

Two things I ask of You;
don’t deny them to me before I die:
Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
feed me with the food I need.(L)
Otherwise, I might have too much(M)
and deny You,(N) saying, “Who is the Lord?”(O)
or I might have nothing and steal,(P)
profaning[e] the name of my God.(Q)

10 Don’t slander a servant to his master
or he will curse you,(R) and you will become guilty.

11 There is a generation that curses its father
and does not bless its mother.(S)
12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,(T)
yet is not washed from its filth.
13 There is a generation—how haughty its eyes
and pretentious its looks.[f]
14 There is a generation whose teeth are swords,(U)
whose fangs are knives,(V)
devouring the oppressed from the land(W)
and the needy from among mankind.

15 The leech has two daughters: “Give, Give!”
Three things(X) are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough!”:
16 Sheol;(Y) a childless womb;(Z)
earth, which is never satisfied with water;
and fire, which never says, “Enough!”

17 As for the eye that ridicules a father(AA)
and despises obedience to a mother,
may ravens of the valley pluck it out
and young vultures eat it.(AB)

18 Three things are beyond me;
four I can’t understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship at sea,
and the way of a man with a young woman.

20 This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says, “I’ve done nothing wrong.”(AC)

21 The earth trembles under three things;
it cannot bear up under four:
22 a servant when he becomes king,(AD)
a fool when he is stuffed with food,
23 an unloved woman when she marries,(AE)
and a servant girl when she ousts her queen.

24 Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
25 the ants are not a strong people,
yet they store up their food in the summer;(AF)
26 hyraxes are not a mighty people,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;(AG)
27 locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in ranks;(AH)
28 a lizard[g] can be caught in your hands,
yet it lives in kings’ palaces.

29 Three things are stately in their stride,
even four are stately in their walk:
30 a lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and doesn’t retreat before anything,
31 a strutting rooster,[h] a goat,
and a king at the head of his army.[i]

32 If you have been foolish by exalting yourself
or if you’ve been scheming,
put your hand over your mouth.(AI)
33 For the churning of milk produces butter,
and twisting a nose draws blood,
and stirring up anger produces strife.(AJ)

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 30:1 Or son of Jakeh from Massa; Pr 31:1
  2. Proverbs 30:1 Hb uncertain. Sometimes read with different word division as oration: I am weary, God, I am weary, God, and I am exhausted, or oration: I am not God, I am not God, that I should prevail. LXX reads My son, fear my words and when you have received them repent. The man says these things to the believers in God, and I pause.
  3. Proverbs 30:2 Lit I am more stupid than a man
  4. Proverbs 30:5 Lit refined
  5. Proverbs 30:9 Lit grabbing
  6. Proverbs 30:13 Lit and its eyelids lifted up
  7. Proverbs 30:28 Or spider
  8. Proverbs 30:31 Or a greyhound
  9. Proverbs 30:31 LXX reads king addressing his people

Sayings of Agur

30 The sayings(A) of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.

This man’s utterance to Ithiel:

“I am weary, God,
    but I can prevail.[a]
Surely I am only a brute, not a man;
    I do not have human understanding.
I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.(B)
Who has gone up(C) to heaven and come down?
    Whose hands(D) have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters(E) in a cloak?(F)
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name,(G) and what is the name of his son?
    Surely you know!

“Every word of God is flawless;(H)
    he is a shield(I) to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add(J) to his words,
    or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
    do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.(K)
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown(L) you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’(M)
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.(N)

10 “Do not slander a servant to their master,
    or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.

11 “There are those who curse their fathers
    and do not bless their mothers;(O)
12 those who are pure in their own eyes(P)
    and yet are not cleansed of their filth;(Q)
13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty,(R)
    whose glances are so disdainful;
14 those whose teeth(S) are swords
    and whose jaws are set with knives(T)
to devour(U) the poor(V) from the earth
    and the needy from among mankind.(W)

15 “The leech has two daughters.
    ‘Give! Give!’ they cry.

“There are three things that are never satisfied,(X)
    four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
16 the grave,(Y) the barren womb,
    land, which is never satisfied with water,
    and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

17 “The eye that mocks(Z) a father,
    that scorns an aged mother,
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,
    will be eaten by the vultures.(AA)

18 “There are three things that are too amazing for me,
    four that 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 young woman.

20 “This is the way of an adulterous woman:
    She eats and wipes her mouth
    and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’(AB)

21 “Under three things the earth trembles,
    under four it cannot bear up:
22 a servant who becomes king,(AC)
    a godless fool who gets plenty to eat,
23 a contemptible woman who gets married,
    and a servant who displaces her mistress.

24 “Four things on earth are small,
    yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
    yet they store up their food in the summer;(AD)
26 hyraxes(AE) are creatures of little power,
    yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts(AF) have no king,
    yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
    yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

29 “There are three things that are stately in their stride,
    four that move with stately bearing:
30 a lion, mighty among beasts,
    who retreats before nothing;
31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat,
    and a king secure against revolt.[b]

32 “If you play the fool and exalt yourself,
    or if you plan evil,
    clap your hand over your mouth!(AG)
33 For as churning cream produces butter,
    and as twisting the nose produces blood,
    so stirring up anger produces strife.”

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 30:1 With a different word division of the Hebrew; Masoretic Text utterance to Ithiel, / to Ithiel and Ukal:
  2. Proverbs 30:31 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.

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